HicksBiz Blog

Weekly Dish: Dining at Zinc is breath-taking BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017

Zinc Restaurant  2 Sir Winston Churchill Square (north-west corner, Art Gallery of Alberta)  zincrestaurant.ca  780-392-2501  Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 stars  11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Tuesday and Wednesday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday Closed Monday and Sunday evening Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip):  basic, $50; loaded, $120 When Zinc Restaurant is good, it is very, very good. In fact it’s easily in the Top 5 restaurants of Edmonton. But when it is bad … Inconsistency has plagued executive chef David Omar’s kitchen since the lovely restaurant opened on the ground floor of the equally beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta in 2010. I’ve dined at Zinc at least a dozen times over the years. The inconsistency has been consistent. When the kitchen is on, it produces a cornucopia of beautiful food. When it’s not, you wonder what the reviewers ... Read the rest of entry »

One fine night of theatre - Coralie Cairns and Shaun Johnston in Annapurna - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Annapurna Shadow Theatre production, playing at the Varscona Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 18 to February 5, 2017 www.shadowtheatre.org Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.ca This production of Annapurna, at the Varscona Theatre through Sunday February 5, is as satisfying an evening of theatre as is possible in Edmonton, or anywhere for that matter. The script, beautifully written by American Sharr White in the Sam Shepard tradition, is deeply cynical as it explores loss and loneliness, self-destruction, terrible life choices and emotional pain. And it has the most beautiful rays of redemptive sunshine, moments so tender as to make one weep in some strange mixture of joy and sadness.  And, in marvellous synchronicity with its many other themes, in a very intelligent way, Annapurna is extremely humourous. The title, by the way, refers to one of the highest and most difficult-to-climb mountains in the world. P.S. it’s a metaphor. So veteran Shadow Theat ... Read the rest of entry »

In search of plot: Fortune Falls Flat - Review of Catalyst Theatre's Fortune Falls by GRAHAM HICKS

Fortune Falls Book by Jonathan Christenson and Beth Graham Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Christenson A Catalyst Theatre Production, presented in association with the Citadel Theatre At the Citadel Theatre’s  Maclab Stage (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)  Ticket information January 17, 2017 to February 5, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com What, I wondered as the house lights came back up, was that all about? How could the taut, focused scripts of the Jonathan Christenson we know and love have dissolved into the muddle that had unfolded before our eyes? Christenson is an extraordinary story teller. In his best work, style, music, movement, sets, costumes and attitude relentlessly focus on telling that story.   Christenson’s best shows start with alienation, usually taking famous outliers of literature - Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe, the hunchback of Notre Dame, Vigilante’s Donnelly family - re-telling their stories through his creative process, turb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on biz: Innovation means fewer jobs BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2017

The Old Guys’ Drinking Club had gathered, as usual, in a neighbourhood pub. The conversation turned, as usual, to incoming American President Donald Trump. At least give him a chance, I ventured to opine into a sea of scorn for the new American president. Let’s see if Trump can deliver on his promise to bring back jobs exported by American companies to lower-cost countries like China, Mexico and India. “No way,” said the high-tech business man sipping on his scotch. “The man is not only a sexist, racist buffoon, but any new jobs in America, repatriated or not, will be automated. “Trump isn’t going to create jobs – those jobs are gone. They are being done by robots or AI (artificial intelligence).” Therein lies the rub. Alberta has been focused on the job losses in the oil patch, which, the New Democrat government assures us, will be offset by government-encouraged new jobs in a new, diverse economy. Our challenge is more than simple jo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks weekly dish: Haus of honesty BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2017

Haus Falkenstein German Schnitzel House 15215 111 Avenue 780-483-5904 haus-falkenstein.ca Wednesdays to Sundays, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays (reservations recommended) Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service:  3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip):  basic, $30; loaded, $50 Never have I seen such honesty on a restaurant menu. On the second page of the Haus Falkenstein menu is a list of “Frequently Asked Questions.” For instance, why do you use canned mushrooms? Because (I paraphrase) fresh mushrooms go bad quickly, shrink when cooked and it would take too long to fry them. Why do you use processed cheese? To paraphrase the response … Have you bought cheese lately? A friend bought four slices of Swiss cheese at Sobeys for $9.28! You want us to keep our schnitzel prices down, you get used to processed cheese! Besides Kraft processed cheese goes perfectly with our toppings. You don’t know whether to l ... Read the rest of entry »


Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) boss Brad Ferguson said all the right things in his annual state-of-the-economic-union speech at the EEDC’s annual Impact luncheon last Tuesday. The old ideological “left” and “right” are dead. We should come together, right now, all Albertans, develop a 20 year industrial plan and stick with it “to get out of this mess.” Ferguson’s plan has some glaring holes, the first of which it’s yet another plan. It’s not even a plan. It’s a plan to have a plan. Plans are what politicians propose when they can’t think of anything better. In the debates leading up to the American presidential election, Hillary Clinton had a “plan” for this, a “program” for that. Donald Trump didn’t talk about plans, he talked action: Bringing American companies back to America; stopping illegal migration from Mexico; lowering corporate taxes; relaxing regulations to create a pr ... Read the rest of entry »

Bundle up, get outside and enjoy Hawrelak Park/The Ice Castle in January! - by GRAHAM HICKS

Jan. 17, 2017 Baby, it’s cold outside! When it’s winter, inertia can rule.  What’s the point of heading outside?  Mitts, toques and scarves must be put on and taken off, over and over.  Exposed skin is always mildly shocked by the dramatic change in temperature – fingers and toes and cheeks take forever to warm up. But as Canadians, we know the up-side.  As long as there’s little or no wind, being outside on a sun-lit Alberta day in January is gorgeous. The cold, crisp air is a tonic.   Mental cobwebs are swept away.  Headaches caused by the stuffy indoors magically disappear. But where to go once you are dressed for the elements?  Especially when you lack athletic skills such as skating, playing hockey or skiing, when you’re too old and brittle for toboganning? To Hawrelak Park! Edmonton’s most popular park in the summer (Heritage Days etc.) is also a haven for outdoor winter activities. For the second year in a row ... Read the rest of entry »

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 »

Hicks on Biz: Political correctness has run amok BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, JANUARY 06, 2017

It’s a subject where one fears to tread, but it needs be said. Political correctness is casting a smothering blanket over one of Canada’s greatest and most consistent ideals, freedom of speech and civilized discourse. It’s right and good that four major issues of the 21st century – climate change, the environment, aboriginal reconciliation and gender liberation – have surfaced as priorities and are being championed with enthusiasm and political will. But enthusiasm is too often evolving into dogmatism and self-righteousness. If you’re not 100 per cent with us, you’re against us. Do not question – you will be vilified and scorned. Civility and politeness, much-praised aspects of Canadian behaviour, have left the room. Today, perhaps because of the anonymity of Internet-facilitated commentary, intelligent individuals too often resort to personal insults rather than debate the issues at hand. Climate change has become a rigid ideology, best illustrat ... 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 »