We check out Check, Please! choices in dining
by Catherina Silva and Alexander Quebec
Traffic and the struggle to find parking in San Francisco is par for the course in the City by the Bay. Still, after paying quite a bit of money (gas and bridge fare), and making sure my partner in crime was going to come through for me I made my way to the Design District of San Francisco, a place filled with high end furniture stores and home accents for the house in the Bay Area I will never be able to buy on my own (but I digress). My destination was the American Design Center, and for one night, the focus would be off the kitchen design elements and on what gets made inside of it: the food.
The American Design Center in San Francisco went from a showcase of innovative interior decor to one of culinary delights during the annual Check, Please! Bay Area Taste & Sip 2019 event held on Tuesday, May 14th. Over 50 restaurants, wineries, and other food vendors served samples of their most popular menu items and latest offerings.
So, you’re one of the many people who may or may not have any clue what the show Check, Please! Bay Area is. To give you a short synopsis, three guests make their recommendations of their favorite place to try out by the other two, who then pay a visit and review the suggested restaurant.
At the event, cuisines of all kinds made an appearance: from American BBQ to Swedish, Italian, Thai, Mexican, and to just about every major international cuisine there is available to try. Many, if not all of these places were invited as guests for the event, and many of them were featured on TV as picks by guests who were on the show.
Catherina and I waited in line to get in, as one of the first few allowed to go into the event (I had arrived there super early to beat the traffic). We waited with our fellow epicureans who came way more prepared than we did (they had brought their own wine glasses and serving plates).
Once inside, we made our way to several different vendors, first up was Los Moles, based out of 3 locations, on the first floor. Their various moles samples included a bit of seasoned rice, and the standouts were the Mole Habanero and the Mole Verde, both cooked and seasoned well.
On the next floor, Plaj, a Swedish restaurant based in San Francisco, offered a fresh salmon in a pastry cup. The flavor profile of the sample was so delicate and yet so distinguishable to the cuisine, a truly elevated taste. On display was an altar to carbs, a showcase of various breads from Sweden. This goes to show that Swedish cuisine is more than just cheap meatballs from IKEA.
Next to Plaj was the San Jose local Adega. The crowd around their booth was insane, this was a Michelin star restaurant, after all, located in what most people outside of San Jose consider the cuts. Chefs present there were engaging with the crowd, and offering a popular Portuguese treat: pastéis de nata. I literally had to dodge a few people to get one from the table, but the little custard was creamy and had a hint of cinnamon.
Out of the myriad booths at this event, other standouts were Bobo’s Steakhouse (SF), Thirsty Bear (SF, sample pictured), Moss Beach Distillery (this booth had a decadent, well-prepared clam chowder, worth the trip!), Cliff House (SF staple), and Tsar Nicoulai caviar (which was served on a Pringle interestingly enough) to name a few.
Some wineries from around California were present such as Berryessa Gap Vineyards and Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, both with excellent samples of rosés, pinot noirs, chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs. A winery from New Zealand called Sacred Hill also had memorable pinot noirs and Sauvignon Blancs available for tasting. Overall, this event gives an adventurous palate a chance to try many cuisines and flavors under one roof, all while being cheered on by Check, Please! Bay Area’s Leslie Sbrocco to enjoy the wine.
If you’re looking to try a whole bunch of restaurants out in a fun and casual setting, this event is one you don’t want to miss. The representatives of each of the restaurants we talked to were more than happy to tell a little about themselves and what they have to offer. For $85 bucks a ticket, this is a great way to try out a whole bunch of restaurants without having to go to each and every single one of them: if you like what you try out at the event, chances are you’ll love them when you finally decide to make a visit. Dining around the Bay Area is quite expensive and time-consuming, this event is the best place to try the best of the best all at once.
To learn more, check out Check Please! Bay Area’s Facebook Page for more information. You can also check out their website for more recommendations and to find out when events and happenings are going to take place.