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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.

The Best Blueberry Cake + Folding

I adapted this recipe, published in "The Weekend Kitchen" by me (Bonnie Tandy Leblang) and Joanne Lamb Hayes, Harmony, 1992. It called for wild blueberries, which aren't in season now (other than in Florida), so I substituted regular ones. I find this irresistible, especially the crumb topping; so do all my friends and relatives who now make this. My son Eric began baking before he was in kindergarten with — of course — parental supervision; this was one of his favorites. Now his niece Deli, who just turned 3, assists her mom Andrea in making this additive cake. Measure out the ingredients,  let your child add each to the bowl [...]

By |2020-04-18T14:43:51-04:00April 5th, 2020|Endings, Recipes, WOW|0 Comments

Turkuaz Restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC + Tina, The Musical

(Written before COVID-19 quarantine) With a 7 pm curtain for Tina, my friend and I grabbed an early bite at Hell's Kitchen's Turkuaz, which has recently relocated to northern Hell's Kitchen convenient for theatre. I had been invited by the owner, who I had met at a Broadway Association function a couple of years ago. We sat down, looked at the menu but didn't order. The owners had selected various combo plates for us to sample. We started with the cold appetizer platter ($38) with hummus, cacik (blend of yogurt labneh and cucumbers seasoned with mint and dill), eggplant salad (chopped grilled eggplant and roasted peppers), baba ghanoush (chopped grilled eggplant [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:17:57-04:00April 5th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Stocking Your “Pantry” During COVID-19 + Lentil Soup with Sausages

Wanting to feel both useful and helpful during this world-wide pandemic, I'm donning my RD (registered dietitian), cookbook author and former food editor hats to share shopping and cooking tips with you as we're all sheltering in place. I am also including a couple of already posted pre-quarantine and not-shared yet restaurant reviews when I send the NewsBite just for your reading and viewing pleasure. We all need diversions. To start, here's a list of what to buy at /order from the supermarket to keep on hand. Shelf-stable items (meaning they don't need refrigeration). Rice Beans and lentils (canned and dried) Grains, whole grain preferred (amaranth, barley, bulgur, farro, freekeh, quinoa, [...]

By |2020-04-05T11:29:35-04:00April 1st, 2020|Big Apple Life, Entrees, Rambling, Recipes|0 Comments

Lower East Side Quintessential Trip with Lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen

((Written and posted before COVID-19 quarantine)  It had been some time since I wandered around enjoying the tastes of the Lower East Side. I went recently with some other Dames, checking out a potential guide and tour for the upcoming LDEI 2020 Conference that's being held in NYC this October. We made some food stops before ending at Katz's deli for the quintessential New York pastrami sandwich. But I'm getting ahead of myself, At Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery (137 East Houston Street) I bought one of their classic potato knishes ($4.25) that they've been selling and using the same recipe since opening in 1890. If you're not familiar, a knish [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:16:03-04:00March 28th, 2020|Big Apple Life, Rambling|2 Comments

Fast Casual Vietnamese at Sai Gon Dep, Murray Hill, NYC

(Written and posted before COVID-19 quarantine) I had lunch at Sai Gon Dep, teeny the fast-casual Vietnamese place on Second Avenue that specialized in Pho. I went with a book club friend who lives in the hood before heading to my breast-sandwich (AKA mammogram) at Langone. We both ordered the Sai Gon Dep lunch special of one roll + Pho with either lemonade or Thai ice tea ($15). I chose the summer pork roll freshly made with grilled pork, mango strips, lettuce, fresh herbs and a fried wonton skin all wrapped in fresh rice paper accompanied by chopped peanuts and hoisin sauce for dipping. Almost a meal in itself. Rosemary, my [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:16:56-04:00March 13th, 2020|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

A Time Warp: Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

Eisenberg Sandwich shop, open since 1929, was one of those places I'd heard about yet had never been. One morning after being NPO (medical lingo not eating anything) for my doctor's visit, I made a point of going there for breakfast. Outside the shop was a placard offering a $7.99 breakfast egg, cheese and bacon sandwich plus fruit or potato pancakes with coffee. I walked in thinking I had entered a time warp. The diner was empty other than two people at the long counter and a couple in the back room. I think they were regulars as I overheard their quite personal conversation with the staff. I ordered the [...]

By |2020-02-06T10:47:38-05:00March 11th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Aux Epices Restaurant, Tribeca, NYC + The Sickness

After being invited as media to The Sickness, I made a reservation at Aux Epices Restaurant as it was only a couple of blocks from where we were seeing the show. It's a narrow inviting restaurant with friendly service serving beer and wine. Cash only. Aux Epices means cooking with spice in French. The restaurant adheres to its namesake. The small order of BBQ spare ribs ( $8) contained three ribs well-coated in cumin-forward seasoning with the meat falling off the bone. The grilled (5) jumbo prawns come in a turmeric-ginger sauce served with a tall inverted cone of white rice ($20). I would have ordered differently had we realized [...]

Dim Sum in Hong Kong, Classic vs New-Age, A World of Difference

Dim Sum in Hong Kong comes in many forms, from the traditional with waitresses pushing carts that you simply point to what you want to much more contemporary with offerings filled with French classics like ratatouille and foie gras. We experienced both in our 36 hours discovering this modern city. Our first was at Maxime's Palace Dim Sum in Hong Kong City Hall that had been recommended to us by an ex-pat. It's reminiscent of Jing Fong restaurant in New York's Chinatown with Chinese-speaking uniformed waitresses pushing the carts past the white tablecloths tables in a huge room with windows next to the Hong Kong harbor. Like in NYC, you [...]

By |2020-01-27T07:55:58-05:00March 7th, 2020|World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

Gordo’s Cantina At Common Ground, Meat Packing District, NYC

After spending time at Apple's Genius Bar because of a small piece of metal stuck in the port not allowing me to charge my iPhone, I decided to get a quick bite to eat in the hood. I walked into Gordo's Cantina at Common Ground Bar as I had a hankering for Mexican food to find a lunch special of $10 for their enchiladas stuffed with shredded chicken, topped with shredded cheese and a well-spiced verde sauce plus an amazing cheese crisp on top! I was one of a handful of customers in the bar My enjoyment of my meal was disrupted by the pacing owner or genera manager (never [...]

By |2020-01-27T05:33:21-05:00March 5th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Lunch at Galae Restaurant After Chatting with Phra KK, a Buddist Monk

Our local guides Chintana Suwawan and her husband Poj from Window of Thailand introduced us to the Thai culture, Buddhist life and Lanna traditions before we boarded a bus to explore the city.  Our group of 12 on a Global Palate Adventures trip visited Temples of Chiang Mai and then chat with Phra KK, a Buddist Monk (a highlight of my time in Thailand!) about his life and Buddhism. Afterward, we drove to a restaurant located amidst their lush flower gardens. Since the outdoor space at Galae Restaurant was full, we ate inside with our group served family-style. Like at most other meals in Thailand, we ate chicken satay and Pad [...]

By |2020-01-24T08:09:15-05:00March 3rd, 2020|World, World Restaurants|0 Comments

Lunch at TBar Steak & Lounge, Upper East Side, NYC

I met a relative at TBar Steak & Lounge for lunch, as it's his favorite place to dine in his hood. I chose my meal from the bargain Restaurant-week menu ($26 for two courses), he ordered one of his favorites, the soba noodle salad ($23.00) with chicken in a miso vinaigrette. My lunch started with a retro iceberg salad. The thick slice of iceberg lettuce came topped with crisp bacon pieces, chunks of blue cheese and fresh tomatoes. I'd recommend. By the time my grilled Irish salmon (a tad overcooked) over shredded zucchini in a honey mustard dressing was served, I was already full. I took a doggy bag home, [...]

Surfside lunch at Splashes at Surf & Sand Hotel, Laguna Beach, CA

Some dear friends from LA offered to drive down to Laguna Beach to meet me for lunch while I was out in California visiting my son Eric's family.  My daughter-in-law Casey recommended Splashes at the Surf & Sand Hotel as the restaurant is right on the beach with views of the Pacific waves hitting the shore. That and I had read that Executive Chef, Ron Fougeray served up fresh seaside cuisine. While waiting for our lunch, we nibbled their fresh bread and homemade yummy sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade spread, being careful not to ruin our appetite by finishing it. My friends started with the rich tableside lobster bisque ($18). [...]

By |2020-01-02T17:06:03-05:00February 29th, 2020|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

A Return to Morso, Upper East Side, NYC

After eight years, I returned to Morso, Tuscan pioneer Pino Luongo's Mediterranean restaurant under the 59th Street Bridge, as their guest.  "Morso" is Italian for small bites, with most dishes offered either "Tutto" (regular sized) or "Morso" (a smaller bite, generally two -thirds the size of Tutto). What a fabulous option! Since we were sampling lots, we ordered all Morso portions with the kitchen dividing those for us. Prices in this post indicate both sizes when available. Our first taste was of their polpo alla griglia,  some of the most tender grilled octopus I've ever had (Yes, that good!) with arugula and roasted tomatoes ($22/30). Don't miss. Our salads were [...]

By |2020-02-07T11:01:49-05:00February 27th, 2020|NYC Best Bites, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Musical Brunch at Coco Pazzo, SoHo, NYC

There's nothing like a Sunday brunch with live music and good food. That's what my friend and I experienced recently at  Soho's Coco Pazzo as their guests. We so enjoyed the musician at the keyboard who played just loud enough to be enjoyable without drowning out our conversation. I started with their Dante, The Poet made with El Buho Mezcal, Campari, Solerno blood orange liqueur with Italian vermouth ($16) that packed a powerful bunch, while my guest enjoyed a Cranberry Squeeze Mocktail ($7) with juice, lemon soda and mint. We started with two salads, both of which I'd recommend. The blend of roasted ceci (chickpeas) and quinoa with over-dried cherry [...]

By |2020-03-01T11:40:14-05:00February 25th, 2020|NYC Best Bites, Theatre|0 Comments

In Times Square: Patricks Restaurant & Oyster Bar, NYC + A Soldier’s Play

What a find. Little did I know when I walked into Patricks Restaurant & Oyster Bar (in the space where Chevy’s Tex Mex was about a year ago) that I would have a memorable meal. This restaurant is from the Wetanson family, also owners of Dallas BBQ and Tony DiNapoli’s. Patricks is basically a pub on 42 street in Times Square just down the street from the American Airlines Theatre where we saw the hunky Blair Underwood in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Soldier's Play.  He walked to the center of the stage, breaking the fourth wall, to talk to the audience with his shirt wide open showing his six-pack as [...]

By |2020-02-23T10:44:33-05:00February 23rd, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

River Market Restaurant Chiang Mai Dinner with Global Palette Adventures, Thailand

The River Market Restaurant, overlooking the Iron Bridge, is just a quick walk towards the Ping River from Le Meridian Hotel where our group was staying. That's where we had our welcoming dinner with our group attending the Global Palette Adventures Chiang Mai trip. The restaurant serves substantial portions of Thai food at reasonable prices great for sharing. Our host Lowell ordered lots of apps for the dozen of us to share that included tender skewered chicken satay (4 for 185 THB*) with sliced cucumbers and a peanut sauce with just a bit of spice. The least exciting was the coriander-crusted seared tuna with green mango som tam with chive [...]

By |2020-02-25T12:53:21-05:00February 21st, 2020|World, World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

Grab a Drink at Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room, Gramercy-Flatiron, NY

After a board meeting, we went around the corner to grab a drink and a bite at Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room.  The noise level was almost deafening. Okay, that's a tad hyperbole! yet we almost had to scream to hear. We ordered Old Fashioneds ($14) and some sliders to share. While waiting for our Bourbon Street sliders (3 for $16), we noticed the enticing aroma from the oh-so-close table next to us. Our neighbors Owen and Steve offered us a taste of their apps of blistered shishito peppers ($13) dusted with Grana Padano and their crispy alligator ($16) bites along with some nicely spiced chili aioli. Our three sliders [...]

By |2020-03-01T11:31:52-05:00February 19th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Greek B-day Lunch at Korali Estiatorio

Korali Estiatorio is located on the Upper East Side, not too far from the Cooper Hewitt museum where we planned to meet first. We had planned a celebratory lunch for our friend Karen's birthday after seeing the current exhibition. Two of us skipped the exhibition yet we all met for lunch at this upscale Greek restaurant with white-washed walls and stonework reminiscent of Cretan Islands. We each had the $28 prixe fixe 3-course menu. I started with the Marouli salad a huge portion of chiffonade of romaine hearts, scallions, and feta cheese. They had the more classic Horiatiki salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, kalamata olives and a chunk of [...]

By |2020-01-08T09:15:31-05:00February 17th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Cuban Food and Music at Guantanamera After Theatre

I had read that I'd find some of the city’s best Cuban food at Guantanamera in the Theatre District served with live music at night. That seemed like a perfect place to meet some friends after their theatre matinee.  We arrived in time for their happy hour that offers $6 mojitos, caipirinhas and wines until 7 pm, but a bit too early for the live music that doesn't start until 9 pm. We sat at the bar drinking to get the discount pricing until our other friend arrived, then moved to a table and ordered the sauteéd Chorizo sausage with crisp plantain chips ($14) and the garlicky shrimp in a [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:15:09-05:00February 15th, 2020|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Overcooked BBQ at Blue Smoke, Financial District, NYC + Bombshell

After seeing  Bombshell, the Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie movie about Fox News Roger Ailes' (played by John Lithgow) sexual harassment at Battery Park theatre, we went for a bite to eat. Blue Smoke was convenient as it was literally around the corner from the theatre. I started with their tasty Oaxaca Old Fashioned ($16) made with Sombra mezcal, Herradura Reposado, agave and Angostura bitters chilled with one large ice cube. The three of us are dark meat-eaters requesting our half BBQ chicken that way ($16); it was the best of what we ordered. Our two half-orders of ribs, part Kansas City and part baby back ($17 each [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:16:52-05:00February 13th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments