Behind the Camera at Check, Please! Northwest
On June 7 I made my television debut as a guest on Check, Please! Northwest. Behind the scenes of Check, Please! Northwest at KCTS Channel 9 was like a new playground for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and found the workings of the studio fascinating – the various cameras, where to look and when, acting natural in a rather “unnatural” setting and being candid while all this activity is going on around you. The show’s premise is that three ordinary people recommend a restaurant, dine at the others’ choices and then get together to talk about their experiences. Anyone can apply to be a guest on the show as the premise of Check, Please! Northwest. After being selected to be a guest but before appearing on the show, you are given a couple of weeks to dine (anonymously!) at each of the three restaurants. Following each you rate your time at the restaurant and make notes of dishes you really enjoyed, the atmosphere, neighborhood, service and all the rest that goes into a dining experience. Show host Amy Pennington guides each guest through their experience on-air and compares their findings.
My pick for the show was Ray’s Boathouse, Cafe and Catering on Shilshole Bay. For me Ray’s is a feel good restaurant where I know the fish and shellfish (and other dishes) are going to be top quality each and every time. The view is spectacular, dramatic and totally Northwest. Dining in the Boathouse (the main floor dining room) is a very calming experience. Attention to detail and precision in service is combined with a warm and friendly staff. The wine list is extensive, heavily loaded with Northwest gems and many international selections. Wines by the glass are poured at the table and there are plenty offerings by the half bottle as well.
Ray’s is a place I have been frequenting since the late seventies. My first visits there were sitting up on the Ray’s Café deck in the sun playing Backgammon and drinking (dare I say) California Chardonnay. The restaurant is nearing a big birthday (40!) soon and there are many new things happening including a clever small plates menu created by Chef Wayne Johnson. Staying relevant in the ever-changing dining scene is a constant challenge for most restaurants as they age but Ray’s has managed to delight locals and tourists throughout the years.
The other restaurants included in the this episode were The Blackboard Bistro (a neighborhood bistro in West Seattle) and Bakeman’s (a no frills lunch cafeteria in Pioneer Square). Click here to see my thoughts on these two new (to me) restaurants.
Tune in to KCTS9, Thursdays at 7 p.m. to learn more about the fabulous dining scene in the Northwest. You’ll find places you already love and learn about hidden gems you’ve not heard of before.