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Check, Please! Bay Area Returns in January with New Episodes!

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Check, Please! Bay Area host Leslie Sbrocco joins three local guests on set to discuss local restaurants.
Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Alisa Baccam, Paul Henderson and Nipa Bhatt from KQED in San Francisco.

Looking to amp up your food game in 2024? Check, Please! Bay Area is back in January with new tasty recommendations for local restaurants you won’t want to miss! In each episode of this James Beard and Emmy Award-winning program, three residents join host Leslie Sbrocco to share their favorite local place to eat; after checking out each other’s spots, they join Sbrocco to discuss, debate and dish on their dining experiences. From fresh, nourishing Native American cuisine in Oakland to umami-filled Japanese-Italian fusion in Santa Clara, we’ve scoured the Bay for the best bites so you don’t have to. Check out seven new episodes, Thursdays beginning January 11 at 7:30pm on KQED 9.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect in the new year:

January 11

  • A taste of the exuberant Creole and Cajun flavors of New Orleans from shrimp po’ boys to seafood gumbo at Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe (San Francisco)
  • Comforting and unexpected umami-filled Japanese-Italian fusion, like Mentaiko mochi pizza, at La Casa Mia (Santa Clara)
  • Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan flavors from sizzling shrimp tandoor to delectable dal at Yak and Yeti Restaurant and Bar (Napa)

January 18

  • A rotating selection of seasonal pizzas and organic pastries baked daily at the worker-owned and operated neighborhood gem, Arizmendi Emeryville Bakery & Pizzeria (Emeryville)
  • Traditional Mexican dishes using fresh, carefully curated ingredients, including masa made in-house using the ancestral method of nixtamalization to treat the corn at LUNA Mexican Kitchen (Campbell)
  • Inventive sushi rolls with local and seasonal ingredients and traditional Izakaya favorites with an entirely vegan twist at Shizen (San Francisco)
  • “Cecilia Tries It” visits a weekly pop-up for local bites, artists, and entertainment at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market & Mercantile (San Francisco)

January 25

  • Flavorful and inventive Native American favorites like deer sticks and bison meatballs at Wahpepah’s Kitchen (Oakland)
  • An innovative selection of vegan Singaporean, Chinese and Italian-inspired small plates at Lion Dance Cafe (Oakland)
  • Vibrant, veggie-centric dishes inspired by the Gujarati cuisine of India in a modern and contemporary space at Besharam (San Francisco)

February 1

  • A tribute to mom-and-pop Hawaiian markets, including colorful shave ice and kalua pork at Diamond Head General Store (San Bruno)
  • Creative pizzas and shareable plates in a funky, maximalist Mission spot that aims to upcycle ingredients and reduce food waste at Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine (San Francisco)
  • Hearty plates of sausage, schnitzel and spaetzle, bringing the best of Oktoberfest vibes all year long, at Teske’s Germania Restaurant and Beer Garden (San Jose)

February 8

  • Reimagined Russian and other Eastern European dishes with Californian flair at Birch & Rye (San Francisco)
  • Southern classics crafted with quality ingredients alongside craft cocktails and a local selection of Californian wines at Easy Rider (Petaluma)
  • An intimate bakery with a focus on Asian flavors — from mochi bites, to musubi croissant mashups, to okonomiyaki danishes — at Bake Sum (Oakland)
  • “Cecilia Tries It” visits San Jose — home to the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam — for some eats, treats, and entertainment at Vietnam Town (San Jose)

February 15

  • Fragrant desi dishes with a focus on modern Indian and Pakistani favorites, from classic chicken tandoori to tikka chicken burgers at Kinara Fusion Kitchen (San Francisco)
  • Fresh pastas, savory flatbreads and other Italian favorites in a cozy, charming space — with origins in 1990s San Francisco — at It’s Italia (Half Moon Bay)
  • California-inspired seasonal Japanese omakase with French techniques at Delage (Oakland)

February 22

  • Modern Hawaiian vibes infused with retro arcade energy, serving up everything from pinball to pig melts and craft beer to chicken katsu curry at Outer Orbit (San Francisco)
  • A piece of Southern Italy’s pizzas and pastas, along with other delectable Calabrian culinary traditions at Piazza D’Angelo (Mill Valley)
  • A vibrant take on Californian cuisine, crafted with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients — along with an extensive wine selection and a breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline at Limewood Bar & Restaurant (Berkeley)
  • “Cecilia Tries It” visits a collection of vendors, food trucks, and live entertainment, taking place on the last Fridays of the month at Feast Mode (San Jose)

Don’t see your favorite restaurant on the list? There’s still time to tell us about your go-to spot; we’re accepting applications for our next batch of guests, and we want to hear from you! Nominate your can’t-miss picks and apply to be a guest now at kqed.org/checkplease/apply.


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