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"Check, Please" on KQED - SF


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I just saw this yesterday. It looks like it is the first episode.

KQED "Check, Please"

The show is hosted by Leslie Sbrocco, from the SF Chronicle Wine section.

The panel consists of 3 regular people who each nominate their favorite restaurant.

The other two panelists then dine at the restaurant and on the show they all discuss their various impressions.

This week's restuarants were:

Old Krakow on West Portal

This restaurant was praised for it's relaxing ambiance, welcoming service and comforting traditional dishes. One panelist thought the cusine was not exciting.

Incanto on Church Street

Everyone loved this restaurant.

Hard Knox Cafe

2526 3rd Street (at 22nd Street)

(no website)

This one was interesting, a soul food place that is now being run by a young Vietnamese couple. They lived in Houston, that's where they learned to cook soul food and Cajun. This place was also praised by all the panelists.

During the discussion we see film of the restuarants and beautiful close-ups of the dishes.

This format has been running on PBS in other cities for a while. Should be interesting to see what places they cover next.

Has anyone applied to be on the show?

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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the chicago edition is hosted by alpana singh

its one of the best known-unknown shows

haven't applied to be on it yet, but know someone from work who has. they have a lottery type system and they try to match you on the type of restaurant and the amount of money you wish to spend.

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Thanks for posting on this. I accidentally caught the show on Thursday at 7:30 pm. From the weblink it looks like the showings are:

Thu at 7:30pm on KQED 9

Sat at 1:30pm on KQED 9

I thought the first show was pretty good and I learned of new resto: Hard Knox Cafe.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My wife and I caught the show this weekend, as well.

We thought the show was pretty well done. The diners certainly were well spoken and fair in their assessments.

I'd been curious about Hard Knox; but, parts of dogpatch/hunter's point/bayview can be a little dodgy, so I hadn't tried it yet. Will definitely be on the list, the next time I get a craving for Soul Food.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Does anyone know if it's possible to view this show online?

Hi Pan. I glanced at the link above and it looks like they have relatively complete reviews from each of the three diners. They may not be an exact transcript but the text looks pretty close to what I remembered hearing on the show. There are also menus and photos posted from some of the restaurants as well.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks for mentioning that the show transcripts are on line.

I liked:

The shots of the restaurant and food

The interviews with the reasaurant owners

However, I thought the show a little slow and the first group perhaps a little too well spoken, almost like those Saturday Night Live paradies on PBS.

What really annoyed me ... really annoyed me, was having people who have no familiarity with a specific cuisine, recommending a restaurant. As someone of Polish ancestry, I think that Old Krakow is a poor representation of Polish food. That comparison of the stuffed cabbage to haggis wasn't far off.

Not to mention Eileen doing a Russian accesnt during her interview. How politically correct would it have been to have someone doing a Chinese or other ethnic accent while describing dinner.

Here's my old eGullet post on Old Krakow: Old Krakow

The problem for me with Old Krakow is that people think that is representative of Polish food. It isn't. Bruce articulated that very well.

Actually the Bay Area has a WONDERFUL Polish restaurant in Walnut Creek called Chopin. Or for divine Eastern European pastries go to Crixa in Berkeley. It is Hungarian, but the idea is the same.

I think it would be more interesting when reviewing an ethnic restaurant to have the person of that particular ethnicity recommending it. They would have more knowledge and insight to the cuisine. Or at the very least, someone who eats a particular cuisine a lot and can tell a good restaurant from a bad one.

The other reviewers on the show could then react to how they feel about an autentic experience.

So, my view of the show is colored by this poor choice of restaurant and ill informed reviewer.

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What really annoyed me ... really annoyed me, was having people who have no familiarity with a specific cuisine, recommending a restaurant.  ... So, my view of the show is colored by this poor choice of restaurant and ill informed reviewer.

I've been hearing about this KQED program. One thing positive about any local TV restaurant show is the chance of learning about restaurants you didn't know about. CBS-5 (San Francisco) has been running novel restaurant features also, in the locally produced "Eye on the Bay" show. I saw an in-depth program there on "cheap eats" featuring notable good-value restaurants including one I knew (Hunan Chili in Mountain View). (The proprietress later told me she had customers coming in the door because of that show, within a few minutes of its airing on October 14.) More info under CBS5.com/eyeonthebay .

An amateur reviewer team has limitations, not always instantly obvious, from the consumer's perspective. Krys Stanley described an example above.

When KQED was recruiting people for this show a few months ago, a message appeared on the local Bay Area food newsgroup. The opportunity was described as a "chance to become famous." I responded

Thanks for posting the info.

>  Your chance to become famous.

(That appeal ought to attract just the kind of people we need to give us experienced, well-researched, useful, unpretentious restaurant commentary.  :-)  ...  Jon Carroll, where are you ...

In case anyone is curious and didn't see it before, that last reference is to SF Chron journalist Jon Carroll, who took over Charles McCabe's famous column in 1983 (I think it was) when McCabe died. Soon afterwards, Carroll described his experience editing New West magazine in the 1970s and the deluge of unsolicited applications from people offering themselves as restaurant critics, with all kinds of notions about what qualified them (and what perks they expected). He concluded from the experience that more or less every person alive regards themselves qualified to work as a restaurant critic. I call this Carroll's Law.

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Check Please!

Reviewed in Episode 2:

Lark Creek Inn

234 Magnolia Ave/

Larkspur, CA 94939

1550 Hyde Café and Wine Bar

1550 Hyde St. (at Pacific)

San Francisco, CA 94109

Everett & Jones BBQ

126 Broadway (at 2nd Street)

Oakland, CA 94617

There is a butterscotch pudding recipe from Lark Creek Inn posted also. Several of the reviewers had it at the restaurant and raved about it. It's on my list...

No surprise that everyone loved 1550 Hyde but there was a pretty mixed response to Everett and Jones, especially about the service.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Episode Three (links to more restaurant info and the text of the reviews)

Isa

Contemporary French

3324 Steiner Street (at Lombard)

San Francisco, CA 94123

415-567-9588

www.isarestaurant.com

recipe: Potato Wrapped Bluenose Sea Bass

review summary: “three thumbs up”

Antica Trattoria

Tuscan trattoria

2400 Polk Street (at Union)

San Francisco, CA 94109

415-928-5797

www.anticasf.com

recipe: Farro Bolognese

review summary: “three thumbs up”

Salang Pass

Afghan food

37462 Fremont Boulevard

Fremont, CA 94536

510-795-9200

Review summary: “three thumbs up”

I haven't been to any of these three. Is there agreement with the postive reviews given?

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I haven't been to any of these three.

From this program, Antica was the only one that would go on my "must visit" list.

In any case, whoever does the food photography does an amazing job.

I think it's nice that they try to do a mixture of restaurants and diners. To me, however, this episode was the least interesting group of diners so far. It seemed like they were all trying a little too hard to be agreeable.

If you live in San Francisco, you can get fine tasty Afghan food at Helmand restaurant on Broadway in North Beach. Weird trivia: The owner of Helmand is the brother of Afghan president, Hamid Karzi.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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