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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

WEEKLY DISH: The Almanac offers winning formula on Whyte BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2017

The Almanac:  10351 82 Ave. NW 780-760-4567 Website: almanaconwhyte.com Twitter: @almanaconwhyte Hours: Sun. to Thurs. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. to Sat. 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Closed Mondays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $30; loaded, $60Know yourself. And know your audience. by Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com hicksbiz.com @hicksbiz The Almanac on Whyte Avenue is owned and operated by the same partners that two years ago opened the Solstice Seasonal Cuisine on 124 Street. But customers at the 124th Street establishment are a different kettle of fish compared to Whyte Avenue clientele. Solstice is a destination, a full evening built around breaking bread. Solstice attracts a 40+ audience whose nightclubbing days are long behind them. Three hours of multi-course dining, good conversation and good wine constitutes a fine evening out. Know your audience. The Alma ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Northern Chicken + Popeyes - two takes on fried chicken BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JANUARY 03, 2017

Northern Chicken 10704 124 St. 780-756-2239 northernchickenyeg.com 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday Closed Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday to Sunday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $15; loaded, $30   Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 3773 17 St. NW popeyeschicken.ca  Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $15; loaded $25   A tale of two fried chicken joints – as different from each other as different can be, but both making darned good fried chicken! Northern Chicken, located on 124 Street’s restaurant row, is as trendy as down-home trendiness can be. Three big boys with obligatory mountain-man beards, ball caps and aprons man the open kitchen and the cash counter. There are picnic tables at the front, funky plastic red chairs inside, hipster art on the walls among scatte ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Food memories that stick out from 2016 restaurant reviews. BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2016

This was the year when KFC evolved from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Korean Fried Chicken. “Izakaya” was incorporated into the every-day language of Edmonton dining. Sandwiches became more and more interesting. Tapas and small plates became the norm. Octopus, squid, mussels and clams moved into the mainstream, even though lots of prairie folk remain wary. BBQ The $100 Game-Day platter at Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus on 118th Avenue is piled high with the best of smoked BBQ meats, easily feeding eight. Bison Von’s braised bison short ribs, bison that for once is rich and moist with a cherry molasses sauce. Burgers The BBQ Crunch at Jack’s Burger Shack in St. Albert, with its magnificently seared monster patty, home-made orange soda BBQ sauce, and potato chips in the burger for crunch. A nod for McDonald’s for its new, Create Your Taste “custom” burgers – except there’s no more McDonald’s cost advantage. Charcuterie Past th ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Edmonton’s leading-edge dining scene BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016

For years and years, snotty socialites would complain about the Edmonton dining and cultural scene. It was soooo backward here, dahling, compared to that wonderful Toronto or fabulous New York City. Even Calgary was better than plain ol’Edmonton. It drove me nuts – you’d reel off 10 excellent restaurants, they’d not been to one. You’d name 10 recent theatrical productions in this theatre-rich town, and they’d not seen one. They’d not bothered with the symphony or to visit the art gallery. No matter. We were just … backward. The best news of the past year: That complaint is gone! The opposite has happened. Fancy national magazines now send out writers from Toronto to chronicle Edmonton’s leading-edge dining scene. I don’t care if Edmonton is ahead or behind the times. I just live here and thoroughly enjoy what my city has to offer in a staggering array of dining-out options. The number of new, informal, high-quality bistros continues t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Opposite but two great places to eat BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016

Bodega Highlands 6509 112 Ave. 780-757-0137 bodegahighlands.ca 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fri/Sat) Closed Sundays (No reservations outside of groups) Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $30; loaded, $60   Red Goose Restaurant 9625 66 Ave. 780-435-8661 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sundays Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Lunch for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $10; loaded $24   While as opposite as opposite can be, Bodega Highlands and Red Goose are two terrific places to go eat. Highlands is charming in an upscale, informal, old-fashioned way — as if you’ve wandered into a tapas bar in Lisbon ...with a 40C difference in temperature. Red Goose is a magic portal into the 1950s. It’s not trying to be kitschy or retro-fashionable. Korean owners Hank Lee (server) and his wife Chon Lee (cook) simply like the place the way it is ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH Latino's: Just about everything is very, very good BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2016

Latino's Restaurant 10708-98 St. 780-705-1895 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $25; loaded, $55 Decisions, decisions, decisions. When it comes to taco/tortilla choices in Latino/Mexican/Tex-Mex cooking, where do you start? Tacos, tortillas, corn tortillas, flour or wheat tortillas, corn shell tortillas, crispy tortillas, taco shells, crispy tortillas, masa tortilla, steamed tamales – all originating in a single round portion of unleavened, mostly corn flour bread. Then there’s the popular names for tortillas and tacos with fillings — rolled (enchilada), folded (quesadilla), topped with grilled meat and onions (fajita), extra-thick (pupusa), closed-end wraps (burrito). Finally, there’s no end of tortilla/taco variations based on place, i.e. the geographic regions of Latin and South America,  individual country preferences, regional cooking with ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH ATLAS Steak + Fish a cut above BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2016

ATLAS Steak + Fish Grand Villa Casino, 10224 104 Ave. 780-413-3178 atlassteakandfish.com/edmonton/ 4:30 p.m. to late, seven days a week 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $60; loaded, $90   Precious few restaurants in this town make ordinary food extraordinary. Even fewer can make steaks, pork chops and chicken that will satisfy both Trucker Tom and Fiona the Foodie. Well done, ATLAS Steak + Fish – the casual but elegant restaurant in the new Grand Villa Casino that’s glued on to Rogers Place. Executive chef Shelley Robinson walks this tightrope between mass appeal and fine dining as if it were a super-highway – pumping out dish after dish of familiar proteins, starches and sweets, but every one with a “Wow, is that ever good!” factor. It’s too much fun to watch Robinson at her usual station at the open kitchen’s pi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Cooking classes from top chefs BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Besides their cooking, all the Christmas in November celebrity chefs at Jasper Park Lodge this past weekend shared one undeniable talent. All were all expert communicators – using humour, home-spun stories, bantering with the guests to create the most entertaining of cooking demonstrations. Up in Jasper, Christmas in November is an enormously successful Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge tradition. The three-day program in North America’s most beautiful wilderness lodge includes all food and wine, gala dinners, accommodation, gifts and, at the heart of the matter, a choice of seven cooking classes with the 14 guest chefs. After 28 years, Christmas in November’s popularity is such that it has grown into three packages of three days each – the opening weekend, mid-week and the closing weekend. Each session sees 400 to 500 registered participants filling Jasper Park Lodge and kicking off its Christmas festivities during a traditionally slow time of year in the mountains. Thanks to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Syphay needs to review their service BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2016

Syphay – Thai and Lao Cuisine 6010 104 St. 780-438-8338 syphay.com Mon. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sun. – closed Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): Basic $30; Loaded, $60 My previous experience with Laotian food was unfortunate.   I’d ordered a minced meat salad. It looked innocent enough. But a zealot in the kitchen had poured a few dozen teaspoons of chili powder into the mix. My mouth – and I do enjoy extremely spicy Thai and Indian cuisine – was on fire for hours. One bad experience should not a life-long bias form! It was time to explore this national cuisine once again. Laotian food has its fans. Several of the city’s top Thai restaurants – Syphay, Viphalay, and Boualouang - are advertised as “Thai and Lao cuisine.”. Laos itself is mysterious and appealing. The small, mountainous land-locked coun ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: McDonald's and Chutneys Indian Grill: A tale of evolving fast food tastes BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2016

McDonald’s, the biggest fast-food chain in the world, is re-inventing itself to stay current. Chutneys Indian Grill is a kid full of dreams, a new fast-food franchise concept originating in Edmonton, with one prototype outlet in the fast-growing suburbs east of Mill Woods. Joe Sangha and his partners in Chutneys are betting the world is ready for a healthy version of Indian fast food, delivered in the pick ‘n’ choose style of a Subway or Chipotle. In a new building in a new shopping common south of Whitemud Drive on 17 Street, the Chutneys’ serving process is familiar, the food less so. As in a Subway, you start at one end and work your way down the serving counter, pointing at that what you want to add to your meal. First up is the base – a freshly-pressed and cooked “burroti” (see below), or brown rice, or salad greens. Then a protein, a sauce (gently westernized versions of butter sauce, tikka masala, vindaloo or daal), multiple toppings (cucumber, onions, toma ... Read the rest of entry »
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