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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks weekly dish: Swiss 2 GO BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2016

Swiss 2 GO 4306 118 Ave. 587-520-9400 www.swiss2go.ca Food: 5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Tues. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $20; fully loaded, $35   I’m all for the Denny’s, Joey or McDonald’s of this world – may a thousand flowers flourish – but what a joy to find another small, independent restaurant off the beaten track, offering home-cooking excellence that the chains simply can’t touch. You have to drive down 118th Avenue almost to the Beverly Bridge to find Drita Keller’s Swiss 2 GO sandwich shop at the corner of 42nd Street. You’d never know from the outside that Swiss 2 GO makes the city’s best sandwiches, even better than the hipster sandwich boutiques of Farrow, Sandwich & Sons, the Nate Box group and Local Omnivore. You’d never know, except there’s one big clue: The exterior of Swis ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: It’ All Korean Buffet BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 05, 2016

It’ All Korean Buffet 10023 107 Ave. 780-705-9953 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week Closed Tuesdays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns   Dinner for two: Excluding drinks and tip, a la carte or buffet, $40.   There’s probably not a more delicious, filling meal for the price in all Edmonton.   It’ All Korean Buffet, just south of the original Brick Warehouse at 101 Street and 107 Avenue, has recently made some major changes – going to a 90% Korean menu from the previous Japanese and Korean, slashing its all-you-can-eat buffet price to $19.95 for dinner and $14.99 for lunch.   The a-la-carte menu, from which our party of seven dined, was bargain-priced at $10 to $12 a dish. We shared about 14 dishes, with a total price (excluding drinks and tip of course) of about $20 each.   At those low prices, you steel yourself for low quality – tougher gristle-filled meat, linge ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks weekly dish: First-rate food at The Juniper Cafe BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016

Juniper Café & Bistro 9514 87 St. 780-490-6799 Juniperbistro.com Tues. + Wed. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fri. + Sat. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two:  Excluding drinks and tip, basic $25; loaded, $50. I love independent cafes full of personality, where the owner genuinely cares about the neighbourhood he or she serves, who makes the dining area his/her living room, who serves as the barista, cook and bottle-washer. Think of the Woodrack Café on 109 Street and 76 Avenue, McKernan-Belgravia’s Gracious Goods Café, or the Blues Java Bar tucked away in Gold Bar, where Leah from Ghana is mother to all. Add another to this limited list of community builders. Strathearn’s Juniper Café & Bistro — turn left at the crest of Connors Road, angle down 95 Avenue about seven blocks — is a neighbourhood gathering spot complete with a children&rsqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Little Brick Cafe and High Voltage - Hard to find but worth it BY GRAHAM HICKS, Edmonton Sun, FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2016

Little Brick Café + General Store 10004 90 St., Riverdale 780-705-1230 littlebrick.ca 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Lunch for two:  Excluding drinks and tip, basic, $20, loaded $40 High Voltage 10382-63 Ave. (corner 104 St. and 63 Ave.) 780-437-3202  Mon. to Fri., 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Closed Sunday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns   There’s no character or personality on downtown Edmonton streets fronted by banks or office towers or inward-looking malls. The average suburban commercial strip — out beyond the Henday — is dullsville incarnate. So, please, raise a glass to new social entrepreneurs like the Little Brick’s Nate Box, who are as interested in community as they are in money. And may crusty old guys like Taso, who has made the best donairs and gyros on the South Side at High ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Cibo revisited BY GRAHAM HICKS, Edmonton Sun, FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2016

Cibo Bistro 11244-104 Ave. (Oliver Square), 780-757-2426 www.cibobistro.com Tues. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two: Excluding drinks and tip, loaded, $120, basic, $50 Returning to a restaurant previously reviewed starts with worry. You mightily enjoyed that dinner four years ago, gave the establishment top marks. But, with so many other eateries out there worthy of attention, you have not been back. What if the eatery has gone into decline? Been sold? Changed chefs? Started to cheap out? What if the restaurant had been guilty of inconsistency, one night to the next? To report that Rosario Caputo’s Cibo Bistro in Oliver Square remains on top of its game is both satisfying and a relief. In fact, with its service much improved, I would move Cibo up a notch. With one or two more improvements in the kitchen, Cibo would be ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' weekly dish: Lemongrass Cafe simple, but good BY GRAHAM HICKS, Edmonton Sun FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, APRIL 05, 2016

Lemongrass Cafe 10417 51 Ave. 780-413-0088 Facebook   Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. noon to 10 p.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.    Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns   When my family is in the mood for a light, tasty, filling meal, we inevitably turn to Vietnamese cooking. It’s a gentle, delicate cuisine - less greasy than Chinese, not as spicy or sweet as Thai, less forceful than South Asian. More shy and retiring than other Asian cuisines, Vietnamese food is dependably tasty, rarely sits around in the kitchen, and usually uses the freshest of ingredients. Then there’s the famous pho soup, a meal unto itself for which every self-respecting Vietnamese restaurant has a secret family recipe. I have a mental taste-fest, just thinking about pho! Heading into the city from the Edmonton International on Saturday afternoon, the Lemongrass Café on the South Side, on 51 Ave. was calling our name - especially after a four-hour pl ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Local Omnivore doing it right BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016

The Local Omnivore 10933 120 St. 780-660-1051 www.thelocalomnivore.com Tues. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Lunch for two: Excluding drinks and tip, loaded, $35, basic, $20 Doing it right has never been more pronounced. Mark Bellows and Ryan Brodziak started The Local Omnivore as a relatively low-cost food truck specializing in meat sandwiches and hamburgers. Having built an excellent reputation as a mobile operation, they moved that reputation into one of the city’s best sandwich shops, custom-built to their specifications. The Local Omnivore restaurant opened before Christmas and hasn’t looked back. What do they do right? Mostly, they do it all themselves. They source their meat from a network of organic farms around Edmonton that specialize in range-free, hormone-free, grass-fed etc. etc. One of the Omnivore staffers actually butchers much of their mea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Two approaches to this business of hospitality Two approaches to this business of hospitality BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2016

This is a tale of how two different businesses, The Parkallen Restaurant group and the Burger Baron chain, react – or don’t react — to business conditions or unexpected circumstances. On 109 Street, 10 blocks south of Old Strathcona, two generations of the Rustom family have spent decades building the original Parkallen into an excellent eatery with two parallel menus – one featuring up-scale, excellent Mediterranean cuisine, the other offering a wide range of pizzas. Through circumstance rather than design, Joseph Rustom became the owner/operator of the recently opened West Parkallen Kitchen + Bar – a larger, less intimate space than the on-going South Side restaurant in a very different location – on 170th Street just north of 108 Ave. A different location means different clientele, tastes and preferences. Rustom quickly realized the 170th Street location attracted customers seeking value and familiarity. The original Parkallen menu was simplified. A deli counter ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2016

Everybody loves a deal. That’s why Groupon exists. That’s why restaurants have Two-For-One Mondays, Pasta Tuesdays, Half-Price Wine Wednesdays. Until Sunday, March 20, thanks to Downtown Dining Week, almost every downtown restaurant of any repute is offering giant discounts — $15 per person for a two-course lunch, $28 for a three-course dinner, $48 for an “executive” (i.e. fancier) three-course dinner. Of course the restaurant would be delighted to also serve you a cocktail ($13), a bottle of wine ($40), dessert ($8), a café latte ($4) and an after-dinner brandy ($15), which would certainly increase their meagre profit margin, slashed to the bone for Downtown Dining Week. But if your goal is to get a fine meal at a deeply discounted price, to visit restaurants you otherwise couldn’t afford, move quickly. This window of opportunity closes down at closing time Sunday. I’m delighted that so many top-quality restaurants have agreed to be a part of Downt ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tom Goodchild’s Moose Factory is wonderful BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 08, 2016

Moose Factory Calgary Trail, Edmonton Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $40; loaded, $70 There are restaurant owners who work hard at being contemporary, sending chefs to Vegas to copy the trends. And then there’s that rare animal, the restaurateur who knows, without consultants, without disturbing long-time customers, how to evolve with the times. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tom Goodchild and his Moose Factory Prime Rib & Steak House. I have driven by the Moose Factory on Calgary Trail a thousand times, but hadn’t been inside for a decade. What a delightful surprise. Combining atmosphere, service, food and value, The Moose Factory is – full stop, end of discussion - the best steakhouse in Northern Alberta. One shouldn’t be surprised. Owner Goodchild may be well into his senior years, but the founder and guiding light of both the Moose Factory and the 10 Sawmill ri ... Read the rest of entry »
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