Aren't the portions always big?

By Carmen Schmidt |

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So, who doesn't like chocolate?! It's a common biological need. Or at least that's my take on the subject. I mean when the next episode features a restaurant called Hot Chocolate, how can you go wrong?

The morning we were set to work on the show, I stopped by the local coffee shop and picked-up a few cups of gourmet Hot Chocolate and croissants to go, and brought them to the crew. It was going to be unbearable sitting there watching decadent chocolate desserts on screen without having some chocolate to enjoy. Needless to say, I was very popular that day.

Okay, so Hot Chocolate is not just a dessert bar. Our guests said the food was good too, but the desserts really made the meal special. Donielle, our guest reviewer who recommended Hot Chocolate, was a hoot. I love to see guests who are passionate about their favorite restaurants. They bring so much energy and levity to the conversation. I would have liked to join her on her mission to discover the best dessert in Chicago. That is definitely a task I could sink my teeth into.

This week's episode also features a restaurant with a mission that goes beyond satisfying your culinary palette. Along with serving a unique menu of delicious dishes, Café Too serves a community need. Young people and people looking to better their life situations find much more than a job washing dishes at Café Too. They are given the opportunity to hone their skills in the restaurant industry. When you eat at this restaurant you become a part of so much more and, like our reviewer Yana said, it feeds the soul.

We're serving up a sizeable segment of Italian cuisine on this episode as well. I hope you're hungry because our reviewer Donielle says the portions are huge! But it's Italian food. Aren't the portions always big? Anyway, all of our guest reviewers agreed that if you visit Giacomo's in Des Plaines, bring a hefty appetite. What surprised me is that Yana, the guest reviewer who lived in Italy and recommended Giacomo's, complained earlier in the show about the heavy portions at Hot Chocolate leaving her no room for dessert. Yana, you made room for those hefty Italian dishes, I think you can find room for a chocolaty dessert – that's just my opinion.

I'll leave you this week with a behind-the-scenes story. As you know from prior posts, the show is in High-Definition this season. And as you also probably know, even the smallest of details on a person's face or on a TV set are magnified tenfold when viewed in HD. Well, under the hot studio lights and thrust in front of studio cameras, most people perspire just a bit when they are being filmed. And the folks on the Check, Please! set – behind and in front of the camera – are no exception. The problem is that delicious food and sweat droplets don't mix, and so...enter powder-puff! Like I told our Executive Producer, David Manilow earlier this week, Howdy-Doody didn't have these problems. We all loved him on our grainy black and white sets. He probably had a bunch of knicks and dents on that wooden head of his, and we were none the wiser! Ah, progress...

Carmen M. Schmidt
Associate Producer, Check, Please!
WTTW