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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 »

Fringe 2018 - reviews - TEDxRFT a fine send-up on TED Talk pretension

Review of improv comedy show  TEDxRFT at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, 2018 

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Diners will be drawn to Moth Cafe like a, well, moth to a flame By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, April 24, 2018

The Moth Cafe's risotto takes its colour from taro root, but the secret of its success is a subtle coconut cream. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Photos The Moth Café 9449 Jasper Avenue 780-244-9702 themothcafe.com 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week Group reservations (six or more) on weekdays only Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner/lunch for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $25, loaded $60 By GRAHAM HICKS There is serendipity, there is luck, and there is sound, insightful planning. Like Wayne Gretzky, the trio behind the Moth Café — Khuyen Khuong, her sister Gillian Khuong and their mom Thanh Lu — have figured out where the puck is going, not where it has been. Vegetarian comfort food – not the holier-than-thou ultra-vegan stuff, or the forever-dull brown rice and over-cooked legumes – has been little explored.  But interest in vegetarian cuisine is growing and the  Moth Café introduces a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: How do you say no to United Cycle's Wilf Brooks? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 13, 2018

After a lifetime of community building, Wilf Brooks has passed the United Cycle reins to his niece and nephew. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Okay Wilf Brooks, you’re now “retired”.  You turned in your key to the vast United Cycle Sport (oops, now United Sport & Cycle) building. The sale is complete. A fourth generation of Brooks descendants, your nephew and niece Jason Bots and Lisa Ross, are now 100% owners of the store that’s operated in Edmonton since 1928. United Cycle is an anomaly:  The independent sports store with one outlet on 103 Street south of Whyte has not only survived, but flourished. At 110,000 square feet, the recently re-branded United Sport & Cycle is one of Canada’s biggest sports stores. Practically every other independent store in town of any vintage is long gone, unable to compete price-wise against big-box chains. Wilf, how did you do it? You, your sister Iola and your brother Rod took over United Cycle ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Radient Technologies part of thriving biotech sector By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 19, 2018

Two weeks ago, this column set out on a quixotic research expedition: to find out how much manufacturing in Metro Edmonton happens outside the oil/gas/petrochemical energy sector and to talk to the CEOs of such companies, find out how they succeeded in a city that traditionally draws its wealth from public sector employment and the oil patch. For all the concern and tongue-wag about “diversification,” nobody really knows the actual numbers. Statistics Canada, the No. 1 provider of such information in this country, places oil and gas processing and product manufacturing for the oilpatch into the catch-all “manufacturing” basket. Because the information isn’t available, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation tackles diversification by assisting Edmonton companies of all stripes to expand their customer base beyond Alberta.  Trying to classify Edmonton’s manufacturing companies as being in or out of the oilpatch would be an expensive exercise without a tangibl ... Read the rest of entry »
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