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.

Hotel Americano, Chelsea, NYC

A couple years ago a friend and I had a Calandria cocktail at Hotel Americano in Chelsea that we've never stopped talking about. It was the most delicious and spicy blend of Maestro Dobel Tequila, passion fruit juice, mango juice and ginger liqueur served in a chili-rimmed glass. Having tried to reproduce it at home, my friend really wanted to recipe. Recently, we headed to the hotel to stop in at the bar to see whether we could obtain the recipe from the bartender. Sadly neither Joanne the bartender or Cyza the manager knew of the drink but were more than willing to try to re-create it with what they [...]

By | 2018-06-17T10:34:08+00:00 June 17th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Temerario, Chelsea, NYC

I returned for brunch at Temerario, a wonderful Mexican place on Eighth Avenue as I was meeting some friends who were off to the Joyce (almost across the street) for a dance performance. I ordered and highly recommend their smoky jalapeño margarita made with chile morita infused tequila, Cointreau, agave and lime and orange juices. It's bottomless for 1 1/2 hours for $20 when you have an entree, $10 otherwise. To start, we shared their unusual queso fresco and seed topped Guacamole Rojo ($12) with tomato and roasted chipotle peppers served along with fresh tortilla chips. Laughing as for me once was enough, we skipping the optional addition of grasshoppers [...]

By | 2018-05-22T12:12:55+00:00 June 15th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Lisbon, Portugal Round-Up of Restaurant Recommendations

Last year when my granddaughter Delilah was born in Lisbon, I spent time eating my way around the city. (You may be one of those following her growth on my daughter-in-law's Instagram @TheBestWorldYet.. if not click here to check it out.) I'm sharing a few recommendations that include all of Jose Avillez restaurants. I wrote up a couple that have links to those post but not all of them, as I was off to Peru before I had the time. If you're a foodie who travels to experience starred Michelin restaurants, do make a res at Jose Avillez's two-star Belcanto. It's listed as one of top 100 restaurants in the [...]

By | 2018-06-08T10:36:34+00:00 June 13th, 2018|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

The Band’s Visit Sweeps the Tonys

Here’s the full list of Tony Award nominations and winners with some words from winners when they came to meet the press in the media room. (This post come from our partner Theater Pizzazz)  Theater Pizzazz’ Mark Ryan Anderson was there to note the responses and take photos.   Best musical WINNER: “The Band’s Visit” – (on a possible revival of The Full Monty) “I kind of miss those songs…I would love to work on Full Monty again.” “Frozen” “Mean Girls” “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical Harry Hadden-Paton, “My Fair Lady” Joshua Henry, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel” WINNER: Tony Shalhoub, [...]

By | 2018-06-11T11:21:23+00:00 June 11th, 2018|Big Apple Life, NYC Best Bites, Theatre|0 Comments

Il Violino, Lincoln Square, NYC

Lincoln Square area restaurant Il Violino was so good and accommodating the last time my afternoon book group met that our hostess decided to have our meeting there again. The book this time was Being Esther: A Novel by Miriam Karmel. The restaurant offers an amazing $23 prix fixe lunch including both a glass of pinot grigio or Montepulciano and coffee. Most everyone started with the lightly dressed crisp salad, I had a steaming hot bowl of their minestrone soup. The tender chicken piccata with capers and the salmon accompanied by mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli were the most popular selections. I tried the waiter-recommended huge portion of chicken parmigiana. Although [...]

By | 2018-06-11T09:29:46+00:00 June 11th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Vintage61 Sports Bistro, South Street Seaport, NYC

During one of the recent torrential rainstorms, I headed with some friends to the opening of Vintage61, a South Street Seaport sports bistro with a wine focus. Vintage61, a collaboration between Jason Casano and Laurent Vasseu, is inspired by the year 1961 and the owners' passions. Sixty-one had one of the best NY Yankee lineups and was one of the best years in Bordeaux.  It's also a nod to Roger Maris 61 home runs. We started with one of their unusually well-blended mixologist's concoctions: The French Goal ($14) made with 42 Below vodka, Midori, peach schnapps plus cranberry, orange and pineapple juices. So yummy that my no-drinker friends had seconds! Generally, [...]

By | 2018-05-21T19:50:30+00:00 June 9th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

The Penrose, Upper East Side, NYC

I'm a spicy drink gal, ordering the Penrose Bloody Mary extra spicy. This blend hit the spot garnished with sliced pickles ($8). My dining partner, who doesn't drink, ordered their Down and Wavy, a delicious concoction of Libertine botanical beverage, grenadine with apple, lemon and grapefruit juices and baking spices ($9), one of the best non-alcoholic drinks I've sampled. As their guest, I was able to sample lots of their offerings. We shared the farro salad with Cara Cara orange supremes, asparagus, pistachios in a Calabrian chili vinaigrette topped with shaved Ricotta Salata. ($15). I wasn't impressed with the vegetarian zucchini and mushroom "meatball" ($16) sandwich topped with marinara sauce [...]

By | 2018-05-21T20:06:02+00:00 June 7th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Maysville, Chelsea, NYC

Ever since Charlie Marshall, chef at The Marshall, recommended the Southern-inspired Maysville as one of his favorites, it's been on my list to try this American whiskey bar and Southern-inspired restaurant. I stopped by for lunch with a friend. Because of their focus on whiskeys — they feature over 200 American whiskeys plus a selection of Scotch, Irish, Canadian and Japanese ones — I ordered their Old Smokey cocktail ($14), sort of a smokey old fashioned with Evan Williams Small Batch Bourbon, Vanilla and Smoked Rhubarb Amaro. That was the best part of my visit. We shared a few items. The best were the four crispy grit croquettes purportedly with smoked ham [...]

By | 2018-05-22T08:12:39+00:00 June 4th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Oiji, East Village, NYC + Miss You Like Hell

Before heading to The Public to see the musical "Miss You Like Hell" from Tony award-winning Quiara Alegría Hudes ('In the Heights') and genre-breaking songwriter Erin McKeown, about an undocumented immigrant and her estranged daughter, we ate dinner at Oiji. Making a res at Oiji was more complicated than usual. I had made one by calling the place, was called back and told it was a mistake that I didn't have one as they don't take reservations until 14 days ahead. I then had to mark my calendar to do so. The door's opened at exactly 6 and the place was completely filled moments after. Oiji, named for cucumber kimchee, [...]

By | 2018-05-22T08:12:27+00:00 June 2nd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Russian Samovar, Theatre District, NYC + Angels in America

We for sure needed sustenance between "Millennium Approaches” and “Perestroika," parts one and two of the Tony-nominated Angels in America, the play with Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield about life that's as relevant today as it was during the early AIDS epidemic. At a break in our theatre marathon, we headed next door to the quirky yet elegant Russian Samovar as their guests. Years ago at the restaurant's height, it was part-owned Mikhail Baryshnikov and attended by the Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack. They are gone, but the classic Russian comfort food establishment has remained the same. In fact, their menu lists "grilled sturgeon" that hasn't been served in years. I love to enjoy [...]

By | 2018-05-21T16:08:13+00:00 May 31st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Baker’s Dozen Medium-Priced ($$) Pre-Theatre Options: Theatre District

Here's another round up of restaurants, this time medium-priced ($$) ones in the Theatre District, offering a baker’s dozen sampling of BiteoftheBest.com's restaurant reviews. Bea 403 W 43rd St 212-602-1910 Intimate eatery with interesting small and large plates. Becco 355 W 46th St 212-397-7597 Pasta specials at Lidia Bastianich's lower-priced sibling to Felidia on theatre row. Blue Fin 1567 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 212-918-1400  Seafood restaurant on Times Square. Gallo Nero 402 W 44th St 212-265-6660 A hidden gem; an Italian friendly and comfy neighborhood spot. Il Punto Ristorante 507 9th Ave (at 40th) 212-244-0088  A friendly Italian place with good food. Don't miss the warm chocolate souffle. Marseille 630 [...]

By | 2018-06-03T08:40:31+00:00 May 29th, 2018|Theatre|0 Comments

Ippudo Ramen, East Village, NYC

This is my year for ramen, with visits to Ichiran Ramen, Ivan Ramen and E.A.K. Ramen before meeting some relatives at Ippudo Ramen, a bustling place in on Fourth Avenue and 10th Street in the East Village. I'm told there's always a wait. Once we were seated, we ordered drinks and apps. I sampled their version of an Old Fashioned made with Japanese whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. Not bad. My relatives had beer. We started with flash-fried shishito peppers served with yuzu salt ($9) and two servings of steamed Ippudo buns spread with both Ippudo's spicy sauce and mayo and filled with pork ($9 for two buns). Neither was remarkable, both [...]

By | 2018-05-21T10:47:37+00:00 May 27th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Acme Fish Fridays, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

If you — like me — are catatonic over the high price of smoked fish in Manhattan, you need to know about Acme Fish's Fridays. Zabar's website offers hand-sliced Nova salmon for $32 - $64 a pound. On Friday's from 8 am to 1 pm, you can buy the same smoked salmon, pre-sliced for $9 a pound. That's not a typo! Zabar's whole whitefish is $64, at Acme a 2-pound whole one is $16 ($8 a pound). Acme probably supplies the smoked fish to most places you shop. Every Friday morning, they open their factory located at 30 Gem Street, just off North 15th N Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and sell [...]

By | 2018-06-11T09:30:09+00:00 May 25th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments

Oscar Wilde, Chelsea, NYC

Oscar Wilde pays homage to the spirit of this Irish playwright’s prolific story. As their guest I sampled a good deal of their menu. After sampling a good deal of Oscar Wilde’s menu as their guest, I recommend you visit this fun establishment bedecked with an extraordinary Victorian art and object collection for drinks and their delightful appetizers. I recommend The Travesty created by mixologist Johnny Swet, that is if they’re still serving this specialty cocktail that was created for a partnership with the show Travesties (that was) playing at the American Airlines Theatre. It’s a nicely balanced mixture of vodka Lajay Crème de Cassis, lemon juice and Prosecco garnished [...]

By | 2018-04-30T06:59:07+00:00 May 23rd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Andaz Kitchen & Bar, Financial District, NYC

A few months ago, I attended the opening of the new Andaz Kitchen & Bar, at the eponymous hotel and met the general manager and the chef, who invited me to come back and sample the menu. I did so recently, asking for small portions of items so I could sample lots. Keep in mind that many of the photos are only a partial portion; what you get at the restaurant are more plentiful! Still on a hunt for the penultimate spicy cocktail, I began with the Lighthouse made with jalapeño infused tequila, Campari, simple syrup and lime juice. Nice, but not spicy enough for me ($15). The three apps [...]

By | 2018-04-11T23:38:30+00:00 May 21st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Breads Bakery, Union Square, NYC — Chocolate Babka

One of the stops I need to make before heading to visit one of my sons is Breads Bakery (on 16th just off Union Square) for their incredibly decadent chocolate babka ($14.95 or 2 for $22). Theirs has rightfully been voted the best in New York City. Babka — the braided, chocolate-veined interior — was made mainstream by Seinfeld in the '90s, babka. It's a half-yeasted-bread, half-cake irresistible treat to eat anytime. Breads makes theirs using butter and spreads the dough with a blend of Nutella and dark chocolate chips. They bake it several times a day, so it's always fresh. If you've never tried this crisp crust, moist babka, [...]

Lillie’s Times Square, Theatre District, NYC

Having been to Lillie's in my hood, I looked forward to sampling  Lillie’s Victorian Establishment in Times Square when the publicist invited me. Like the Union Square area one, the ornate wooden carvings and antiquities  at Lillie’s were procured from a ballroom in an 1800′s estate in Northern Ireland, according to their website. On the hunt for a really good spicy drink, I ordered their Spicy Reposado made with El Destilador Reposado tequila, agave and Hellfire bitters, garnished with a charred poblano pepper ($15). Good, but not at all spicy. Our server steered us toward the beer battered fish and chips ($22), with two large strips of fried cod along with [...]

By | 2018-04-11T16:02:15+00:00 May 19th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Flatiron Room, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

My friend suggested we go listen to jazz one night, suggesting the Flatiron Room. On 26th Street is this restaurant-club where the groups performs in the background on a velvet-curtained stage and regulars store their bottles of whiskey until they return. Flatiron offers almost 700 bottles of whiskey to choose from including the rare 27-year-old limited-run Glenmorangie Pride priced at about $800 per gram!  I also learned that a private room upstairs offers tastings and classes ($35 to $125). When we sat down at our booth, our waiter Simon pointed out the drinks and bites that were available at Happy Hour prices that  included some drinks and two of the flatbreads until [...]

Terra Chips made with Avocado Oil

Those who like Terra's real vegetable chips would be interested to know they just introduced two varieties cooked in avocado oil, a healthy fat. These new sweet potato chips come in two flavors — sweet chipotle and a sweets medley with batata (Cuban sweet potato ), sweet potato and purple sweet potato chips seasoned with Sel Gris (a French sea salt). A 5-ounce bag costs $3.49-3.79. A one-ounce serving of these two new chips contains 140 calories, 6 to 7 grams a fat (of which 0.5 to 1 gram is saturated), 2 grams fiber and 105 to 140 milligrams sodium. I wouldn't buy these, as when I indulge in chips, it's [...]

By | 2018-04-07T08:15:09+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

Chez Marianne, The Marais, Paris

A foodie friend had suggested a visit to Chez Marianne, located in the Marais district in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, for their Sephardic food. My son and I went one evening and shared the dégustation (tasting for €30) where we got to select 10 elements from their buffet of appetizers, plus warm pita (€ 3) and a half bottle of Château de Pizay Morgan (€ 14.50). The only one of our ten elements neither of us really liked was the pastrami as we're used to NYC style deli. To us, this meat had odd texture and flavor. All the others — falafel, hummus, feta, tahini, eggplant, tzatziki,, kefta, fromage [...]