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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.

Queensyard Kitchen, Hudson Yards

After walking up the Vessel and yet again with an out of town friend we stopped at Queensyard for a bite to eat. We chose it, as it's one of the few restaurants at Hudson Yards with windows. We opted to dine in the Queensyard Kitchen area around the bar with a more reasonably priced menu than the dining room a few feet away with tables next to the window. Having just arrived back from France, I was still on a Lillet Blanc ($11) kick so I ordered that. After it arrived warm in a sherry glass, I got up to speak to the bartender as our server was so [...]

By |2019-10-15T15:50:49-04:00November 19th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Greek Hospitality at Merakia, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

I stopped in my tracks, noticing the "Grade Pending" in the window of Merakia, a fairly new Greek restaurant in my hood. Thanos, one of the owners, assured me that the grade was from a broken pipe under the bathroom, not the sanitation of the kitchen. (Last I checked they had an "A" grade!) We took him for his word and decided to grab our late-night bite there. Thanos offered us cocktails, I started with the King Agamemnon made with Jack Daniels Blue (their play on an Old Fashioned), my dining companion the Aristotle daiquiri ($17 each). We shared their tzatziki ($10) that came with a huge amount of warm [...]

By |2019-10-29T19:02:33-04:00November 17th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Peruvian-Japanese Food at Llama San, West Village, NYC

With all the publicity, it wasn't easy securing a table at Llama San, the new modern 60-seat Japanese/Peruvian restaurant in West Village from the people behind Llama Inn. We did so and enjoyed dining outside at the sidewalk seating, enclosed by plants. I started a Flaming Creatures, their version of an old-fashioned, ($17) made with Japanese whiskey, cacao, chancaca  (a Peruvian sweetener), miso and smoke. The menu is small containing various size plates to share. Some of our party ordered the scallop ceviche with cherimoya and avocado chunks ($22) sprinkled with sesame; I ask for the duck, which came as four slives of aged duck breast over rice and banana [...]

By |2019-10-02T09:00:12-04:00November 15th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Casual Thai at Taladwat, Hell’s Kitchen + Wrong Man

Before heading over to the new MCC theatre on 52nd street to see the heart-wrenching musical Wrong Man, we grabbed dinner at a very casual Thai restaurant, Talad Wat. The Wrong Man struck a chord as it was reminiscent of An American Marriage that we discussed at book group. I must warn you that the only seating is backless at communal picnic tables. Don't let that stop you from heading there for their $20 dinner with two dishes and jasmine or organic red rice. (At lunch it's only $16.) Start with their mixed appetizer ($15) with two each vegetable dumplings, spring rolls and shrimp & crab dumplings with three dipping [...]

By |2019-11-12T10:21:51-05:00November 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Folk, Rolf and Daughters’ Sister, East Nashville, Tennessee

Many attendees to Les Dames d'Escoffier International 2019 conference in Nashville last month mentioned dining at Rolf and Daughters, the Mediterranean eats place from James Beard Award-nominated chef Philip Krajeck. Some friends and I instead headed to the chef's newest neighborhood restaurant and bar called Folk in McFerrin Park, East Nashville. It's a hip place with custom artwork from local artist Alex Lockwood and Paul Collins lining the walls. This was our last stop on our eating and drinking crawl that had started with breakfast at the Old School Farm (more Nashville posts to come!) earlier in the day. With pizzas made with flour from non-GMO mills in the region, [...]

Brunch at City Vineyard & Wine Garden at Pier 26, NYC

On one of those spectacular weather fall days, a small group of friends and I were seated outside on the patio at City Vineyard & Wine Garden.  It was like follow the leader as the first person of the group to order decided on a burger, and four of the five of us decided to follow suit. It was that kind of day. For a starter, we all shared the kale and arugula ($13) salad in an apple-cider vinaigrette with sliced fresh strawberries and a honey crisp apple. I can recommend. Their Vineyard burger comes topped with Cheddar, a fresh slice tomato, caramelized shallots and an aioli,  accompanied by Belgian fries [...]

By |2019-09-30T10:27:39-04:00November 9th, 2019|Big Apple Life|2 Comments

Lunch at Sarabeth’s After an Ex-Expat Gilded Age NY Historical Tour

Sarabeth's is a wonderful restaurant for breakfast and brunch. Sadly I can't say as much for lunch, at least for what we experienced at her Upper East Side location. Out ex-expat group stopped in after a Gilden Age tour given by Kevin Draper, Chief Experience Officer for New York Historical Tours. His tour began at The Plaza and ended at the Cooper Hewitt Museum on 91st, stopping along the way to learn those businessmen whose fortunes were made in the American Industrial revolution. As for lunch, the service was as good as always, the food — other than the breakfast items including omelets, frittatas and avocado/burrata toast that some ordered— [...]

By |2019-09-26T15:24:01-04:00November 7th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Korean BBQ at The Woo, Soho, NYC

I've been on a Korean restaurant kick, so enjoying the many ones our city offers. The Woo in SoHo was my latest stop. The Asian-style restaurant offers a smokeless barbecue grill in the center of each table.  That's where — if you desire — you cook your dinner. We began with some stir-fried glass noodles with mushrooms and other veggies in a tasty soy-sesame sauce (Jap Chae, $16).  I'd recommend as I would their Dae Ji Kalbi ($26), five meaty finger-lickin' slow-roasted ribs in a sweet and spicy soy chili BBQ sauce. Do not miss the Korean barbecue! There's a long list of meats and seafood that you can choose [...]

By |2019-09-26T14:41:08-04:00November 5th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Skip Gina Mexicana, Upper East Side + An Evening at Streicker

We'd walked past Gina Mexicana several times while looking for a place to grab a bite after going to a program at The Streicker Center. We never got in as they were full. This time we made a res. The best part about dining at Gina Mexicana is their friendly staff, outdoor patio behind the restaurant and fresh chips with spicy salsa. Sadly, I have nothing positive to say after that. The flavorless margarita ($15) needed fresh lime, same for the guacamole that had been made with underripe avocados. We tried to doctor it with salt and lime to make it even be palatable. The trio of tacos Classico was [...]

By |2019-09-22T09:31:48-04:00November 3rd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Tallgrass Burger on First, East Village, NYC

Returned to the city midday after experiencing lots of mediocre food on a trip, putting me in the mood for a burger and fries. I needed something both satisfying and satiating. Off I went on a hunt for a burger place near me that I hadn't been to, finding positive writings about the grass-fed beef served at the no-frills Tallgrass Burger. I met a friend at this fast-casual (more takeout than eat-in) place on First Avenue and 13th. Food is served in red plastic, paper-lined, baskets. The condiment choice is abundant not only with the regular mayo, mustard and ketchup but also squeeze bottles of various hot sauce. We shared [...]

By |2019-09-01T11:55:37-04:00November 1st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Sagaponack Bar & Grill, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

A friend in my building suggested I try Sagaponack Bar & Grill, a neighborhood place with a changing seasonal menu. I recently did, arriving during their happy hour, from 4 to 7 pm, seven days a week. If you like spicy drinks, I recommend their Sagarita made from jalpeño tequila, mango puree and triple sec, only $9 during happy hour. HH wine is only $5 plus they offer a variety of mostly fried food options. We sampled the shrimp dumplings ($9 for 5) that were panfried in a batter. Interesting. Each of their large taco platters contains two fried oyster ones, batter-fried fries and greens in a light vinaigrette ($24). [...]

By |2019-09-01T09:07:12-04:00October 31st, 2019|Big Apple Life|2 Comments

A Korean Brunch at Hwaban, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

If you follow my posts, you'll notice that I've been on an amazingly tasty Korean kick recommending some fabulous places to dine, including O:N° and Atoboy.  Continuing with that trend,  I met some friends at Hwaban, serving modern style Korean cuisine, for an unusual and attractively presented brunch. My friends each ordered  — and enjoyed — the grapefruit soju cocktail ($12) We started with housemade morning rolls that came in a steamer basket on a tray with three small dishes. One with black sesame butter, sweet red bean and berry jam ($15).  Really tasty, yet wishing the butter was softer not coming straight from the fridge, Each dish arrived attractively presented [...]

By |2019-08-30T10:56:41-04:00October 29th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Creative Mexican at Alta Calidad, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn + Pierre Cardin

By New York City standards, Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights is a short walk from the Brooklyn Museum. We had visited the exhibition Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion that's there until January 5, 2020. It is the first NYC retrospective in forty years to focus on the legendary couturier. Chef Akhtar Nawab is serving creative Mexican fare in a welcoming neighborhood spot with reasonable prices.  His cooking was acknowledged by Michelin, awarding it NYC 2018 Bib Gourmand. We started with a Margie ($12) made perfectly with fresh ingredients.  I recommend the cocktail as I do their guac that comes with four large tostadas (crisp tortillas) sprinkles with ground red pepper and [...]

By |2019-08-31T13:02:33-04:00October 27th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Cardoncello diVino, an Italian Osteria in Chelsea, NYC

A small group of us who had gone to Sicily together got together for an Italian meal at Cardoncello diVino, a classy-casual Italian osteria. The restaurant centers its menu around its namesake mushroom. Don't miss that roasted eponymous mushrooms with a potato cake with caciocavallo cheese and truffles ($17). Also good was their cow's milk burrata ($16) with a broccoli rabe soufflé & red pepper sauce and the baked fresh sardine over a risotto cake ($15). The fresh ribbon pasta ($22) came with lots of clams, seasoned with dill and pepper flakes all topped with crumbled Italian crackers (tarollo). I'd recommend the seared scallops ($29) over creamy spinach with crispy [...]

By |2019-09-29T09:52:08-04:00October 25th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|2 Comments

A Must-Try: L’essential in Périgueux, France

We lucked out as the weather was ideal for dining on the courtyard terrace. That and we arrived early at this tiny Michelin-starred restaurant to be lucky enough to secure one of the outside tables. Magali and Eric Vidal offer impeccably served culinary specialties of Périgord and the region. We started with our aperitif of Lillet blonde that had become our tradition while in the Dordogne. Each dish from the amazingly inexpensive 31 € two-course menu was better than the next and was beautifully plated. For the two courses, we selected either an appetizer or dessert and an entree. A real bargain. First came the ethereal multi-studded amuse-bouche along with [...]

By |2019-10-12T19:22:06-04:00October 23rd, 2019|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|2 Comments

A Flavor Concentration Booth at Ichiran, Times Square, NYC

There's a unique way to enjoy ramen in a "solo flavor concentration booth" in Times Square. This bi-level Ichiran restaurant has 103 booths and no communal tables (those are only available at the Bushwick, Brooklyn location). Once seated at one of the vacant booths, we removed the divider between us so we could discuss what we were ordering using the paper form. I was aware that the booths ensure we'd focus on our ramen experience yet preferred to interact with my friend while we ordered and ate. First, we selected our ramen (either classic Tonkotsu ramen, $18.90 or the "Recommended Set," $24.90). Being their guests, we chose the latter giving [...]

By |2019-09-29T10:03:18-04:00October 21st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Mezze at Barbounia, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

A creature of habit for sure. Whenever I dine at a restaurant offering a mezze, like Barbounia, that's what I order! I dined there recently on one of those perfect alfresco days. With Barbounia located on Park Avenue at 20th, there's less traffic to interfere with conversation. Another plus: no need to experience the deafening noise inside once it gets hopping. We shared a mezze of spicy feta, hummus and their fire-roasted eggplant ($19 for the three), plus gratis olives and a delicious warm loaf of bread ($3 per order). Next,  we shared the grilled tender Portuguese octopus with fingerling potatoes ($24) and crispy fried calamari ($19). We devoured the [...]

By |2019-09-19T12:26:28-04:00October 19th, 2019|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Indian Food at Roasted Masala, Upper West Side, NYC

Roasted Masala's publicist shared that this Upper West Side Indian restaurant serves authentic Northern dishes with bold flavors and spices, using time-honored recipes passed down from the Chef’s grandfather. I headed uptown with friends to sample their fare. Our host, who greeted and served was Sam, their attentive and knowledgable general manager. We started with the most unusually delicious app. Bhel puri, one of their snacks or chaats ($6.95). This contained puffed rice, onions, tomatoes and chutney in a tamarind sauce. My dining companions found the accompanying sauces a bit spicey. I loved everything about the dish. Also not to be missed is the Recheado Shrimp, four large ones spiced [...]

By |2019-08-31T14:28:14-04:00October 17th, 2019|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Craft Cocktails In the Basement in Chinatown, NYC

To enter this fun speakeasy, you open a bright red Coca-Cola vending machine door then head down the steps to a dark bar replete with electronic games, craft cocktails and small plates. Mixologist Dennis Condon runs Basements amazing bar program. Two of the tasty cocktails that we sampled as their guests included the “Kung Fu Kicks,” a blend of mezcal, Aperol, siracha bitters, Thai chili and pineapple juice — made more smokey with fumes from burnt wood chips. I learned that as I removed the top of the unusual vessel and smoke wafted from the drink. My dining companion tried the "5 Spiced Life" made with Gran Centenario Plata, jalapeño, [...]

By |2019-08-31T12:17:09-04:00October 15th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

123 BSB (Burger Shot Beer), Hell’s Kitchen + Betrayed

If you're part of the sports bar crowd, you'd probably enjoy a trip to 123 BSB on Tenth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen. It's a happening place replete with burgers, lots of fried foods, beer and a profusion of shots! I stopped by recently on my way to see the revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal about an adulterous triangle that takes place in reverse chronological order with Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox. I had seen — and preferred — the performances of Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz about six years ago. For a complete theatre review, click here. At 123SBS as their guests, we started with a couple of [...]

By |2019-10-12T20:37:17-04:00October 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments