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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Evil Dave's food heavenly BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 03, 2015

Evil Dave’s Grill 622 Patricia Avenue Jasper, Alberta 780-852-3323 evildavesgrill.com 5 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. weekends Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns The name and the theme are a bit wacko, but the food is really, really good. Good thing we’d made a reservation at Evil Dave’s Grill on a Saturday evening in Jasper. The cheerful restaurant was packed, the ambience having much to do with the glow that skiers give off after a beautiful day at the nearby Marmot Basin ski resort. Amusingly, given the mildly adult tongue-in-cheek ‘hellish’ theme, the eatery was full of kids. The ski hill had been alive with munchkins, thanks to the Jasper Junior Olympics. Good food for the parents, kid-friendly staff and a kids’ menu bodes well for a loyal family clientele. It’s Jasper. There’s magic in the air at the best of times and Evil Dave’s had a great buzz on. Jasper has more than its share of excellent c ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Evil Dave's food heavenly BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 03, 2015

Evil Dave’s Grill 622 Patricia Avenue Jasper, Alberta 780-852-3323 evildavesgrill.com 5 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. weekends Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns The name and the theme are a bit wacko, but the food is really, really good. Good thing we’d made a reservation at Evil Dave’s Grill on a Saturday evening in Jasper. The cheerful restaurant was packed, the ambience having much to do with the glow that skiers give off after a beautiful day at the nearby Marmot Basin ski resort. Amusingly, given the mildly adult tongue-in-cheek ‘hellish’ theme, the eatery was full of kids. The ski hill had been alive with munchkins, thanks to the Jasper Junior Olympics. Good food for the parents, kid-friendly staff and a kids’ menu bodes well for a loyal family clientele. It’s Jasper. There’s magic in the air at the best of times and Evil Dave’s had a great buzz on. Jasper has more than its share of excellent c ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: It' Dog is doggone good BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015

It’ Dog 8621 109 St. 780-438-4083 www.facebook.com/itdogsandchicken Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – $14, loaded $25 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., later on weekends. Wondrous though it may be for convenience, cost and simple preparation, the hot dog sits close to the bottom of the food chain. It’s also alarmingly predictable in its toppings — ketchup, mustard, relish, sometimes onions and sauerkraut. Even a Fat Franks upgrade — best quality sausage and roll, double the usual size — is conventional in the condiment department. Which is why, as you dig into an It’ Dog with a knife and fork because it’s too messy and too big to fit directly into your mouth, you wonder … why hasn’t anybody thought of this before? The It’ Dog Korean-fusion hot dog starts with a beautiful big top-quality sausage in a yummy, hot, soft pretzel bun. That’s just the start. On to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Fine dining at Fort Edmonton Park BY GRAHAM HICKS , EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014

It still remains a culinary secret, even though Johnson’s Café has been open for over 10 years in the Hotel Selkirk at Fort Edmonton Park.

Why would this very good dining room, in the height of summer, only have a few tables occupied on a lovely Thursday evening?

Location, location, location.

It’s the café’s biggest strength and weakness. The historic Hotel Selkirk is in Fort Edmonton Park, accessible by a side road after the park closes. The site is so beautiful, it’s Jasper without the three-hour drive.

But destination diners don’t think of Johnson’s Café. And if they did, they’d be unsure how to get there and uncertain of its hours.

This will change. Fort Edmonton Park soon plans to be open year-round with upgraded services. Leading the changes is new food services supervisor and master chef Jasmin Kobajica, who’s already raised the bar on park food.
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Hicks' Weekly Dish: It's all about the Meat BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 08, 2014

Meat, recently opened in Edmonton's Old Strathcona district in Alberta, Canada,  is one of the best, fully thought-through restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of entering.
It’s full of contradictions. Yet, from the initial impression, to décor, to food and menu, it’s one delicious whole.
Whoever has heard of a BBQ smokehouse parading as a tea room!
This slightly dainty, new-age establishment is serving up mounds of mouth-watering beef brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken! It’s the opposite to the stereotypic “y’all chow down now, y’hear?” smokehouse. In fact, there’s not a smokehouse cliché to be seen.


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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tasty Tomato is all about classic comfort food BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 01, 2014

Tasty Tomato Italian Eatery 14233 Stony Plain Road 780-452-3594 www.tastytomato.ca Open evenings, with lunch Thursday and Friday. Closed Sundays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 stars If it ain’t broke, why fix it? I can’t bear witness, as last week was my first visit to the Tasty Tomato Italian Eatery. But by all reports, not much has changed in 20 years, other than Angelo and Mirella Amendola are older, and son Joe is now a full partner in the family-run restaurant. To which Angelo would shrug his shoulders and say, why change? The restaurant is full on weekends and obviously has a loyal clientele that spans generations. Tasty Tomato has a comfy ‘80s feel. It’s not the least bit trendy, but is in no need of a makeover. Which also describes the menu — as classic Canadian-Italian as you’ll find, with 18 pasta selections, veal and chicken entrees, starter tomato salads, calamari, eggplant, escargot and brusc ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks’ Weekly Dish: How not to run a restaurant BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 03, 2014

The Weekly Dish talks about some of the basics in providing a satisfying dining experience ... and how many small restaurants are lacking in many departments! 

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Parlour offers quality for everyone BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2014

The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar 10334 Capital Blvd. (108 St.) 780-990-0404 Centuryhospitality.com/parlour Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: Basic, $35; loaded, $80 Edmonton’s Century Hospitality restaurant group (Century Grill, Lux Steakhouse, Hundred, MRK and two Delux Burger Bars) knows the secret to its undeniable success. It’s so smart. It deliberately stays about 30% behind the culinary sophistication of high-end bistros like The Red Ox Inn or the Three Boars, knowing those outlets attract a very small market of high-end discerning foodies. But the Century group venture far beyond the predictable conventions of the big-box chain restaurants. It presents, and presents well, something for everybody at the table — from the I-know-what-I-like crowd to the adventurous foodie out with friends and family. Even the tried ‘n’ true — pizza, steak, hambur ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: The truth about Filipino foods BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2014

o, there’s no dog. Having just finished my fifth visit to the Philippines in some 25 years, I’ve decided this dog-eating thing is a complete myth. Filipinos don’t eat dogs. It’s not part of the culture. Filipinos eat the same meat/fish proteins as North Americans, maybe about one-hundredth the amount, but chicken, pork, fish and shell fish are what you see in the market. There’s nothing weird like snakes or rats or monkeys … or dog. Or if there is, it’s very secret. Besides, why would anybody want to eat a Filipino dog? The street dogs in the country are the scrawniest canines on earth. They all look like they’re about to die from malnutrition. There’s nothing there to eat! The weirdest food you’re going to find is balut – a duck egg with a near fully developed duck embryo that absorbs salt and flavours in a resting stage, then is quickly boiled, peeled and eaten with a vinegar dip. I tried it … once. If you closed you ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Enzo's — just like momma used to make it BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013

Enzo’s on 76 11214 76 Avenue 780 800 1976 enzosedmonton.com Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: basic, $30; loaded, $60. It was a cold, cold night in the city‘s southwest. But our gang was as snug as a bug In a rug, sitting in a corner nook at Enzo’s on 76. Nice and warm, no drafts, looking out a big bubble window at the snow-piled windrows along 76th Avenue … piled up over those famous bike lanes. What is it about Italian eateries in our town that make them so darn cosy? Piccolino, Pazzo Pazzo, Sorrentino’s in Little Italy, Nello’s, Café Amore, Il Pasticcio, Rigoletto’s, Il Forno and now Enzo’s on 76th. Cliché becomes truth. Scratch the surface of any good Italian restaurateur, and it’s all about how momma and nonna (grandmother) used to do it, how the pasta never stopped, all visitors were long-lost cousins and a big pot of tomato ... Read the rest of entry »
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