Starting off right!

By Carmen Schmidt |

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The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and Check, Please! is back for its 11th season of fantastic foodie fun!

To start off the season right, this week’s episode of Check, Please! begins with what many say is the most important meal of the day – breakfast! Reviewer Marilyn loves breakfast and recommends Meli Café & Juice Bar for anyone who loves a good omelet, frittata, breakfast cocktail, or crispy strip of bacon. I say – who doesn’t love bacon?! Breakfast, brunch and yes, “Binner” are my favorite, especially when done right. The eggs have to be fluffy, the pancakes must be buttermilk, and if I order a waffle (which I usually do) it has to have a light crunch on the outside and a soft center. And don’t forget the strawberries and whipped cream! Yes I said it, fresh, homemade whipped cream! You can always have a light salad for lunch to make up for it. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)

No really, breakfast in the morning is a good thing. Lots of people skip breakfast because they are in a hurry, they’re too busy, or think that they are controlling their weight by skipping that extra meal in the day. But there is a lot of information out there saying that breakfast is a very important meal for your body, your brain, and your weight control. For example, Mayo Clinic Nutritionist, Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD suggests you may be more active after eating breakfast because your body has more energy. She also says that by reducing your hunger, you are more likely to make healthy food choices throughout the day. That means more fruits and vegetables, rather than the quick visit to the vending machine for something salty or sweet. Nutritionists would probably not recommend my waffles with whipped cream but, instead, something with low-fat proteins and dairy products or that is higher in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. You may even find that you can think more clearly because a healthy breakfast makes your brain happy too.

But enough about breakfast. Our reviewer Steve wants you to wear your stretchy pants and enjoy the hearty, authentic German cuisine prepared by Chef Wolfgang Beyer at Schnitzel Platz. You may actually have to skip breakfast to have enough room for dinner here. If you’ve been craving schwine braten, sauerbraten, frikadelle, spätzle, knodel, or the popular schnitzel, this is the place for you. Better yet, if you can pronounce or tell me what any of these dishes are, then make your plans to go there now!

Speaking of cravings, we have added a little something new to this season’s Check, Please! We call it the “Crave.” In this short segment of the show we’re going to give you a sneak-peek at what happens behind-the-scenes when we are taping those great food shots at the chosen restaurants. You know those shots of delicious food that include a hand coming in with a fork or spoon? Well, that’s actually the Executive Producer! And, yes, he actually gets to taste those scrumptious little bites! So now you’ll not only see a dish we think you’ll crave, but you get to hear our producer and crew “oohing” and “ahhing” over the taste! It borderlines on torture, I know...

Are you feeling like treating yourself and a partner for what next-up Bridget says is the “perfect meal”? Bridget’s suggestion is the prix fixe menu at Sprout in Lincoln Park. I happen to like the prix fixe format. You let the chef choreograph your experience. As a flavor expert, the chef knows what goes together and has a vision for your taste buds. It forces me to break free of my “usual” order and enjoy palette pleasing surprises along the way. And based on what our reviewers had to say, Sprout’s menu is a delight.

We’re off to a great start! Keep watching our new season and happy eating!

Carmen M. Schmidt
Associate Producer, Check, Please!

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