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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.

Authentic Italian Restaurant Peasant, Lower East Side, NYC

Another restaurant critic mentioned Peasant on the Lower East Side as one of her favorite Italian places in the city. I had to try it. When I arrived and chatted with our knowledgeable waitress, I learned the 20-year-old restaurant serves an array of multi-regional authentic Italian dishes. While perusing the menu, we nibbled their crisp-crusted bread and whipped ricotta. Worth the calories. Next, the refreshing combo of diced colored beets, arugula, pistachio, fennel and red onion from this night's specials menu. A wonderful start to what would be a delicious meal in this rustic Italian restaurant. I was seated on a church pew bench along one of the exposed brick [...]

By |2019-07-07T10:49:11-04:00September 5th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Brunch at Grand Banks, Pier 25, Hudson River Park, NYC

One gorgeous sunny perfect day for dining on a boat, I did so. We had brunch at Grand Banks, the floating restaurant at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park from Executive Chef Kerry Heffernan. If you haven't been, his menu is built around sustainable, wild-caught seafood and seasonal produce. Check the weather before you go as you'll be dining aboard the historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker, to celebrate my friend's birthday. Because it's a wooden ship, no candle's allowed for birthday wishes! We started with cocktails (what else!). I had the spicy bloody Mary ($16.50) while my friend had the sweeter Tropicalia, vodka spiked watermelon, rhubarb and citrus juices ($16.50). [...]

By |2019-08-18T17:43:45-04:00September 3rd, 2019|Big Apple Life|1 Comment

A Return to Cafe Fiorello + Rolling Stone at LCT

Always love the antipasto bars at the Fireman Hospitality restaurants. If you haven't been to their places including Trattoria del Arte, Bond 45 and Cafe Fiorello, I suggest doing so. I returned one night before heading to Lincoln Center Theatre to see Rolling Stone, not a play I'd recommend. For a complete review, click here. We ordered the five antipasto selections for $25.75 that included the fried cauliflower Milanese (my favorite!), Sicilian eggplant caponata, fava beans with fava beans & ricotta, asparagus and roasted mushrooms with garlic and herbs. We also shared the jumbo lump crab & avocado salad with fresh fennel and orange supremes ($30.50). Refreshingly good. As de [...]

By |2019-09-01T08:26:16-04:00September 1st, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

A Fun Visit to The Spaniard, West Village, NYC

The Spaniard, a West Village bar, serves great food and strong drinks, offering over 100 types of whiskey. I thoroughly enjoyed dining at this fun place, sister bar to Wilfie & Nell. Their New York Old Fashioned ($16) is made with American brandy, bourbon, bitters, a slice of orange and delicious Amarena Toschi Italian black cherry. (So delicious my dining partner suggested buying some to serve over vanilla ice cream! Yes, that good.)  I had my first drink their way over crushed ice. I suggest ordering it instead with one large cube as I did the second time. Do not miss the charbroiled Watch Hill, Rhode Island oysters ($18) seasoned [...]

By |2019-09-01T09:13:09-04:00August 31st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, MI

We lucked out on our visit to Trattoria Stella an Italian restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan.  We were seated not in the dark dining area of what used to be the state mental hospital but at a quiet well-lit table in an arched walkway. (If you plan to go, ask for the arches when you make your res.) The char-grilled oh, so tender Spanish octopus tentacle with tomatoes, beans and orzo (although the menu said rice) is not to be missed. The documentary film Funke inspired our pasta dish of hand-rolled al dente cavatelli with a sausage and pork ragu with freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Interesting, isn't it, that the [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:08:36-04:00August 29th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Fraunces Tavern’s 300th Anniversary + Museum

When on an x-x-pat tour earlier this year with Kevin Draper one of the owners of the New York Historical Tours company, I learned about the Fraunces Tavern, which is a trademark of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York and is celebrating its 300th anniversary. The original building on Pearl Street was built in 1719 with this Colonial American Tavern operating since 1762, We booked lunch and planned a to visit the museum afterward. Although there are eight dining spaces, we were seated in an oak-paneled room with quaint furnishings and high eighteenth-century windows.  The menu is simple, with some old-world favorite including a chicken [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:15:41-04:00August 27th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Return to Harlem’s Red Rooster

On our way to a walking tour of Harlem, we stopped at Red Rooster for lunch. To start, we tried to order a bottle of bubbly rosè. I say tried as there was a mix up with the servers electronic ordering system. More than half an hour later the waitress found, opened and poured the bubbly into our glasses. Sadly after all that waiting, the rosè was at room temperature. We switched to a Sancerre ($75) that finally arrived after our food, not giving us enough time to be able to enjoy and finish the bottle before running off to our tour. Foodwise, we shared the shrimp with grits ($23) [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:17:44-04:00August 25th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|1 Comment

A Return to Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, Midtown + All My Sons

I expect prices to go up; I don't expect wine pours to go down. Four years ago when I stopped in at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar — the casual stylish wine bar from Le Bernardin's master sommelier — the lunch special was a selection of two courses for $14, add a wine selection for $11 more. Today that price is only $19 with the $11 wine pour only 3 — yes 3 ounces. We thought that was our taste to see whether we liked the wine. Do order the corn chowder ($9.50) — creamy from fingerling potatoes not dairy — that tasted like fresh summer corn. The roasted heirloom tomato [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:20:12-04:00August 23rd, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Dinner at Larimar, Spring Lake, NJ

There's an upscale place restaurant on Third Avenue in the beach town Spring Lake that I'd recommend you try. Both the food from Chef Anthony Palangi and service are quite good. Plus you get to bring your own wine with no corkage fee since they do not have a liquor license. I recommend the refreshing fresh summer strawberry salad with shaved fennel, fresh arugula, toasted almonds and chevrè came in a delicate champagne vinaigrette. Worth ordering. Their veal ragu over short twists (casarecce) of al dente pasta was a bit light on the meat although super-flavorful from olives and capers all dusted with shredded pecorino ($27). I also suggest the [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:21:32-04:00August 21st, 2019|USA Restaurants, USA Travel|0 Comments

Il Divo, Upper East Side, NYC

I discovered the cozy Il Divo on the Second Avenue at 71st Street when looking for a place to have lunch with a friend heading to Hospital for Special Surgery for an MRI. Like many other UES places, this one is quite pricey. We shared a salad that the menu described as mixed greens with roasted tomatoes and ricotta ($18), yet now that I'm writing about it I realize ours was missing the tomatoes and was all arugula (I was happy about that). Hidden at the bottom of that bowl was fresh pesto. We each followed that with an appetizer portion of tender and moist pan-seared octopus with white beans [...]

By |2019-08-19T12:06:50-04:00August 19th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Atoboy, A Korean Restaurant in NoMad, NYC

It's been a long time since I was blown away by a flavor combination of a dish. The combination of ingredients at Atoboy, a Korean restaurant in NoMad, did so almost from start to finish. Yes, that good. Junghyun Park, Atoboy’s chef, is the former Chef de Cuisine of Jungsik, a two Michelin starred NYC Korean restaurant. His wife Ellia Park, is the manager. This is an adventurous restaurant, serving unusual Korean-inspired shareable dishes. Atoboy has only a wine and beer license, so cocktails are made with Soju, a clear, colorless distilled Korean beverage. I was thoroughly surprised — and pleased — by their slightly spicy Jalapeño Rosso, with ginger [...]

By |2019-08-19T12:05:56-04:00August 17th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Bareli’s By the Sea, Spring Lake (NJ) in the Grand Victorian

Bareli's By the Sea is a fairly new restaurant with good food and service with ocean views from inside the Grand Victorian on Ocean Avenue in Spring Lake. Don't let the hostess's scowl put you off, the rest of the staff are warm and welcoming. I started with their Sinfully Spicy Margie. I was a bit worried about the muddled strawberries over-powering the drink. They didn't.  The drink had a nice spicy kick. I'd order again ($14)! We ordered from the "specials" menu that is so much more interesting than their regular one.  Enjoyed the refreshing chunks of watermelon and tomatoes sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles and fresh mint ($14).  [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:21:46-04:00August 15th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Jean-Georges’s new The Fulton, South Street Seaport

I somehow missed that Jean-Georges opened a new seafood restaurant at South Street Seaport. My friend knew about it as her millennial kids always know the latest hottest places. She took me for my birthday. We sat outside with a breath-taking view of the three lower island bridges — Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg. I sipped on an unusual Lemon Drop made with vodka and sprinkled with cinnamon. (I would have preferred a lighter hand on that aromatic spice.) If still available, don't miss the crispy soft shell crab. It's one large crispy one sitting in jalapeño–coriander salsa topped with purple radishes ($19). Also worth ordering is the fried fish salad [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:02:16-04:00August 13th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

A Return To Nur, Gramercy

I returned to Nur, the small 60-seat neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant with modern Middle Eastern cuisine from creative Chef Meir Adoni. I had to start with the two apps I had on my last visit as they were that good. Do not miss the large Israeli sesame bagel almost bigger than the plate, served with a lima bean messabaha ($15) seasoned with cumin and Bulgarian shipka peppers. Think: flavorful hummus. Also don't miss the artistically plated smoked fire-roasted eggplant carpaccio with raw tahini, pistachios and feta drizzled with rose water ($23). The seared lamb chops ($53) were cooked to perfection, pink inside served with a pumpkin spread and intensely flavored carrots [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:19:49-04:00August 11th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Jean-George son Cedric’s Wayan, Nolita, NYC

Was so looking forward to sampling Jean-George son Cedric Vongerichten’s first solo restaurant, Wayan.  I learned that in Balinese culture, there are four names based on birth order. Wayan is the name given to the first-born child. Cédric is JG's firstborn, hence the restaurant name. We both started with the Thorn of Jalisco cocktail ($14) made with blanco tequila, Cocchi Rosa, Thai chili and grapefruit juice. Oddly, my dining partner's drink was spicy; mine was not. Although the waiter said they were from the same batch, he did take one back to the bar for more spice. Do try the Jimbaran-style littleneck clams topped with soy, garlic and coconut topped [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:17:39-04:00August 9th, 2019|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Royal Siam Anago Sushi, Chelsea, NYC

After a board meeting, a few of us walked down to Eighth Avenue to get a bite to eat and to yak. They all wanted sushi. Not eating raw fish (which is what happens when you have degrees in Food Science), I instead ordered a Thai noodle dish ($12). It was not the typical bland Pad Thai, but a spicy noodle version called Pad Kee Mao. I asked for my flat noodles, sauteed basil leaves, scallions and chili with chicken. I'd go for that nicely flavored — but not very photogenic — dish again. The others said the salmon donburi rice bowl ($22), Naruto rainbow of cucumber wrapped avocado with [...]

By |2019-08-19T12:05:04-04:00August 7th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Looking for a Happy Hour? Try Le Colonial, Midtown, NYC

A friend was heading to theatre on 59th street and so suggested meeting for a drink during Happy Hour at Le Colonial on East 57th. The bar area is upstairs at this upscale (dark wood and red velvet chair) restaurant. During happy hour (5 to 8 pm) the classic cocktails, beer and wine are half price. Cocktails and wine are about $8, beer $5. I sampled their ”paper tiger” crafted cocktail served up, martini style, made with chili-infused vodka, cardamom syrup and lime. Quite good. When I go back, I will request a tad less sweetness. Only the drinks are half-price during happy hour. That said, when I return I'll [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:11:15-04:00August 5th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Fish & Chips at Salt & Battery, West Village

Mention fish & chips in the big apple and Salt & Battery is often mentioned in the same sentence as some of the city’s best.  I had to try it. I walked over to Greenwich Avenue to find a small storefront next to Tea & Sympathy, an English restaurant by the same owners.  Salt & Battery, designed mostly for takeout, does have some counter space and stools if you want to eat in as I did. There's also a wooden bench outside the window, to eat weather permitting. You have a choice of cod, haddock, sole or whiting offered in two sizes,   regular (4-ounce portion $6.95 - $7.95) and large [...]

By |2019-08-06T08:58:06-04:00August 3rd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Bocca in Flatiron, A Return

When I walked in, I realized that Bocca on 19th in the Flatiron District had been renovated. It's now more upscale and hip than it had been when I first visited. K, who began working only a couple of months before the renovation, welcomed us to our table and kept checking back to see whether we needed anything. We hadn't seen each other in years and didn't stop talking for over 3 hours. The restaurant was fine with that. We shared a nicely dressed (AKA not drowning) gem lettuce with market veggie salad ($11) and the rich pappardelle with braised lamb shank sprinkled with pecorino Romano ($20). A perfect amount [...]

By |2019-08-06T08:59:28-04:00August 1st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Brunch at Bowery Road in the Hyatt Near Union Square

Looking for a spot for brunch really close to Union Square, we ended up at Bowery Road in the Hyatt Hotel on 4th Avenue. I had been to that location before for jazz brunches when it was The Fourth. This was not like that restaurant had been. We started with their "Just a Real Good Bloody Mary," which was fine, nothing out of the ordinary. My friend had the Greenmarket Frittata ($16) described as made with spring peas, zucchini, tomato and fontina cheese. We laughed as my dining partner found one pea in her eggs and only a tomato garnish. My Huevos Rancheros ($16) was no better. The first time [...]

By |2019-05-30T11:43:02-04:00July 30th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments