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.

A New French Kitchen: Le Privé, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

A new French kitchen, Le Privé, opened this summer in Hell's Kitchen. They had invited me to come in and sample their cooking, saying that they would create a special tasting menu for me and my guest and would be sure to add a candle to the dessert, as it was my friend's b-day. Perfect, I thought, as we didn't have to make any decisions and would get to sample many of their dishes. Silly me, it slipped my mind that one should never assume anything. What they meant was that they would select menu items that we'd be eating, not providing tastes of many things. We were both served their [...]

By |2018-11-08T11:51:10+00:00December 15th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Lunch near the UN at La Pecora Bianca, Midtown, NYC

My friend had an appointment at the UN and asked me to find a place to meet for lunch in the area., which is how we ended up at La Pecora Bianca. It'a bright, inviting place to dine with an interesting affordable lunch menu. We each sipped from our glass of Gavi di Gavi, Giordano Lombardo 2016 Piemonte ($11) while waiting for the waiter to take our order. Sadly, service was way off and so was the food we ordered. The chicken (+$6) that topped my shaved Brussels sprouts salad with pickled raisins and sunflower seeds ($14) was dry and overcooked, my friend's salmon (+$7) topping his farro salad with [...]

By |2018-11-12T10:55:39+00:00December 13th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Finally Made it to Via Carota, West Village, NYC

For years I've been hearing raves about Via Carota just off Seventh Avenue in the West Village. My issue with the restaurant — like Buvette also by  Jody Williams and Rita Sodi — is they don't take reservations. That means to not wait hours, I made a date to meet a friend there at 5 pm. By 5:30 there was a wait. We started with the large oval nduja arancini (5 for $13 ). That's fried rice balls filled with spicy pork sausage and sitting on a sprinkling of grated Parmigiana Reggiano. These were better than the arancini I had when in Sicily. Next, we shared the carciofi ala Griglia ($18), their [...]

By |2018-11-02T12:03:57+00:00December 11th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Legacy Records, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC + The Play That Went Wrong

Before theatre, we walked way west to 510 West 38th Street to dine at Legacy Records, run by Delicious Hospitality the company behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones. I suggest Pasquale Jones over Charlie Bird. At Legacy Records, I tried the Pac Man (basically a Manhattan) made with Sazerac 6-year Rye, Cocchi Americano Rosa and Baines Pacharan de Aranon ($18). We ordered their warm crusty bread that came with sprouted seed bread, cultured butter, salt and rosemary lardo ($8) to nibble while we perused the menu. Be careful about eating too much bread, as it's that good that you want to. From what I hear, the crudo is what to have, but I don't [...]

By |2018-11-10T13:27:34+00:00December 9th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Etcetera Etcetera, Theatre District, NYC + Days of Rage

Etcetera Etcetera, a restaurant on West 44th Street close to the theatre district, has a warm spacious setting with decent service. The food is sadly quite mediocre, at least what we sampled before we went around the corner to see Days of Rage at 2nd Stage. To be fair, perhaps because we ate there on a Monday, it was the chef's day off. We shared tough (over handled) veal meatballs screaming for a smidgen of salt (5 for $28) that oddly came with fries. Those fried morsels were the best part of what we ate. We also shared eggplant parmigiana ($19) that looked good -- but was also missing seasoning. The best [...]

By |2018-11-02T12:19:50+00:00December 7th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Bite at Bocado After A Stroll Thru the Met, UES, NYC

It was another visit to the Met that brought us to Bocado. We were at the Met for a 90-minute guided stroll through the galleries learning about the links between great works of art and theatre, two loves of mine and two loves of our tour guide Marin. After researching the area, I found Bocado described as a Rustic-chic restaurant & wine bar serving clever American bistro fare. The place was packed with families having brunch, a bit noisier than I like. I ordered the huevos rancheros ($19) which was a mistake as Bocado's version is only like that hearty satisfying dish in the basic ingredients: corn tortillas, poached eggs, black [...]

By |2018-10-29T12:52:03+00:00December 5th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

25th Anniversary of Lucky Cheng’s Dinner Cabaret, Stage 48, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

You're invited "to join us at the iconic Drag Cabaret and Dinner Show Lucky Cheng's! Meet some of the most famous Drag Queens in the country and cover how it has survived and thrived for 25 years as New York's original and longest-running drag show, and top employer of Trans and Drag women." How could I refuse to celebrate their 25th Anniversary at a series of Saturday evening Drag Performances by top headliners? I twisted a friend's arm to come with me to dinner and a show. Before ordering my meal, I recalled their warning, "Please be aware that the food is plated nicely and the dishes are tasty and [...]

By |2018-11-12T10:56:06+00:00December 3rd, 2018|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

Not Just For Tacos: Organic Red Duck Taco Sauce

Earlier this year, Red Duck foods, an Oregon condiment company, introduced a line of three organic sauces. The company is a Certified B Corporation, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact. It took me a while to sample these, as I don't often make tacos. I decided to try these certified organic, gluten-free and vegan sauces on chicken, fish, veggies, egg dishes and sandwiches and where I was looking for a bit of spice. Unlike many other condiments, these are extremely low in sodium and calories. One tablespoon of the mild and spicy one contains a mere 5 calories and 50 milligrams of sodium; 15 calories and 15 milligrams [...]

By |2018-12-02T16:12:58+00:00December 1st, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments

Shackleton Cocktail from Arlo Hotel: 88 Degrees South

"As the story goes, Sir Ernest Shackleton took cases of Mackinlay's Old Rare on his 1907 expedition to the British Antarctic. He later had to abandon the ship to save himself and his crew. That same whisky was found trapped under the ice 100 years later and recreated to become Shackleton Whisky. Named after one of the 20th century's most charismatic leaders, Shackleton Whisky embodies the spirit of a legend." With that introduction, I was invited to the Arlo NoMad (11 E 31st St) for cocktails and a sneak peek of the warmed "ice huts" sitting on the rooftop terrace 31 stories up, practically under the Empire State Building. At [...]

By |2018-11-13T08:25:19+00:00November 30th, 2018|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Bice Cucina, Midtown, NYC

Peter Guimaraes relaunched Bice Cucina, his company's NYC restaurant that had closed about four years ago, around the corner from the 54th location where it had been for 30 years. I was invited to sample their fare. We started with one of the small shareable bites, their eggplant parmigiana baked in a small cast-iron skillet with tomato sauce and mozzarella then topped with fresh basil. I highly recommend. Peter stopped by the table before departing to the Garden to courtside seats at a Knicks game. He wanted to find out what dishes we were ordering; he then mentioned that we must add one of their Pinsa Romana to that. It's a [...]

By |2018-11-07T09:39:37+00:00November 28th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Fireside Meal at Ristoro del Cinghiale, NoMad, NYC

Ristoro del Cinghiale, a Tuscan-style restaurant, is from Nicola Marzovilla, the restaurateur who also owns i Trulli, the classic Italian restaurant next door. In olden days, a ristoro was part restaurant, part inn that was a place to go after a day of hunting the cinghiale (wild boar). These animals were pursued to keep them from trampling the vineyards and devouring the grapes. The menu offers multiple ways to enjoy the boar, some prepared in the wood-burning oven in the open kitchen. We had an early reservation as we had lots to catch up on. As we were seated near the fireplace, I noticed we were their very first clientele that evening. Our first course, a black truffle ricotta [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:07:32+00:00November 26th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Le Pain Quotidien, Upper East Side Bakery and Cafe + People vs Noah

Each fall, Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center holds court. This year Alan Dershowitz as the prosecutor was pitted against Joe Lieberman, the defense, in People vs Noah. Was Noah guilty of crimes against humanity as he did not warn the others about the flood? At least that's what Dershowitz argued. We — the jury of about 2000 people who attended — found Noah not guilty, especially after the judge — Honorable Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States — gave us instructions how to interpret the law. After the court session, we walked over to Madison Avenue to discuss the proceedings and grab a bite at Le Pain Quotidien, [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:08:34+00:00November 24th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Stop at Jack’s Fish Spot While at Pike Place, Seattle, WA

We took a break between sessions at the Les Dames d'Escoffier International conference to head to Pike Place to grab a quick bite to eat so we could get back in time for the next item on our schedule. After walking through the stalls and being amazed at the fabulous flowers, we crossed the street to stand in line for fried fish and chips. I ordered the cod (3 pieces) and well-done fries ($8.99), one friend ordered similar with super garlicky fries, the other the fish tacos. Mine was done to perfection. The coating just thick enough to not mask the taste of the fresh sweet cod. It was good [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:09:48+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

An Invite to Tuscany Steakhouse, Midtown, NYC

Steve H. (that's all his card says) sat with me to chat nearby the wine room at his Tuscany Steakhouse as I had been invited as his guest. The atmosphere is part Tuscan farmhouse part quiet steakhouse. Steve opened the restaurant earlier this year on West 58th where Nino's used to be. To start, we tried their baked littleneck clams oreganata ($16.95),  a sizzling piece of extra-thick Canadian bacon ($5.95) that was too fatty to eat and their housemade burrata salad served with tomatoes and arugula ($18.95).  I like how they served the Caesar Salad ($12.95) nicely chilled, tossed with their homemade dressing and topped with thick shreds of cheese. I, [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:11:23+00:00November 20th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Dole Slawesome! Cole Slaw Salad Kits in Three Flavors

According to Dole's press materials, Slawesome! is the "world’s first line of seasoned coleslaw kits." I received three of the four varieties, sampling them for a book club's luncheon at my home. Everyone liked the blends ofmixed cabbages and carrots, with no consensus of which dressing was best. I preferred the slightly spicy Mango Sriracha over the Sweet Apple and Fiesta Lime varieties. These 8.6-ounce complete kits ($2.99) that makes three servings are found in the produce department.

By |2018-10-21T18:41:57+00:00November 18th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

The Persian Persopolis, UES, NYC after an Exhibition at Sotheby’s

After an exhibition at Sotheby's viewing jewelry that once belonged to Marie Antoinette and trying on some other fabulous jewels, we wanted to get a little something to eat. Two nearby Thai restaurants had been recommended, but sadly they were closed until 5. It was 4:30 and we were hungry. We recalled passing Persopolis, a Persian restaurant, that was still offering their two-course lunch ($19). It is offered from noon until five. Three of us decided to try that special, sharing all the first courses. We sampled their tabouleh salad (chopped tomatoes, lots of parsley and scallions with cracked wheat in a lemony dressing), hummus (ho, hum) and, our favorite, their borani - [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:06:09+00:00November 16th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Gluten-Free Senza Gluten, Greenwich Village, NYC

Senza Gluten is not the most organized or together restaurant that I've visited, but I'd still recommend it for celiacs or those allergic to wheat as there they can enjoy pancakes, French toast and more. Senza Gluten is a gluten-free small restaurant just north of Houston on Sullivan Street. We began by ordering cocktails, being surprised when we were told they couldn't make our first two selections as they were out of bitters. How could a bar be out of bitters??  I ended up with a refreshing Moscow mule served in a copper mug ($16) made with Stolichnaya vodka, lime juice and Brooklyn's Q spicy ginger beer. Thinking it would [...]

By |2018-10-19T18:27:49+00:00November 14th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Fabulous LES Find: Le French Diner + The Hysteria of Doctor Faustus

Before heading to the Seeing Place Theatre on West 4th to see The Hysteria of Doctor Faustus, we got a bite to eat at a place where I know I'll return. That now-closed play explored a pact made between the devil and a man who thinks he has nothing to lose. It sparked memories of the musical comedy Damn Yankees also based on that Faust legend. Le French Diner is a tiny restaurant with surprisingly wonderful food! This small storefront does not have many seats. Having arrived at 5:30 as the manager was opening up, we asked to be seated at that window-side table. "If a party of four arrives, we'll [...]

By |2018-11-12T09:31:12+00:00November 12th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Few Visits to Bond45, Theatre District, NYC + Waverly Gallery

You might think that Bond45 restaurant would be located on 45th Street. It used to be until about a year ago when they moved one block north to 46th in a much larger space.  I had serendipitously made a res before I had received the invite from their publicist to sample the new breakfast buffet. A group of us dined there prior to seeing Kenneth Lonergan’s acclaimed memory play about a feisty and chatty grandmother’s final battle Alzheimer’s disease, starring an amazing cast including Elaine May, Joan Allen, Lucas Hedges, David Cromer and Michael Sera. The first thing I noticed as I walked through the door and was led to my table, was [...]

By |2018-10-22T15:39:34+00:00November 10th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Pancakes at Clinton St Baking Company and Restaurant, Lower East Side, NYC

I'd been hearing about the purportedly best pancakes in New York City served at Clinton Street Baking Co. Decided to meet some relatives there. What I hadn't heard about was the hour and a half wait on weekends. Worked out fine, as we sat on a park bench and yakked while checking the Nowait app that let us know when our table was ready. The buttermilk biscuits ($3) spread with the housemade raspberry jam made the wait worth it.  I liked the fluffy signature blueberry pancakes served with a warm maple syrup butter; the chocolate chunk ones are a tad too sweet for me. Also good are the fried chicken and waffles ($17), [...]

By |2018-10-19T18:49:38+00:00November 8th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments