HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

Hicks' Weekly Dish: NongBu Korean Eatery still needs work BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2015

NongBu Korean Eatery 8115 104 St. 780-989-0997 www.facebook.com/NongBuKorean Mon. to Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $60 Graham Hicks 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix NongBu Korean Eatery represents an ironic, yet entirely logical, evolution of ethnic-based restaurants. Until recently, most ethnic restaurants served Canadianized versions of ethnic dishes or simple “village” fare reflecting the food from back home ... 30 years ago. Hence Korean restaurants in town have traditionally featured bulgogi, kimchi and bibimbap. But for the next generation that has stayed in the hospitality biz, village and Canadianized dishes weren’t enough. Many studied food trends in their ethnic homelands or in Vegas/ New York to see what fusion was up to. And now there’s a counter-revoluti ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Padmanadi a vegetarian's delight BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015

Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant 10740 101 St. 780-428-8899 padmanadi.com Tues to Fri, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Mon Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $60 Graham Hicks 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix It’s inappropriate, I apologize in advance. But Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant makes me laugh and laugh. The second page of its menu is 100% dedicated to “vegetarian meat dishes.” Somewhere out there, some supplier makes a fake meat “base” out of grain and tofu and Lord knows what. It must be mixed like a dough, cut into meaty shapes and flavoured with non-meat, meaty flavours like lemon “chicken”, teriyaki “chicken’, spicy “shrimp”, Tom Yum “mutton” and even lemon “ribs ... Read the rest of entry »

Book of Mormon knows no limits - review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted March 27, 2015

Review of Book of Mormon Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 24 to 29, 2015 (Sold out, other than last-minute lottery style rush tickets for $25) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I never watched much South Park on TV, but I read enough about the animated comedy to know it broke all the rules of pleasantry and politeness, was one of the first shows on widely-watched TV in the early ’90s to break the profanity barrier, and was screamingly funny through humourous commentary that made fun of just about every American icon, be it human or otherwise. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were natural heirs to the irreverent, damn the social torpedoes school of American satirical humour that broke through with George Carlin, gestated in Saturday Night Live, spawned The Simpsons and John Belushi. So it wasn’t surprising that Parker, Stone and third collaborator Robert Lopez again broke all the rules when they wrote Book of Mormon, certainly the most successful Broadway s ... Read the rest of entry »

Playing With Fire, The Theo Fleury Story at the Citadel Theatre: Jocks and their artsy girlfriends will both love this show - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through Feb. 15, 2015 Tickets, starting at $30 Review by Graham Hicks,  hicksbiz.com Relax. Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story – is not going to subject you to scene after scene of the grim sexual abuse story of Fleury’s adolescence that finally sent his hockey coach tormentor Graham James to prison. In fact, this one-man show on the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre is surprisingly cheerful and funny, given it’s a detailed autobiographical account of the famous and diminutive Calgary Flame's ascent and then descent into a living hell of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction, then, one hopes, back to an addictions-free life.  (Who knows? The play is based on Fleury’s autobiography, published in 2009.) It’s also innovative, played on a mini-hockey rink, with top-notch multi-media enhancements to the story, beautifully acted with Shaun Smyth taking hi ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel's One Man, Two Guvnors - is it humanly possible to laugh this hard? Review by GRAHAM HICKS

One Man, Two Guvnors Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Through Sunday, November 16, 2014 Tickets $30 and up, www.citadeltheatre.com Review by GRAHAM HICKS In One Man, Two Guvnors, Francis (John Ullyatt) splays away with a metaphorical comedic machine gun, shooting off humour in every which direction, at every which moment, within every which comedy device ever devised since the first playwright walked on his or her back legs. Lord, this is one great screwball comedy that Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre has used to brighten up its 2014/15 season – up there with previous productions such as Monty Python’s Spamalot, Noises Off, the Noel Coward runabouts and Tom Wood’s initial adaptation of The Servant of Two Masters – on which this show is also based – back in 2002/03. As the program notes usefully point out, British playwright Richard Bean is a worthy heir to the brilliant line of British physical/spoken humour that stretches from Spike Milligan to Peter Sellers, John Clee ... Read the rest of entry »

Kim's Convenience: Citadel Theatre season-opener is lightweight, charming and one-dimensional: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Kim’s Convenience Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage through Oct. 11, 2014 Tickets $30 to $84, www.citadeltheatre.com (Touring show, produced by Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I’m not sure what Kim’s Convenience says about the current state of Canadian theatre. It’s a lightweight, superficially charming, one-dimensional, 90-minute piece of theatre that I most closely relate to lightweight, superficial, lame CBC-TV  sitcom comedies like Little Mosque on the Prairie, i.e. paying lip service to “Canadian” themes without any semblance of artistic, philosophical or emotional depth. Yet Kim’s Convenience has been a hit in Canadian theatrical terms, starting as a Toronto Fringe Festival star show in 2011, winning a pile of Toronto theatre awards, touring the country, and being optioned for a TV series. (If it’s not the CBC, I’ll eat my hat.)  Is there such a lack of contemporary Canadian play competition that this ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Hey, media, stop picking on Big Oil BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

It’s a hoary old cliché, but so true.

In journalism, there’s no such thing as objectivity.

Bias hangs out on every corner.

It’s so darned obvious in the mountains of verbiage expended on .02% of Canada’s boreal forest surrounding Fort McMurray, the oilsands.

Note the bias: I throw in the fact the oilsands take up less than one-fifth of one percent of the boreal forest. The underlying message: The oilsands are NOT destroying Canada’s wilderness.

That one little fact, slipped in, pretty well tells you where this commentator is coming from.

The reality is this city, hence yours and my livelihoods, is highly dependent on oilsands generated wealth. So I support oilsands development – as long as the environmental rules are followed, and the rules get tougher to the point of miniscule or zero tolerance when technology permits.

Most commentators will not admit to a bias. But it’s so easy to tell.

Those adamantly opposed to oilsands development call the oilsands the “tar sands.”

Gee, what was your first clue? 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 »