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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.

Ferris at MADE Hotel, Gramercy Flatiron

Our plan was to start at Good Behavior, the rooftop bar on the 18th floor of the Made Hotel for a drink but there was a private party. So instead, the helpful man in the lobby re-arranged the seating at the bar lounge so there was room for the two of us. We indulged in their unusual cocktails, ones I'd recommend. I sampled the La Bruja made with spicy mezcal, saffron and lemon, garnished with fresh red pepper ($16). My friend tried the Ninth Petal served up like a martini with a full glass container on ice containing more of the gin, white vermouth and jasmine ($16). Once it was [...]

By |2019-05-16T15:16:46-04:00July 10th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Dallas Churrasco Experience

By Bite of the Best regional correspondent, Stephanie Amsel We had no idea what to expect when we went to Fogo de Chão, Brazilian Steakhouse, to experience the Southern Brazilian Churrasco that included steak, lamb, pork and chicken. First, there was a lovely salad bar and immediately across from the salads was a plate piled with glistening, crispy bacon. The salads looked fresh and inviting, but the bacon looked amazing! Since this was our first visit, we needed to learn the house rules. Rule #1: Pace yourself You get a little card that is red on one side and green on the other. Keep the green card showing if you [...]

Super-Premium Gin Tasting Including the Indian Crafted Jaisalmer

This has been the year of super-premium gin, at least with the samples I've received to review.  The gins include McQueen and the Violet Fog, Brockman and the most recent Jaisalmer (pronounced jess-all-mur). McQueen (SRP $40), as I had written, is a complex non-juniper forward gin with a bit of heat, spice, herbal, citrus and herbal notes. Good on the rocks.  Brockman (SRP $40), too, is light on juniper with notes of citrus peel, coriander, blueberries and blackberries. It's made in the United Kingdom. Jaisalmer, the Indian craft gin takes its name from the Golden City, located in the NorthWest of India in the state of Rajasthan (SRP $50). It [...]

By |2019-07-07T12:20:01-04:00July 7th, 2019|Food & Drinks|0 Comments

A Return to Cosme, Gramercy Flatiron, NYC

My last visit to Cosme was close to perfection. Could still be as good? The folks who put together the "World's 50 Best" think so. Cosme came in 23rd, the highest U.S ranking on this controversial list. The prices are a bit steeper than my last visit. Mexican-born Daniela Soto-Innes, the chef, who won a James Beard Rising Star Award in 2016 at age 25, was just named the world’s best female chef at the ripe old age of 28. Lucky me, some friends took me for my birthday. I started with the Scoville sour, made with a choice of three heat levels of infused tequilas. This margarita-like drink was good, [...]

By |2019-08-15T12:59:27-04:00July 6th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Café D’Avignon Bakery For Lunch, Midtown, NYC

Café D’Avignon, known for their bakery products, recently opened their first standalone café in Midtown. I met their publicist there to try their fare. We sampled their freshly made pastries ($3.50 – $6), including the unusual baklava croissant and my favorite the croissant filled with almond paste. We also tried the spinach feta quiche ($8) topped with toasted almonds and a croissant sandwich filled with goat cheese, roasted tomato and spinach that I would have preferred on a baguette. I'd also recommend their breads. Café D'Avignon is a good place to stop in for a bite while shopping near Herald Square or to pick up some goodies to take home. [...]

By |2019-07-05T10:06:56-04:00July 4th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Book Group at Bistango at The Kimberly Hotel

Some book group members only have a pied-à-terre in the city, not large enough to host luncheons at their home so they opt for a prix fixe menu at some restaurant. That's how we ended up at Bistango at the Kimberley Hotel, discussing Michele Obama's autobiography, "Becoming," a book we all liked. I can't say as much for the meal other than their super attentive service. We all did the $24.95 prix fixe menu, starting with the plentiful arugula salad in a light lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Sadly the eggplant in the Parmigiana needed lots more time in the oven; we might not have noticed so much if the entree had [...]

By |2019-07-05T10:05:10-04:00July 2nd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Friedmans in Edison Hotel, Midtown + Ain’t Too Proud

We started our afternoon on Broadway with the life and times of the most successful group in Motown history, the Temptations. "Ain't Too Proud" had us dancing and singing in our seats. For a complete review, click here. After the show, we headed to Friedmans in the Edison Hotel, as I was invited to sample their fare. I started with a vodka martini with vermouth and orange bitters, while my dining companion had the Paper Plane with bourbon, Amaro Nonino and Aperol ($14 each). I'd recommend the latter. Their veggie potstickers (6 for $11) come drizzled with sriracha aioli and accompanied by a ginger soy dipping sauce. The meaty chicken [...]

By |2019-07-22T21:40:42-04:00June 30th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Trip to Harlem’s Tison Cafe for Ethiopian Food

I'm familiar with Ethiopian food as that was the culture I selected for a Culinary Arts graduate project at NYU. To serve for my presentation, I made all the foods from scratch, including the spicy doro wot (the berbere-seasoned chicken stew considered the national dish) and the injera (the sour, springy Ethiopian teff-based flatbread). I was flabbergasted that all other students brought in takeout for their projects! Knowing the cuisine, I was looking forward to a trip to Harlem's Tison Cafe for their  Ethiopian and other Mediterranean foods. I tried their Kafa Martini, their version of the espresso martini. Although the menu described it as made with vodka, coffee and [...]

By |2019-07-05T09:52:06-04:00June 28th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Dinner at Brazil, Brazil + God Shows Up

God Shows Up is a new play by Peter Filichia that opened off-Broadway recently at The Actor's Temple Theater. For a complete review, click here. It's a fun, controversial and irreverent show that asks, what happens when God chooses to drop in on his creation of Earth. I recommend it. For a complete review, click here. I don't recommend dining at Brazil, Brazil as we did only because of its proximity to the theatre on a rainy day. The service is fine, as are the caipirinhas - the Brazilian drink made with cachaça. We both had the spicy jalapeño one. The Salgadinho ($10), four small snacks with a savory filling, [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:01:28-04:00June 26th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Café Altro Paradiso, SoHo for Lunch

Knowing Café Altro Paradiso is from chef and owner Ignacio Mattos (Estela), I knew the food should be good. It was. I recently went to lunch with some friends on a day nice enough for outdoor dining. We started with salads. Two of us shared the thinly sliced fennel salad ($17) piled high over sliced Castelvetrano olives and provolone. The others shared tiny radicchio leaves filled with hazelnuts and crumbled gorgonzola flavored with anchovy ($19). I highly recommend both. Be sure to request the fabulous crusty sourdough bread, served with half each butter and balsamic-olive oil in a small round dish. I liked both their cacio e pepe ($20) made [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:50:59-04:00June 24th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Pressels Compared to Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps

Oddly when the person promoting these new Pressels emailed us, she knew nothing about  — nor seemed interested in learning about — the competition. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, a company that we've written about many times, also offers crunchy and flavorful crisps strong enough for dipping that are also lower in both sodium and fat than traditional pretzels, which is a claim made by Pressels. Specifically, one ounce (about 20 quarter-sized) of the everything variety Pressel  has 120 calories, 2 grams fat (of which 1 gram is saturated) and 210 milligrams sodium compared to the everything variety of Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps (of about eleven  2-x-2 1/2-inch crisps) that have [...]

By |2019-05-13T14:08:03-04:00June 22nd, 2019|Food & Drinks, Of Interest, Products|0 Comments

Brunch at the Renovated Wilfie & Nell, West Village, NYC

Wilfie & Nell, a 10-year West Village pub, prides itself in serving good drinks and locally sourced food. I started with the house spicy Bloody Mary ($7 with brunch) made with McClure's spicy pickle juice. My friend had a Negroni. Both were good, just as you'd expect from a bar. The unusual huevos rancheros  ($14) consisted of two sunny-side-up eggs,  sliced avocado and crisp corn tortillas over black beans all topped with a soupçon of salsa fresca and crema.  Although tasty, I prefer the dish made with soft corn tortillas that soak up the beans end egg yolks. My friend tried the pulled pork hash with a poached egg, sliced [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:39:36-04:00June 20th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Return to Jones Wood Foundry for their June Specials, UES

Jones Wood Foundry's monthly seasonal menus give me cause to return for a tasting now and then to this Upper East Side English pub with consistently good food. Each time I return, there are a few starters I must have as they're that good. Don't miss either the smooth and creamy chicken and duck livers to spread on toasted brioche ($17) and of course the irresistible humongous Yorkshire pudding (popover, $7). We also ate the seasonal gooey grilled Cheddar & Stilton sandwich with pickled jalapeños. It came with a small serving of chilled tomato soup ($12), which I found unnecessary. This grilled cheese teawich, as its called, was so successful [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:30:52-04:00June 18th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Wishbone at Le Soufflé, Paris

After peeking in Le Soufflé's window, seeing this quintessential Parisian place and checking out their incredible lunch deal, we mad a res and returned. We were headed elsewhere. Monday through Friday from noon until 2 pm, Le Soufflé offers a prixe-fixe €29 menu with a choice of starter, main course, dessert and a beverage that include wine. Although they offer meat and fish entrees, the main event here is the eponymous dish resulting from the addition of stiffly beaten egg whites to flavored egg-yolks. Le soufflé. We each had a savory one for the main dish and then a sweet one for dessert plus a green salad. To serve each, [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:40:43-04:00June 16th, 2019|World, World Restaurants|0 Comments

Hunky Dory in Crown Heights + Frida Kahlo Exhibit at Brooklyn Museum

I had been given the edict to find a place for lunch after going to an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Sadly by the time you read this, the amazingly interesting exhibit "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving" ended. This show was the first in the US to present a collection of her Tehuana clothing, pre-Colonial jewelry, and other personal objects — even her hand-painted corsets and the prosthetics she used. Hunkly Dory, a sustainable all-day cafe and bar, is about half a mile from the museum. It's the project of Claire Sprouse, whose experience includes Sunday in Brooklyn and ABV in SF. You order and pay for your food [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:25:08-04:00June 14th, 2019|Big Apple Life|3 Comments

The Newly Opened Barolo East, Midtown, NYC

Barolo East opened earlier this spring. I missed the opening party as I was out of the country so the publicist set up a tasting for me at this northern Italian restaurant. The 32-year-young chef Alessio Rossetti stopped by the table to meet me, mentioning that he had worked with my friends Tony and Marisa May at SD26 and San Domenico. On his recommendation, we sampled three of his housemade pasta. The fettuccine with Bolognese sauce ($19), the tender semolina gnocchi with mushrooms and Gorgonzola ($20) and the linguine with white clam sauce ($24). We cleared our palate with an arugula salad with Parmigiano  ($12), before being served the evening's [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:17:43-04:00June 12th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Lattanzi, Theatre District + Be More Chill

I was invited to meet some out-of-town friends at Lattanzi before theatre. It's is one of those theatre-row restaurants, close to the performance with mediocre food served elegantly. I do recommend the fried Jewish-style artichokes($18), a serving of three large tender ones in garlicky oil, but not the veal. One of us had the scaloppine piccata style and two of us, Marsala. Mine was overcooked, both the veal, potatoes and veggies with the sauce a bit gloppy. Be More Chill, is a show that's become a teenage cult, replete with screaming teens and young 20s. Although it was a bit too noisy for me, I'm glad I saw it.  For [...]

By |2019-06-10T00:39:18-04:00June 10th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Return to Becco + Tootsie

Becco is one of the theatre row restaurants skilled at turning over many tables to get patrons out on time for their curtain. We were seated in the front room, which my dining partner said is where they seat the all-women parties and older folks, like us. I hadn't noticed until it was brought to my attention. All three of us gobbled up Becco's version of the classic Caesar salad. My friend had the thin slices of grilled swordfish resting on a tasty spinach salad with batons of bacon, sugar snap peas, pickled ramps and roasted red peppers ($26). Her mom had the sautéed shrimp, scallops and other seafood broth [...]

By |2019-06-08T08:17:52-04:00June 8th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Azalea, Theatre District + Beetlejuice

My friend didn't want to be more than a block or two from the theatre. I found Azalea, less than a 5-minute walk, from the Winter Garden Theatre where we would be seeing Beetlejuice. We shared everything, starting with our pasta course, of their lasagne. We followed that with a spinach salad garnished with two sliced of spiced pears and a tiny escarole leaf filled with goat cheese and chopped tomato.  The best tasting  — what I'd suggest if you go  — was the tender and moist branzino fillet served with garden-fresh green beans and the mashed potatoes we requested. Perfectly prepared. Instead of dessert, we finished off with cappuccino [...]

By |2019-05-03T11:00:04-04:00June 6th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Make-Ahead Challah French Toast Casserole and Maple-Glazed Bacon

After attending an amazing brunch spread at Letty Gochberg's home, I requested her Challah French Toast casserole. This recipe is my version inspired by hers. It's a make-ahead dish — best done the night before serving — that just needs baking before company arrives. I served it at book group one evening along with some addictive Maple-Glazed Bacon.  I recommend for brunch or a light evening meal. Challah French Toast Casserole Butter for greasing the dish One 1-pound loaf challah, crust on, cut into 1-inch pieces 6 large eggs 3 cups half-and-half 1 cup milk 1/3 cup light brown sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 [...]

By |2019-05-24T10:32:54-04:00June 4th, 2019|Entrees, Recipes|2 Comments