I love food – I mean, who doesn’t? I love myself a great slice of brick oven pizza, a great brick of chocolate cake, a few good fries, haha – the varieties of foods that please my palette are countless and varied! Here are some of my latest dining experiences that I’ve checked off my list (I have a literal running Evernote list of restaurants on my phone that I consult and cross off from!) Enjoy! SRO Pizza Speakeasy: This place is just a cool experience, as all speakeasies are! There are no “walk-ins” to this place because in order to enter, you have to go to the back of an existing restaurant where someone will press a button for you and leave you standing outside of a nondescript door. Once someone opens, you are then ushered into an intimate candlelit restaurant where the brick oven is visible and roaring. Aren’t you enticed already? Of course, the food must hold up in order for you to make the leap. Well, it does – I won’t say it’s mind-blowing, but it’s good and paired with the experience, worth a visit! I kicked things off with the Burrata appetizer. I had always wanted to try burrata, only understanding it to be a creamy cheese, but not knowing much else. Well, it certainly was creamy and light and perfectly paired with the basil and cherry tomatoes served alongside it. The combination reminded me of a Caprese salad, but taken to the next level! For our pizzas, I dug into a Houston Street Pizza which isn’t exactly the picture below, but the closest I could find…haha! It was very good coming straight out of the oven. My friend ordered the Montanara and it was his first time trying fried pizza dough and brick oven pizza at that and he really enjoyed it! He finished his entire pie, so that counts for something – although being from Ohio might offset that….anyways… Dessert was Nutella Pizza, which was delicious straight outta the oven, but in my opinion has to be eaten quickly as it doesn’t stay that way. I took half of it home and heated it for a delicious bite that night! The verdict for SRO Pizza Speakeasy is to definitely go and get the pre-fixe if you want the best value. Be sure to go hungry and don’t hesitate to take something home. It’s a delicious, leisurely, & unique dining experience! the Mermaid Inn: This place is most famous for it’s daily happy hour. That is: daily, including weekends, and from 5-7pm without fail. In turn, without fail, a line begins to build around 4:30 as people await the Inn’s opening. They open at Happy Hour and then usher in the line, promptly filling the restaurant – ti’s fascinating! I had only planned on ordering a dozen oysters for $12 and calling it a day, but that also came with these delicious flatbreads and the sign of a restaurant after my own heart – a complimentary chocolate pudding dessert! It was the perfect end to a perfect casual outdoor upper west side dining experience. Definitely go here during happy hour and you might run into me like I ran into my friends – regulars at this spot (who recommend the fried clam sliders, btw) Good Enough to Eat: This place is always packed and seems to be one of the most happening brunch spots on the UWS. I remember turning down a 40-minute wait once and finally had the excuse and motivation to try again during an out-of-town friend’s visit. It was a rainy day and that seemed to thin out the crowd so we jumped on line with only 3 parties ahead of us. After a painless 15 minutes, we were the “next two” and promptly scurried to our tables! I ordered the Provencal Omelette which came with some very exciting biscuits (biscuits are exiting by nature, no?!) and had about one refill of coffee. The experience was great and I’m glad that I finally got to try this place out. They have a pretty famous dessert case, so that might be a fun adventure one night as well – although I’d probably opt for Peace Food’s all-vegan dessert case just for my peace of mind – haha! The Verdict: I wouldn’t wait 40 minutes for this food, but if the wait is short, jump in line, you won’t be disappointed. B Side Pizza Bar: This is an incredible gem of a pizza place that had my jaw dropping as soon as I walked by one day. I just needed an excuse to go – well, I’ve since gone three times and every time, it’s been fulfilling. The first time, I got the Oscar the Grouch – I had already been drooling over it via Yelp pictures, so I sat down and promptly ordered one for myself and a girlfriend – it was ah-mah-zing – the crunch of the kale, the greens and the cheese – just all very very good. The second time, I went for my favorite style of pizza – white cheese, no sauce, the closest that I could get to that. They pulled together a Carbonara combination for me and it also was very very good. I love the slicing of the pizza – they cut it up into squares for really easy eating – the open kitchen allows you to follow your food from assembly to baking straight to your plate. I am ready to go again and try their avocado salad and another type of pizza! The verdict: You can’t go wrong with this spot, so just roll up and order a pie to split if you’re not so hungry or get a personal pie if you’re eating with a hungry man or just want more variety. They’ve got nice take-out containers (plastic lidded) so you that’s not a problem! Don Antonio’s Pizza: This is another spot where you can get the famous “fried pizza” and it really does look pretty amazing, I mean, look! I have been here twice and have enjoyed the pizza, the sophisticated decor, and the reasonable prices. They actually have a hard-to-believe lunch special where you can get an 8 inch pie for under $10 – now THAT is worth checking out! This is another winning pizza joint – head over! Tenth Ave CookShop: So, I have been hearing about this place over and over again as well. The wait is typically extensive, so it’s probably a great idea that it’s near the Highline for time-killing. Luckily, I went for an early dinner one night and there was zero wait so expectations were eased up right off the bat! Well, the bread basket was varied (always judge a restaurant by its bread basket!), the food was delicious and the decor was amazing! I want to go back for brunch and brave those lines (for oatmeal brûlée, I would!) I heard that their biscuits are amazing and their pumpkin monkey bread looks out of this world. This place is definitely sophisticated and eclectic, yet approachable with its menu – I love what they’re doing. So, I’ll be back, as you should as well!