Bonnie from BiteoftheBest.com

/Bonnie Tandy Leblang

About Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Blogger Bonnie Tandy Leblang has been covering food since before it was hip to do so! She’s penned magazine, newspaper and syndicated food columns in addition to cookbooks. Follow her on twitter @BonnieBOTB and on Instagram@BiteoftheBest and at @BonnieBOTB "I eat for a living!” is her mantra, sharing what she’s sampled so you’ll know where (or where not) to go, plus what food products and gadgets to try. For her full bio go to the about us page.

Make a Special Trip to Timna, East Village, NYC

On the advice of a friend's friend, who raved about a meal at Timna in the East Village, off we went to that part of town for what was a surprisingly good meal. There's little choice at Timna. One-price gets you all the mezze, served family-style tapas, and a choice of entree ($53) or two half-sizes entrees plus dessert ($73).  Add wine pairings for $30. We decided each ordering one entree and ordering our own wine. The amuse started our surprisingly amazing meal: a watermelon, mint jelly and feta one topped with a hibiscus flower that certainly ticked our palate for the feast from the Middle East that was to come. The Middle [...]

By |2018-09-16T13:33:09+00:00October 17th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Hilarious Hostess Gift: The Wine Condom

Looking for something that will make your hostess smile? Tuck a Wine Concom into your note that accompanies your gift. I promise a laugh. At least that was the reaction each time I've done so. Having seen an article in Drink Me that wine condoms topped $1 million in sales, we reached out to the company for info and a sample so that I could share that with you. Unlike corks or pourer caps, wine condoms — as you'd expect from their name — fit flush against the bottle, preventing spills and allowing the bottle to fit in the fridge. You can buy this on-the-go protection in packages of six for $15, [...]

By |2018-10-15T09:15:14+00:00October 15th, 2018|Just For Fun, Products|0 Comments

A Dim Sum Hall: Jing Fong Restaurant, Chinatown, NYC

Lucky me going to Jing Fong old-fashioned Chinese dim sum restaurant with one of my friends who speaks their language. But let me back up. When you arrive, you need to push through the crowds to get inside to where a hostess gives you a number. It's smart to ask how long the wait. Since ours was over 30 minutes, we went around the corner to for bubble tea at Ten Ren.  Once your number is finally called, you ascend a long escalator to the mammoth dining room where you are seated with strangers at a large round table, given a card and wait.  Now, this is where I was lucky to have someone who spoke the same [...]

By |2018-10-16T11:59:13+00:00October 13th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Jacktember Cocktails to Celebrate Jack Daniels

Last month was renamed Jacktember by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey to recognize their eponymous whiskey distillers! I have a soft spot in my heart for Jack Daniels, having visited the Lynchburg (TN) distillery a number of times, having judged their World Championship Invitational Barbecue contest and also friend of the "family" (Brown-Forman Corporation). And, so I'm sharing with you a couple of the cocktails they shared with me. Personally, I prefer my Jack neat. Jack Old Fashioned This simple to make classic never goes out of fashion 1 ½ ounces Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 ½ ounce simple syrup 2 dashes Angostura bitters Garnish: orange twist, cherry Fill half a [...]

By |2018-10-16T11:58:27+00:00October 11th, 2018|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Brunch in the Rain at the Veranda, The Breakers, Spring Lake, NJ

One rainy day while visiting Spring Lake (NJ) area at the shore, we met a high-school friend for breakfast at The Breakers on the ocean. When sticker shock hit me, I realized that I had gotten used to NYC's ridiculously high prices. I couldn't believe how inexpensive everything was! One friend's tasty scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, onion & cheese breakfast wrap served with fresh fruit cost a mere $9. Two of us each had 3-egg omelets, having chosen three fillings, with home fries and toast tipped the bank at $10! I enjoyed mine, more scrambled than an omelet but not complaining with chevre, spinach and bacon. That price included $1 [...]

By |2018-09-22T09:16:09+00:00October 9th, 2018|USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Straight from Milan – 10 Corso Como Cafe, South Street Seaport, NYC

A friend proposed a trip to South Street Seaport to poke around the new 10 Corso Como store from Milan that had opened in September and lunch at the eponymous restaurant. Chidingly suggesting this saved us a trip to Milan! The black-and-white (oh, so NY!) facility occupies the first floor of the historic Fulton Market Building. We had some service issues at the restaurant, but let that slide since we knew we were there during its soft opening. That and we lucked out waving down the sweetheart of a managing director, Alessio de Sensi, who from that point made sure we were taken care of properly. We began with their version [...]

By |2018-10-16T12:01:18+00:00October 7th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|1 Comment

Bubble Tea at Ten Ren Tea, Chinatown, NYC

While waiting in the seemingly interminable line outside a restaurant on Elizabeth Street, we decided to quench our thirst with some bubble tea around the corner on Mott Street. Ten Ren named one of the best Bubble Tea places in NYC in Time Out, The Gothamist and Yelp. I had tried it a few years ago and wasn't wild about it. Thought I'd give the Taiwanese drink invented in the 1980s another chance. Don't go if you have trouble making decisions. After picking the type of tea and flavor, you select both your sweetness and ice levels. One friend chose 100 percent sweetness for his black milk tea ($5.05 large), the other 50 for her [...]

By |2018-10-06T08:16:31+00:00October 5th, 2018|Food & Drinks|0 Comments

A Bite After the Guggenheim at The New Amity Restaurant, UES, NYC

After seeing the recently closed Brancusi exhibit at the Guggenheim, we were again looking for a place a grab a light lunch in what I've heard referred to as a culinary wasteland.  We walked, knowing we'd find somewhere to grab a bite. Noticing the Greek diner — the New Amity Restaurant — on  Madison between 84th and 85th, we decided to take a chance. We sat at a table in the narrow restaurant that mirrors made look larger. Our friendly waiter handed each of us one of the multi-page diner menus where eggs, a BLT or something simple is de rigueur.   That said, we didn't follow our own rule! Instead one ordered [...]

By |2018-10-16T12:02:39+00:00October 3rd, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Brunch at The Loyal, West Village, NYC

I had read about The Loyal, chef John Fraser's latest pub-like place in the West Village. Having enjoyed Nix and Narcissa, I knew we were in for a treat. We started with a pitcher of their spicy mimosa's, the orange juice made piquant with Thai chilis ($46) and then shared two entrees, asking them to be served one at a time. The eggs “Benjamin” with sliced smoked salmon on top of a potato latkes, and hollandaise ($18) followed by a Piedmontese burger topped with French Comte cow's milk cheese and a “22-step” tomato. Crispy cubes of duck fat tots, sliced pickle chips and mustard accompanied it. Our waiter didn't have any [...]

By |2018-09-17T11:39:45+00:00October 1st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, Gardiner, Hudson Valley

I shouldn't have waited so long to write about the delectable meal we had at Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner (NY) when celebrating my birthday in the Hudson Valley with some girlfriends. I'm remiss, as I've forgotten many details. What I do recall is how impressed we were with the quality of what we were served and the friendly service! This family-owned neighborhood restaurant offers authentic German food with some inventive locally inspired vegetable-focused dishes served by waitstaff in traditional garb. I do recall the housemade vegetable flammkuchen (caraway flatbread topped with local baby beets, garlic scapes and goat cheese all drizzled with balsamic, $12) and the smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwich with [...]

By |2018-10-10T10:11:40+00:00September 29th, 2018|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

An Influencer Gathering at Bagatelle, Meatpacking District, NYC

For years, I had been receiving invitations from Blue Polo Interactive, a digital branding agency, to attend a media dinner at Bagatelle. Preferring to dine at a restaurant instead of joining a pre-chosen press meal with others, I kept requesting the former to no avail. When a weekend trip was canceled, I decided to accept the invite so I could dine at Bagatelle as the only other time I had been there was for a light lunch. I had not realized this was an Instagram influencer meal... until the first courses arrived a the table. The waiters delivered a blood orange flavored Burrata salad with puffed barley ($26), a black truffle smoked mozzarella pizza [...]

By |2018-10-10T10:13:13+00:00September 27th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Respite from the Greenmarket: Bocce USQ, Union Square, NYC

After attending the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, we walked up to the north side of Union Square Park for lunch at Bocce USQ, the airy open restaurant that opened this summer replacing The Pavillion. This new one is replete with a bocce court. Although they serve pizza pies from a Roberta’s-trained chef, we opted for other goodies. I recommend the big hollow loaf of Bocce bread served with whipped ricotta drizzled with EVOO ($13). It's made with the same dough as their pizzas. We also shared the perfectly cooked al dente ribbons of fresh pappardelle with a light pesto made with ingredients from the adjacent greenmarket and a dusting [...]

By |2018-09-04T15:49:34+00:00September 25th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Share Raises Half a Million at 15th Anniversary Event

Last Monday's event at Pier 60 brought together leading women of stove, stage, screen and publishing to help raise money for SHARE, a non-profit organization that offers free peer support to women with breast or ovarian cancer, their families and friends. All of SHARE’s services are free of charge and include helplines, educational programs, support groups, and public-health initiatives. This year's event raised half a million dollars enabling this organization to continue to support those affected by breast or ovarian cancer. As a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier New York, I'm highlighting some of the Dames involved — beginning with Executive Chef of the event Barbara Sibley (La Palapa) — along with her daughter Arielle —  [...]

By |2018-10-10T10:15:21+00:00September 24th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Tapas at Lamano, West Village, NYC

This is the second Lamano from Jorge Guzman Hospitality the team behind The Black Ant,  Temerario and Lamano Chelsea all of which I've tried and recommend.  This West Village Lamano, which opened this year, is a cozy restaurant just off Seventh Avenue. Like the other location, it is a Spanish wine bar serving a tapas. For a refreshing starter, I recommend Polaris Spritz, made with Aperol, rosé, strawberry shrub and seltzer ($14).  We started with the fresh heirloom tomato salad with half-mini balls of Cigolini cheese topped with arugula in a Spanish wine (Garnacha) dressing ($14), and continued with the classic dishes of patatas bravas ($9), potatoes, in a garlic aioli and a spiced tomato sauce (salsa [...]

By |2018-08-31T11:56:07+00:00September 23rd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Estiatorio Milos, Midtown, NYC

Returning to Estiatorio Milos during restaurant week, I dined with a couple of friends enjoying their fabulous bargain of a 3-course lunch for only $26. A server stopped by our table, poured some EVOO and then snipped fresh oregano into the oil for us to use with the chewy-crust bread while we perused the menu. I started with a serving of grilled sashimi quality sliced Mediterranean octopus over pureed yellow split pea fava.  I nudged my friend, who said she didn't like the cephalopod, to sample it. This tender-cooked octopus changed her mind. Yes, that good. Her portion of lightly coated and fried RI calamari was also worth the visit. Our [...]

By |2018-09-15T15:23:26+00:00September 21st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Trattoria Italienne, West Village, NYC

Soon after sitting down at Trattoria Italienne, owner and general manager James King stopped by to greet us, as we were to be their guests at this casual restaurant with Northern Italian and Southern French cuisine. James proudly explained that their menu — that changes quite frequently — highlights the best products of the season and focuses on their relationships with the purveyors. We started with their unusual cocktails. My friend had the citrusy Bitter Word cocktail made with Cimarron tequila, green chartreuse, cappelletti and aperitivo. I enjoyed the chocolatey Old Fashioned (Cocozza Group) made from Old Forester bourbon, Ramazzotti, crème de cacao and orange bitters ($14 each). I recommend both. [...]

By |2018-09-15T15:23:20+00:00September 19th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

TrüCup low acid coffee

To say I'm skeptical about food claims is an understatement, especially after reviewing products for most of my life. Trücup's claim is that their coffee is a stomach-friendly alternative to traditional coffee. Java for Americans who either avoid coffee or cannot drink as much as they like, due to stomach irritation (GERD or acid reflux) caused by acid. The company says, "trücup Born To Be Mild (Light Roast) clocked in at an impressive 5.74 pH level – making it up to 4.6 times less acidic than roasts from leading national coffee brands." The coffee is made using South American Arabica beans using a proprietary steam process to remove the acids that can irritate your stomach [...]

By |2018-09-15T15:24:30+00:00September 17th, 2018|Food & Drinks|0 Comments

Churrascaria Plataforma, Theatre District, NYC + Desperate Measures

Desperate  Measures, the musical-comedy western loosely based on Shakespear's Measure for Measure, recently moved from the York Theatre across town to the New World Stages after what I heard was its three-time extended sold-out run. I went to see this show again, one that my friend Bill Castellino directed and choreographed and I enjoyed it as much the second time! Pure fun! After the performance, I went with Bill and some of his friends (including actress Gayle Turner) across the street to Churrascaria Plataforma, a Brazilian steakhouse for a drink and nibble. Such a friendly place, I do recommend for drinks after theatre and heard that that is what it's [...]

By |2018-09-15T15:31:41+00:00September 15th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Manhattan’s Only Distillery – Our/New York and Bar

I recently joined Untapped Cities, as some friends and I wanted to do one of their events. We figured for $10 a month, we'd try it out. Through them, I attended a tour and vodka tasting at Our/New York, which opened in May. This small-batch, micro-distillery Manhattan’s first since Prohibition. It is part of Pernod Ricard, the French-based wine and spirits company. Before the tour, we tried their too sweet for me Excelsior '64 cocktail made from their vodka, lavender, elderflower and sparkling wine. I was happier with the straight vodka we tried after learning how it was made. OUR/New York is not only a distillery, it's also a bar [...]

By |2018-08-13T17:52:11+00:00September 13th, 2018|City Bites, Food & Drinks|0 Comments

Spring Natural Kitchen, Upper West Side, NYC + Twelfth Night

After picking up our tickets to see the musical version of Twelve Night at Shakespeare in the Park, we headed west to find a place to grab a bite. Wanting only a nibble on this very hot evening, we decided to share the guacamole ($13), which was flavorful but served with a plethora of stale colored chips. With that, I sampled their happy hour Upper West Side Manhattan ($7),  nicely done. As our main, we shared the quite small chopped salad ($17) that looks better in the photo than it was: all the "chopped" items are sprinkled on top. The menu described it as mesclun, romaine, shredded kale, roasted corn, [...]

By |2018-08-12T15:46:53+00:00September 11th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments