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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Culinary Team NAIT's deep dive into contemporary Canadiana By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, November 19, 2019

While gorgeous to look at, Team NAIT's vegetarian dish for the Stuttgart Culinary Olympics still needs work. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Ernest’s Dining Room, NAIT – Culinary Olympic luncheons 10701 118 Ave. nait.ca/ernests 780-471-8676 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Hours (only when school is in session) : Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, showcase buffet Fridays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dinner (pre-set menu) 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Special Olympic luncheon: $20.95 per person Dinner (pre-set menu, excluding beverages, taxes and tip):  $45 per person; lunch, average $12 per person. By GRAHAM HICKS Lovers of good food, especially those with champagne tastes hampered by the glum reality of beer budgets, here’s a chance to glimpse culinary heaven. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Culinary Team NAIT is off to Stuttgart, Germany in February to compete in the prestigious, very global 20 ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Turquaz Kebab House by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 5, 2019

The Turquaz Trio - left to right, chicken, beef kafta and lamb with fries, rice, salad, hummus and garlic spread. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Turquaz Kebab House (Turkish & Lebanese Cuisine) 13310 137 Ave. 780-476-4511 turquazkebabhouse.com Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two:  Basic, $25,  loaded, $50 By GRAHAM HICKS The city’s Arabic/Middle Eastern community, both Christian and Muslim, is resolutely concentrated north of 132 Avenue. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its better-known restaurants, some eight to 10, each with particular specialties within the broad category of “Mediterranean”, rarely advertise outside that ethnic/geographical community. Consequently, outside of donairs, shawarmas and baklava, mainstream Edmonton is little exposed to Middle Eastern fare. A great pity. The food – kebab cubes, fatouche, ... Read the rest of entry »

Inspired '60s silliness at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

Musical Theatre review Class of '63 Rockin' Reunion Mayfield Dinner Theatre November 5, 2019 to January 26, 2020 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com Tickets: MayfieldTheatre.ca  Don’t expect a plot line, or anything the least bit serious for that matter. Just sit back at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre and drink in all the great (and silly) pop songs of the pre-Beatles ‘60s, laugh at the silliest of costumes from the Fabian/Elvis Presley/Nah Nah Nah days. Those outfits must have been worn by our grandparents when they were high school hipsters of their day!  Okay ... our older sister and brothers! As always with these classic Mayfield pop medleys, the eight musical actors – Mike Zimmerman, Brad Wiebe, Stephanie Pitsiladis, Melanie Piatocha, Kieran Martin Murphy, Pamela Gordon, Simone Denny and particularly possible-rising star Jahlen Barnes – are without peers when it comes to musical fun and interpretation. Likewise, the under-appreciated Mayfield house band, co ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Poland a big surprise By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 4, 2019

The historic Old Town of Warsaw, Poland, was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Second World War. GRAHAM HICKS...EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Before leaving on a September-long extended holiday in Poland – both as tourist and as a volunteer English teacher – I had no idea what shape the Central European country would be in. Three decades after the fall of communism, Poland has had 27 years of steady economic growth, an average 6% annual growth in family incomes. Yet our primordial impressions of Poland are still from Iron Curtain days: Of grime, grimness, hopelessness, poverty, garbage piled up in the streets, brown-outs and black-outs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Today, Poland is Europe’s biggest and best secret. As the ninth biggest country (by size) in Europe, with about the same population as Canada (38 million), it has fully emerged  from its shell-shocked recent history – the devastation of the Nazi occupation of the Second World War, with ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: La Bodeguita de Cuba comes up short By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, June 25, 2019

Dry cubed pork, undercooked yuca and bland moro rice did not make for a satisfying entree at Bodeguita de Cuba. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN La Bodeguita de Cuba 11810 87 St. 780-244-0104 labodeguitadecuba.ca Delivery: Skipthedishes.com 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon. Wed. Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fri. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. Closed Tuesdays Food:  2.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding tips, taxes and beverages:  Basic, $30; Loaded, $60 By GRAHAM HICKS Tasty beginning, excellent ending … and a disaster in between. La Bodeguita de Cuba is a new mom ‘n’ pop restaurant on Alberta Avenue’s restaurant row, some 20 inexpensive eating spots scattered along 118 Avenue from Wayne Gretzky Drive to 105 Street. Last week, the Alberta Avenue Business Association coordinated “Dine The Ave”, a promotion similar to the late-winter Downtown Dining Week, where just about all th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The old and new in Vietnamese eateries, Pagolac and XO Bistro By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 9, 2019

XO Bistro's pork and shrimp grilled combo was everything you could ask for in a Vietnamese rice bowl. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Pagolac (Downtown) 10566 97 St. 780-425-1540 pagolacrestaurant.com Delivery: SkiptheDishes.com 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. Fri. + Sat.) Closed Tuesdays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns XO Bistro + Bar 10236 103 St. 780-761-9696 Delivery: SkiptheDishes.com, doordash.com Tues. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (1 a.m. Fri.) Sat. noon to 1:30 a.m. Sun. noon to 11 p.m. Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Both restaurants, dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $30; loaded $45 STORY CONTINUES BELOW By Graham Hicks Is it ‘make new friends, but don’t forget the old?’ Or ‘out with the old and in with the new?’ It’s an interesting choice these days with Vietnamese restaurants. The style is long-established in Canada. Canadi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Belgravia Hub a hidden gem By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 2, 2019

Belgravia Hub Chef Max Pierce's chicken Dijonnaise. Belgravia Hub 7609 115 St. (close to McKernan-Belgravia LRT station) 780-756-3344  (call for reservations) belhub.com No delivery listed Tues. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Friday to 11 p.m.) Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $60 STORY CONTINUES BELOW By GRAHAM HICKS Don’t get me wrong. I love all the Edmonton chefs who are media darlings, like Daniel Costa (Corso 32), Shane Chartrand (SC Damn Good Food) or Larry Stewart (Hardware Grill). They are practically household names, as they should be. They are all wizards in the kitchen. But in the background are scores of equally talented chefs, as adept in the kitchen, but with much lower profiles. Because they are not good at, or simply don&rsqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tzin Wine & Tapas still serving up quality By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 5, 2019

Tzin's mouth-watering bacon and maple/balsamic/apple crostini. GRAHAM HICKS/Edmonton SunEdmonton Tzin Wine & Tapas 10115 104 St. 780.428.846 Tzin.ca Online reservations: opentable.ca No listed delivery service Tues. to Sat. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Fri. and Sat. midnight) Closed Sundays and Mondays Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $70 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Within a glowing review of Cyrille Koppert’s new Partake Restaurant some weeks ago, this column mentioned the Bodega Tapas & Wine Bars, Bar Bricco and Pip as other small restaurants offering “excellent light fare, cozy atmosphere and attentive service.” STORY CONTINUES BELOW I forgot the mothership of the tapas-and-wine movement in town,  the originator of the small-plate menu, cozy atmosphere with multiple wines by the glass … Tzin Wine & Tapas! Now 12 years old and doing just fine ... Read the rest of entry »

ADOPT-A-TEEN: Heart-warming responses from under-privileged youth By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 13, 2018

Edmonton Sun columnist Graham Hicks holds up Wal-Mart gift cards for Adopt-A-Teen at the Edmonton Sun studio in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Hicks started Adopt-A-Teen 15 years ago. Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun/QMI AgencyCodie McLachlan / Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun By GRAHAM HICKS During the 18 years I chaired the Edmonton Sun’s annual Adopt-A-Teen Christmas gift program for underprivileged teens, I will admit to some minor despair. In the program’s early years, legal advisors pointed out the original Adopt-A-Teen process — connecting families with teens needing gifts to families wanting to help — could land my newspaper in hot legal water if anything went wrong. We had to switch to buying gift cards that are now mailed out to teens in all the Edmonton under-privileged families registered with the Edmonton Christmas Bureau or The Salvation Army. It’s a good system. Your donations are used to purchase an Adopt-A-Teen’s $50 Walmart gift ... Read the rest of entry »

The Mayfield Dinner Theatre's Two Good Knights, The Music of Sir Tom Jones and Sir Elton John: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

 Two Good Knights: the music of Sir Tom Jones & Sir Elton John Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Mayfield Dinner Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 4 to October 28, 2018 Tickets: 780-483-4015  or mayfieldtheatre.ca Written by Will Marks, staged by Dave Horak, music direction by Van Wilmott, choreography by Christine Bandelow There’s a fledgling Motown Productions in town, a minor Tin Pan Alley, a writing/producing/directing all-in-one production house. It’s composed of four artistic types with a keen awareness of the need to sell tickets at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre  - musical director and overall Mayfield Dinner Theatre artistic director Van Wilmott, stage director Dave Horak, choreographer/singer Christine Bandelow, and the very low-key Will Marks as writer (a pseudonym I swear – despite his penning/compiling many Mayfield shows, nobody seems to know who Will Marks actually is). This team takes stock of its audience – basically 50+ folk ... Read the rest of entry »
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