HicksBiz Blog

Category: food


Hicks' Weekly Dish: Parkallen Restaurant retools for the next 35 years By GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST PUBLISHED EDMONTON SUN, November 15, 2017

Parkallen Restaurant 7018-109 St. Parkallen.com 587-520-6401 Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight Closed Sunday Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $45; loaded, $90 FOOD: 4 OF 5 SUNS AMBIENCE: 4 OF 5 SUNS SERVICE: 4 OF 5 SUNS All the successful “classic” restaurants of Edmonton – i.e. those 30 years or older still providing excellent dining experiences – share a common trait. They evolve – adding new dishes here and there, quietly dropping the dated stuff  but ensuring customer favourites stay on the menu. Above all, they’re willing to change … which is why they thrive. The Parkallen Restaurant was a favourite pizza joint of the inner southwest when Habib and Nahia Rustom opened in 1982, all by itself at that time on 109 Street in the stretch between Whyte and 61 Avenues. Son Joseph grew up in the business. As a young adult full of ideas, he set the Parkallen on a course that served it well for de ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: London Local offers jolly good food: GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: October 24, 2017

London Local 2307 Ellwood Dr. SW (South of Henday Drive, off 91 Street.) 780-752-2244 London-local.ca @LondonLocalYEG Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to late Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $50; loaded, $90 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns London Local is a veritable mountain of paradox. On the one hand, a new, contemporary restaurant specializing in British cuisine (i.e. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) is extraordinary unto itself. Isn’t  “fine dining” and “English” an oxymoron?  Hasn’t the food world always laughed at the notion that these chilly, perpetually rain-soaked islands actually have a food culture … besides mushy peas, mashed potatoes and sausages?  Aren’t Indian curries the tongue-in-cheek “official” cuisine of the British Isles? On the o ... Read the rest of entry »


The name is a draw unto itself.  “The Bedouins” – brilliant! It conjures up mythical images of Arabian desert nomads – Lawrence of Arabia, The English Patient, that kind of thing. Do Bedouin tribes have a distinct Middle Eastern cuisine? Not really. The two savvy partners in North Edmonton’s The Bedouins restaurant readily admit the name is more impressionistic, a brand rather than actual Bedouin dishes. While Bedouin tribes dot the desert landscape from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, maitre d’ Emad Elgaddafi and chef Ashruf Oun are offering North African cooking, the distinctive tajeens and beautiful lamb dishes of the Maghreb – the coastal regions of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. If there’s a regional bias, it’s Libyan. Pasta shows up more often than grains at The Bedouins, as Libya was once an Italian colony. Elgaddafi and Oun are of Libyan descent, Canada’s gain when civil war forced the two dynamic young men out of their ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Steakhouse or Seafood? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 08, 2017

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie 9626 Ellerslie Road SW 780-249-2000 Pampasteakhouse.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday to 10 p.m.) Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: $100  Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Sabor – Seafood Festival to Sept. 3, 2017 10220 103 St. 780-757-1114 Sabor.com Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $60, loaded $120  Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns   Seafood or meat? Why be forced to choose? Go out twice, enjoy the best of both! Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse – firmly established after six years downtown – has just expanded. Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse Ellerslie is in a new, spacious, stand-alone buildi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: YEG Sushi showdown - Sumo Sumo versus Takami Sushi BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 01, 2017

It’s testament to the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine, when two new, full-service sushi houses open minutes away from each other in a part of the city already near-saturated with Japanese restaurants. Sumo Sumo has long been popular in Sherwood Park. It recently replicated itself in Edmonton, in the former Century Grill/Plates International Buffet building on Calgary Trail south of Whitemud Drive. Takami Sushi is in a new commercial building on 61 Avenue just west of 104 Street. Sumo Sumo Edmonton is a Chevrolet — a high-volume big restaurant where the food is good, but not great. Takami Sushi is a Cadillac — smaller, much more attention to detail and presentation, about 20% more expensive than Sumo Sumo for comparable dishes, but top quality. Sherwood Park Sumo Sumo owner Joe Chan opened Plates in early 2016. For whatever reason, Plates is gone, replaced by an Edmonton version of Sumo Sumo. Sumo Sumo Edmonton has some drawbacks. The restaurant is slightly outdated ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Local bakery grows into gluten-free juggernaut BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017

How did a tiny Old Strathcona bakery become North America’s second-biggest producer of gluten-free baked goods? Ten semi-trailers a week roll out of Kinnikinnick Foods’ mega-bakery just off the Yellowhead Trail, bound for 65 distribution warehouses and 15,000 grocery stores.  Simultaneously, Kinnikinnick loads its gluten-free bread, cookies, donuts, buns and bagels onto giant pallets heading to Europe on KLM’s non-stop flight to Amsterdam. A distributor whisks the pallets to Kinnikinnick’s British distribution centre.  An Internet-sales office handles online orders, ensuring quick delivery the world over. How did Kinnikinnick overcome distance-to-market and labour costs?  How did the company succeed in a world of highly competitive corporate food giants?  It currently has 160 employees and grosses over $25 million a year in sales.   Why does it make all its products in Edmonton? Why hasn’t the Bigam family cashed out and sold Kinnikinnic ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: District Cafe food is excellent, but the service needs work BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 18, 2017

District Cafe & Bakery 10011 109 St. (corner of 109 Street and 100 Avenue) 780-705-7788 Districtcafe.ca Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $30; loaded, $60 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns The District Café and Bakery does just about everything right: Its well-designed interior is bright, blond and clean. The high ceilings and all-window exterior walls make you breathe big. The spacious patio well-utilizes the outside space at 109 Street and 100 Avenue. The menu is beautifully designed to turn with the time of day. It’s very much in tune with the District Cafe’s bakery roots, yet branches out, especially at dinner, to healthy, tasty and inexpensive vittles. But on this particular weekday evening, there is a service problem. More perplexing, the casual, t-shirts + shorts serving staff is unaware ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Ono and Splash poke shops BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2017

Quite independently, two poke (pronounced poh-kay) shops have opened in Edmonton at the same time and within five blocks of each other. Poke is about diced raw, marinated tuna and salmon. Sushi and sashimi are about sliced raw, marinated tuna and salmon. Sushi/sashimi originated in Japan. Poke — diced tuna/salmon, sauces and veggies mixed into a rice or noodle base — originated in Hawaii from a blending of Asian food cultures, including Japan. Poke is trendy and catching on like wild fire across North America. From a restaurateur’s point of view, it’s easy to serve. Both Splash and Ono have walk-up counters to place and pay for orders. It’s easy — the counter clerk can prepare your order in no-time-flat from strategically arranged ingredients. There’s next to no cooking — other than the rice or noodles, everything is served cold. Poke is easy to eat. Like Freshii or Chopped Leaf or the Greenhouse, a single bowl of mixed foods is filling, refreshing and ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Packrat Louie most pleasant indeed BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 04, 2017

It’s like catching up with a long-time friend who, in the interim, has slimmed down considerably, is looking great and exudes new enthusiasm and a positive mind-set. In short, visiting Old Strathcona’s signature dining-out restaurant Packrat Louie after its recent renovation — both in decor and menu — is most pleasant indeed. The open and airy eatery has been a South Side fixture since chef extraordinaire Peter Johner (now semi-retired but still making chocolates in the Okanagan) opened Packrat Louie in 1993. It’s been home to several of the city’s better chefs since Johner sold Packrat Louie in 2006, including Jan Trittenbach (Solstice Seasonal Cuisine) and Brad Lazarenko (Culina group). The timing of the extensive renovation and re-invention was just right. Packrat was getting a little tired, its menu a bit stale. It took courage for managing partner Jodh Singh to recognize the need for short-term pain for long-term gain. The restaurant was shut down for several ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Grandin Fish 'N' Chips - Fish ’n’ chips done right BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 05, 2017

Grandin Fish ‘N’ Chips 9902 109 St. 780-250-3474 Grandinfish.ca 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday No reservations Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 stars Plenty of fast food outlets offer fish ’n’ chips, but the batter usually drips oil like a rusting car, the fish is mushy, the French fries from a bag and the ambience as charming as an aging fastfood court. In the years I’ve called Edmonton home, only once have I experienced the very best of fish ’n’ chips, being a special-of-the-day at Beaumont’s charming Franco-Albertan Chartier restaurant. Until now: With the opening of the Grandin Fish ’n’ Chips shop on 109 Street just north of the High Level Bridge, a glorious new era of fish ’n’ chips has dawned. The new shop is clean, sunny and well-ventilated, with some 40 seats. The decoration and décor is whimsical and appropriately Maritime themed. The open kitchen is superb. It&rs ... Read the rest of entry »
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