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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Great value at Buco Pizzeria + Vino BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2016

Buco Pizzeria + Vino Shops at Boudreau Boudreau Rd. + Bellerose Dr. St. Albert 780-569-2826 bucopizzeria.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (later on weekends) Seven days a week Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $50 It is a joy to experience a top-notch, reasonably priced restaurant – offering champagne quality at beer-tap prices. But of course: Buco Pizzeria + Vino in St. Albert is the latest offering from the Rago family’s Sorrentino Group of restaurants. The family, headed up by Carmelo and Stella Rago, have been opening restaurants in Metropolitan Edmonton some 40 years. Their down home style, upgraded by flair and fashion, has been expressed through the original Sorrento, all the Sorrentino’s Italian restaurants, Caffe Sorrentino, Bistecca, sports bars and the occasional pub. With the Rago’s three sons slowly taking over the show, it’s no surprise a new ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: HUMA Mexican Comfort's food just so-so BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016

HUMA Mexican Comfort 9880 63 Ave. 780-433-9229 humamexicanrestaurant.ca 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. , closed Mondays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $50 The atmosphere is authentic, the decorations and the menu truly reflect the down-home Mexican heritage of the mom and pop owners, now 10 years in Edmonton. The servers are charming. Ours was a second-generation Latino-Canadian, who knew the cuisine and was confident in her recommendations. Prices are very good. One person can eat well for $20. It’s just too bad that the food at HUMA Mexican Comfort, overall, is so-so. HUMA shares a commercial strip that bends around the northeast corner of 63rd Avenue and 99th Street. It’s charming, done up in bright Mexican colours, with lots of old-fashioned tables and chairs. On a cold Thursday evening, it was surprisingly busy. The HUMA menu is big, probably too big, with five pages of app ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Try the Prairie Noodle Shop for great ramen BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 05, 2016

Prairienoodleshop.ca (No reservations) Tues-Sat. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $50 If you build it, and build it right, they will come. Since the Prairie Noodle Shop opened four weeks ago, it has seen line-ups. Line-ups at 11 a.m. on a cold mid-week morning, line-ups at 5 p.m. before it re-opens for dinner, half-hour to 45 minute waits until a table opens up in the modern but cozy and bustling 32-seat ramen house. It’s about smart social-media marketing/messaging and an informal, welcoming décor. Until the next trendy, well-executed casual restaurant opens, The Prairie Noodle Shop is the current must-go eatery in town. But none of the above would amount to a hill of noodles, unless the food is bang-on. You can have all the social media in the world, but, in the end, a restaurant’s r ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Where to eat in 2016 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2015

Don't you just hate it when people answer a simple, direct question with "it depends"? "Can you recommend a good restaurant?" Now there's a simple question often put to this restaurant critic, who, for review purposes, dines out at least once a week. But "¦ it depends! In the interest of "it depends," here are the Weekly Dish's socio-demographic-economic recommendations of where you might want to dine out in 2016. You want to impress him/her, you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket, you want the linen, the Downton Abbey cutlery, no background noise and a thoroughly professional waiter: The Hardware Grill, Characters, The Harvest Room (Hotel Macdonald), Ruth's Chris, Violino, Solstice Seasonal, Sorrentino's Downtown, Madison's. You want to impress her/him, you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket, but you want something a little more casual: Corso 32, Sabor, RGE RD, Woodwork, Vivo, Gini's, Red Ox Inn, Normand's, XIX, Bistecca, Cibo, Black Pearl, Wildflower Grill, The Marc. You w ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Food memories of 2015 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2015

If a downside exists in the restaurant reviewing business, it’s the lack of time and budget to return to enjoyable dining spots, to eat for the sheer joy of eating rather than with pen in hand and camera at the ready. So these memorable Meals of 2015 are, of necessity, mostly based on one-time visits to an astounding variety of restaurants in our city. I can say — as far as I am aware — that I eat what you eat. As a reviewer, I seek anonymity. Reservations are made under other names, I pay what you pay. The only exception is attending showcase dinners to which all members of the city’s food-reviewing community are invited. I also keep my distance from restaurant chefs, owners and charming maître d’s. Nothing destroys objectivity as quickly as friendship. From their blogs, it’s so easy to tell the food writers on the free-dinner circuit, or those in tight with certain chefs. They like everything, criticize nothing. Memories of 2015 … The Hot Dog R ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: You wanna open a restaurant BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2015

So you want to open a restaurant. You, and a thousand other dudes, all sitting around half-hammered on a Friday night, waving your beers and being enthralled by the BEST FOOD CONCEPT EVER! Ryan Heit, Craig Milne, Jeff Morton, Arden Tse and Terry Wong, however, went and did it. Their very hip Prairie Noodle Shop opened for business this past week … after 2½ years of preparation. Here’s their story. Phase I, The Concept: In mid-2013, nine friends who were connected through the University of Alberta’s MBA (Master of Business Administration) program began meeting regularly, just to think about business ideas. “We all wanted to start something,” says partner Ryan Heit, “but what?” Arden Tse and Terry Wong, both experienced restaurant managers, brought the idea of a Japanese-style ramen noodle shop to the group. “We held a ramen tasting party,” says Ryan. “We all liked the idea, but it was a $450,000 investment. And, being MBA stu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: A Taverna fills a gaping hole left in Edmonton’s ethnic dining scene BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2015

A Taverna 12118-90 St. NW 780-471-1717 Tues. to Thurs – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat. – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $40; loaded, $90 A gaping hole was left in Edmonton’s ethnic dining scene a few years back, when Jack and Maria Nobre closed Spago Portuguese Restaurant (after some 20 years) to retire to  Portugal. This is not to slight Sabor downtown, one of the city’s most elegant restaurants. But Sabor’s Portuguese dishes are very contemporary. For years there’s been no “traditional” Portuguese restaurant of note. A Taverna fills the gap. In the traditional ethnic restaurant territory on or near 118 Avenue east of 97 Street, chef Elza Silva stays faithful to her mother’s Portuguese recipes while her husband Fernando Silvado handles the front end of the restaurant ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks`Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods challenge a success BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2015

For three weeks, with Garner Andrews (Sonic FM), J’Lyn Nye (CHED), Gillian Foote (The Bear), Chris Sheetz (CISN), Matt DeBeurs (CISN), Matt Chalut (The Bounce), Liann Cameron (The Bounce), Ashley Sexsmith (Kula Klips), publicist Donna Zazulak, Wendy Mueller, Deb Jakubec (Canadian Diabetes Association) nd Chris Reeve (Edmonton Child Magazine), I have stayed within a carefully designed, 1,800 calories-a-day nutrition program with all the food (three meals and two snacks a day) coming from the Fresh Fit Foods’ kitchen. As part of the Media Challenge, thanks to Fresh Fit’s sister company World Health, we have all had three sessions per week with a personal trainer. I’ve been exercising an hour a day, six days a week, be it in the gym (resistance), running or biking (cardio) or yoga (stretching). It’s safe to say the results and the attitude adjustments have been an eye-opener. Those endless messages about eating a big breakfast, avoiding sugar and deep-fried food, eating lea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods Challenge, Week 2 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2015

Nobody said the Fresh Fit Foods’ intensive three-week nutrition and exercise “re-set” would be easy. The first four days of the 21 Day Media Challenge, in which I am a participant, were euphoric. Last Thursday, my body hummed with health, as if cleansed by the re-portioned, pre-cooked Fresh Fit individual meals that feature proteins, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and fresh veggies. I wasn’t feeling hungry at all. World Health personal trainer Jessi Zelinsky is pushing me in exercise sessions and my body loves it. Exercise is highly recommended as part of the 21 Day Challenge. Fresh Fit Foods is a sister company to the World Health gym group. But then, just as Fresh Fit Foods’ nutritionist Laura Swan had warned me, over the weekend a few hours of hunger set in. This is natural, she said. With an accelerated six-day-a-week program of running, resistance training and yoga, my calorie burn-rate has been greater than the carefully constructed 1,800 calories per day I am ... Read the rest of entry »

Graham Hicks jumps into Fresh Fit Foods' 21 Day Challenge BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2015

To review restaurants on a weekly basis is, yes, a dream assignment. Any whining -having to eat out, tiring of rich foods -would be silly in the extreme. But my weight has sneaking up -from 155 pounds a few years back, to 160, to 165, and, as of Monday, 169 pounds. At 5 foot, 5 inches, I'm porky. My clothes still fit, but the gut is hanging over the belt. So when Fresh Fit Foods invited local media personalities to participate in its 21 Day Challenge, I jumped at the chance. BOLD BUSINESS Fresh Fit Foods is a bold business venture by World Health Club owner David Hardy and partners, a bet that Edmontonians want to be pro-active about their health, that in this deep-fryer world of cream, cheese, fats and sugars here, there and everywhere, we need not look and feel like blimps. From a commercial kitchen beside the Glenora World Health club, Fresh Fit Foods produces individual meals and snacks that can be purchased on-line and picked up at any of the 10 World Health clubs in Metro Edmonton. The ... Read the rest of entry »
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