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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.

Legasea Seafood Brasserie, Midtown + The Greater Clements

Legasea Seafood Brasserie was bustling the night we dined there as Billy Joel was performing at MSG a couple of blocks away. We weren't heading to the Garden, instead, we were off to The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center to see Judith Ivy in the very long (2 hours and 40 minutes with two intermissions) The Greater Clements. For a complete review on Theater Pizzazz, click here. We ate at Legasea as their guests. I started with their eponymous Old Fashioned made with their own single barrel Hudson Bourbon, allspice dram (an allspice-flavored liqueur) and angostura bitters ($20). I'd recommend this yummy drink for Old Fashioned lovers. For [...]

By |2019-12-29T09:41:59-05:00January 24th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Ex-ExPat Holiday Luncheon at Bluebird London, Columbus Circle, NYC

I had eaten at Bluebird London in the Time Warner Center (third floor) when it first opened. I knew by this visit the kitchen would have its act together. They did. It was our ex-expat's holiday gathering, with 25 of us in a private room. They served warm rustic boules on wooden boards piped with a surprisingly tasty butter flavored with Marmite. Yes, that horrible salty classic English condiment. This restaurant is, after all, from the British restaurant group, D&D. Gooseberries and pumpkin garnished the Brooklyn buratta ($19), which I found bland and in need of salt. I liked it, though, when I spread it on a piece of the [...]

By |2020-01-22T07:14:02-05:00January 22nd, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Mel’s Burger Bar, Upper East Side, NYC

Mel's Burger Bar serves burgers and other bar foods, yet drinking is what folks go there for. We arrived during happy hour, yet ordered a brand name cocktail (Grey Goose on the rocks, $16) so the specials didn't apply. Since this is a burger joint, we each ordered one. I had the fat Mexican signature burger ($13) pico de gallo, Monterey jack and avocado made deluxe by adding fries ($4) and roasted cauliflower ($4) to share. My dining partner had their California ($13) one with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, avocado, Monterey jack and house sauce. Neither of us could believe how hungry we still were. The burgers contain a small [...]

By |2019-12-14T08:21:42-05:00January 20th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Goat Cheese Roasted Pepper Bruschetta

Here's a simple, partially make-ahead colorful hors d'oeuvre. To do ahead, I "toast" the bread and marinate the peppers. As company arrives, I spread the toast with the goat cheese, top with the pepper mixture and garnish with some microgreens. Easy! Goat Cheese Roasted Pepper Bruschetta 1 baguette, sliced on the bias about 1/2-inch thick Extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red, yellow and orange peppers* 1 shallot, minced 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh Salt and pepper to taste A large pinch red pepper flakes 3 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley 6-ounce log fresh goat cheese, [...]

By |2019-12-15T06:46:29-05:00January 18th, 2020|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Japanese Dinner at Mizu, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

Mizu is a Japanese neighborhood restaurant between Union Square and Madison Park where I stopped in as their guest one night for dinner. We had just missed their happy hour that ended at 6 pm. If you go early (3 - 6 pm), there's beer and sake for $4, wine for $5, edamame and California rolls for $4 and spring rolls for $5. Do not miss the tender shrimp tempura served over lettuce and topped with crunchy fried onions in a yuzu-honey sauce. Truly yummy. Some of the freshest shrimp I've tasted recently! Also amazing are the five crisped tuna-stuffed dumplings (Spicy Tuna Gyoza) each sitting in a mound of [...]

By |2020-01-03T15:12:18-05:00January 16th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Holiday Luncheon at Le Midi Bistro, Greenwich Village, NYC

I gathered my afternoon book group at LeMidi for lunch over the holidays. The location is close to the Union Square subway station making it easy to get to and where the holiday market was happening so those who wanted to shop after lunch could.  And, I knew that the restaurant offered a reasonably priced ($19.95) two-course prix fixe lunch option with a choice of soup or salad plus an omelet, coq au vin, sea bass, wild mushroom risotto or steak frites. We each opted for the special. Many of us selected the cauliflower soup made without cream (which I'd recommend!); two selected the green salad. Along with our starter, our [...]

By |2020-01-22T07:26:09-05:00January 14th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Few Southern California Breakfasts From Our Sisters Trip

On our sisters' trip to California recently, we stopped at a few interesting places for breakfast that I wanted to share. In San Louis Obispo (SLO), we let my grand-nephew Kailer, who is attending Cal Poly, select Kreuzberg California on Higuera for breakfast day. It's a local art-adorned hangout serving house-roasted delicious coffee and small bites. One grand-nephew indulged in their Belgian waffle with fruit, maple syrup and dusted with confectioners' sugar ($9). Another day when driving from SLO to Santa Barbara, we stopped at Bob's Well Bread Bakery known for his hand-made artisanal bread. Good bread is something New Yorkers are quite used to, an anomaly in Southern California [...]

Another Visit to Norma Gastronomia Siciliana, Midtown + Knives Out

After "Knives Out" an old-fashioned whodunit with an all-star cast, we walked over to Norma's. It's the best, most consistently good place to get a bite after going to the Kips Bay AMC. A glass of wine is de rigueur with a Sicilian meal. (Actually, with any meal!) I had the Donna Fugata, Sedara, Nero D'Avola, 2016 ($14), my friend the Gulfi, Cerasuolo Di Vittoria, 2016 ($16). Both worked well with our food. My friend ordered the pantesca salad with ventresca ($13), Norma's Italian version of the classic French salad Niçoise yet with Nocellara olives.  Her large bowl came filled with oil-cured tuna, olives, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes in [...]

By |2019-12-01T08:32:09-05:00January 10th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Happy Hour at Mi Garba, East Village, NYC

We were finishing the itinerary for our upcoming trip to Thailand and decided to go out in the hood for a glass of wine and a nibble. I had walked past Mi Garba early that afternoon when out doing errands. It looked inviting. We got there in time for happy hour  (from 5 to 7) each ordering a glass of their non-buttery Chardonnay (only $9). We shared the app of eggplant parmigiana and arugula and Asian pear salad with a balsamic reduction. I'd recommend the eggplant. Still hungry, we added an order of gnocchi in a Pomodoro (tomato) sauce. Mediocre at best as the gnocchi were a bit gummy and [...]

By |2020-01-08T09:15:06-05:00January 8th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Bombay Eating at Gupshup, Flatiron-Grammercy, NYC + The Good Liar

I'd been reading about GupSup for months. I finally got there recently after seeing Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen in "The Good Liar," a fun movie with twists. We were seated upstairs, which was spacious and quiet enough to carry on a conversation without straining. Our meal with the house chutney & pickles ($10 for four). I suggest the ones that we chose — the gooseberry cilantro, heirloom tomato and fennel, smoked minced pineapple and ghost chili and garlic. A must with a choice of warm naan. We chose the garlic whole-grain variety ($8). Never having seen guacamole on and Indian restaurant, we had to try it. The avocado mixture [...]

By |2019-12-01T11:08:22-05:00January 6th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Prix Fixe at Kings’ Carriage House, Upper East Side, NYC

My friend Lydia suggested the reasonably priced meal at the Carriage House on the Upper East Side. As I was heading to a doc appointment in the hood, I decided to stop by for lunch. Their prix fixe lunch menu of either the soup of the day or a baby green salad plus one of their entrees cost only $20.95. (Their website still says $18.95 for lunch.) How could I resist? There is an upcharge of $4 for some items including pan-seared salmon and grilled duck breast. Although in the mood for soup on the dreary day when I stopped by, I skipped the cream of cauliflower soup. Preferring to [...]

By |2020-01-04T10:05:46-05:00January 4th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Whitehead in the City at Lambs Club, Midtown, NYC

I dined at the Lambs Club for "Whitehead in the City: New Biology Transforming Drug Discovery" recently. The Whitehead Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research.  Their approach with scientists creates an "optimum environment for basic research". The most mentionable of the meal were the passed hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail reception from Chef Zakarian and his team, especially the steaming-hot, cheesy arancini and the crisp vegetable spring rolls. The meal — like for most large groups — was mediocre at best although the Halibut wrapped in Swiss chard and topped with shredded beets was an attractive presentation. The folks gathered weren't there for [...]

By |2019-11-27T14:05:59-05:00January 2nd, 2020|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

Farmer & The Fish, Gramercy-Flatirion, NYC + A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I admit I had a couple of tears drip down my face watching Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." I recommend this feel-good movie. After the movie, we celebrated my friend's birthday at Farmer & The Fish, a spacious Park-Avenue restaurant close to the movie theatre. For starters, we shared the odd grilled Japanese eggplant. Odd in that it was served chilled and with too much of the syrupy date sweetness drizzled over the thick slices of eggplant with candied cashews (Those were yummy!) and golden raisins made refreshing with mint ($14). My friend ordered the big eye tuna, cooked appropriately, quite rare with [...]

By |2019-11-27T13:27:45-05:00December 31st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

BYOB to Xu’s Public House, Union Square, NYC

Can Xu's Public House, the newest restaurant to occupy the two-story space at 15 Union Square West, make it? I believe this is the third place that I've reviewed there! I stopped by to meet a friend for a drink after it opened and learned that they were still waiting on their liquor license. The owner mentioned that I could dine there and BYOB. Sounded good to me. When dining at XU's, I started with their crab meat soup dumplings with pork (three for $8). I tried to remember what I had learned at Full House Cafe about eating them so I didn't scorch my lips. I knew not to [...]

By |2019-11-24T16:22:44-05:00December 29th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Margot Cafe & Bar, East Nashville, Tennessee

While at the Les Dames d'Escoffier International conference in Nashville, a group of us dined at Margot Cafe & Bar, an inviting restaurant said to have precipitated the gentrification of East Nashville. We were seated in the quiet upstairs making it more conducive to conversation. Our shared apps included the house-made potato chips served with aioli ($5) and small nuggets of corn coated okra with a remoulade sauce, sprinkled with scallions ($12). One friend who loved chicken livers ordered that appetizer batter-fried served with contrasting textured other goodies (fresh apple slices, radishes and pickled onions) in a mustard vinaigrette ($13) and a salad of local lettuces with shaved fennel and gorgonzola [...]

By |2019-11-26T10:22:07-05:00December 27th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Lunch at Stonehouse, San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito, CA

After my Connecticut friend who now lives in Montecito picked me up at the Santa Barbara airport we drove up to San Ysidro Ranch for lunch. This idyllic spectacular 500-acre California property is the place where Jackie and Jack (Kennedy, for you millennials) honeymooned as they — guard their guest's privacy. If you recall, Montecito is where the heavy rainfall after the Thomas Fire deforestation caused mudslides forcing the property to close. It reopened this April. Although there's a terrace on the lower level,  we chose the upper one with the spectacular view of the Pacific. We opted for the three-course prixe fixe market menu ($47) that emphasizes local ingredients. [...]

A Birthday Dinner at Community Table, New Preston, CT

We made a day of it, heading up to Northwest Connecticut to see our friend Joann Makovitzky's new home, shop in New Preston and dine at her restaurant. The Community Table is located in Litchfield County, close to Washington Depot and New Preston. It's a casual welcoming restaurant where we enjoyed the cooking of Chef Paul Pearson of Yorkshire, England.   We started with a few apps, enjoying their hummus made from kabocha squash hummus and served with sliced radishes and the homemade seeded crackers ($16) that we saw on sale at The Smithy on Main Street in New Preston.  I loved the rich Raven and Boar Farm pork liver paté [...]

By |2019-11-26T10:23:23-05:00December 23rd, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

MáLà Project, East Village, NYC + Gangster Museum

I first heard about the MáLà Project at a panel of other restaurant reviewers, where two of them highly recommended the Sichuan dry-pots. We stopped in at this East Village spot for lunch before heading to the small but informative and fun Gangster Museum. (If you go, be sure to take the free tour as that's what makes this museum special.) We didn't get off to a good start as our pan-fried vegetable dumplings (six for $7) arrived cold, not room temperature but cold. Our server did take them back to heat them. I'd recommend the oddly named leftover fried rice ($13) with pork and veggies. That dish did arrive [...]

By |2019-11-20T14:07:58-05:00December 21st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Shun Lee Cafe + Paul Taylor Celebrate the Dancemaker

The best thing about Shun Lee Cafe is its proximity to Lincoln Center where we had seen the amazing Paul Taylor dancers in "Celebrate the Dancemaker." We sat in the black and white checkerboard restaurant noticing the silver Chinese calendar images hanging from the ceiling. I looked forward to selecting my dim sum from the rolling cart that passed through the dining room. Since we arrived at about 9 pm after the performance, we had to order ours using a check-off paper menu instead ($9 each). The best were both the steamed shumai (3) and dumplings (4), both with wrappers chockful of shrimp. The two small spring rolls were crisp, [...]

By |2019-11-26T10:22:43-05:00December 19th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Holiday Gift for a Bread Baker: Living Bread by Daniel Leader

Bread Alone's Daniel Leader is at it again. His latest book, Living Bread ($40) is out now in time for holiday giving for the serious bread baker on your list. His other books — Bread Alone and Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers — are award-winning ones. This latest tome pays tribute to traditional ways, offering a comprehensive picture of bread baking for the home baker. It also provides a look into the way break baking has evolved and continues to change. I was able to get the  Baguette de Richard Ruan from the publisher to share with you.   Baguette de Richard Ruan Ingredients [...]

By |2019-12-04T16:37:34-05:00December 17th, 2019|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes|0 Comments