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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Sorrentino’s Staff Lunch by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 5, 2017

A wonderful tradition, entirely unknown outside the restaurant kitchen … and probably not much practiced in North America in any case, is the impromptu staff lunch. After the noon rush at Sorrentino’s Downtown,  executive chef Alberto Alboreggia gathers up food in the kitchen that is  surplus to the customers’ needs: Fish skeletons from which the filets have been cut, what’s left of a primal beef detached of its sirloins and prime rib, vegetable peelings and so on. Every day, Alberto converts them into a delicious, quick staff lunch.   A 22 pound, never-frozen fresh salmon has already been stripped of its salmon steaks and filets.  But left over is the head, the fins, all the meat buried alongside the spine. There are pounds of edible fish here, but it’s of little interest to the front-of-house guest. A few pieces of chicken might be left from the night before. Roasted potatoes – quartered, peeled, sprinkled with olive oil and herbs – remain i ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Holy Roller One Visual Treat By GRAHAM HICKS; first published Edmonton Sun, November 28, 2017

Holy Roller 8222 Gateway Blvd 780-540-4659 theholyroller.ca Mon. to Wed. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thurs. to Sat. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $16; loaded, $50 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Old Strathcona’s newest restaurant Holy Roller is way too cool, full of Harry Potter twists and turns. The “lobby” (and cafe)  is all London men’s club – the library, a quiet bar. One half expects Winston Churchill slouched in one of the overstuffed easy chairs, puffing on a cigar. But then the hostess leads you through a secondary entrance to the interior. Suddenly a crystal palace greets you, a crystal palace, a restaurant all a-bustle with restless energy, an enormous ceiling, chandeliers, a bar/ open kitchen all down one side, comfy and trendy tables marching down the others. Keep going, to the third space at the back, an entirely new world – modern white ta ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Butternut Tree's young chef offers near-perfection By GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST PUBLISHED EDMONTON SUN, November 21, 2017

The Butternut Tree 9707 110 Street, #101 (Ledgeview Business Centre, ground floor, complimentary indoor parking) 780-760-2271 Thebutternuttree.ca Tues. to Sun. 5 p.m. to midnight Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $80; loaded, $125 Food:  4.75 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.75 of 5 Suns So close to a perfect five out of five for food. If not marred by over-salted jus (gravy) for its duck breast entree, the new Butternut Tree Restaurant would have earned an extraordinary Weekly Dish five-out-of-five Sun rating for its food, and equally close to a five out of five for service. From where did this lovely restaurant, comparable already to the Hardware Grill in quality and meticulousness, come from? When chef/owner Scott Downey, an incredibly young 27, opened Butternut Tree in August, nobody knew who he was.  Years ago he had left the family home in St. Albert to wander the world and ended up apprenticing in top restaurants (Noma in Copenhagen) and ... Read the rest of entry »

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: Ramen all over the city By GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST PUBLISHED EDMONTON SUN: November 7, 2017

Once upon a time, a good chicken soup was the ticket to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Today, it’s ramen. The Japanese soup/broth – long-brewed pork bones in which all the fat and marrow etc. cooks into cloudy white creamy liquid – has exploded in popularity. Since the Prairie Noodle Shop opened two years ago, at least 10  traditional ramen shops have sprung up across Metropolitan Edmonton. And why not? The big bowl of creamy pork broth over noodles, slices of pork belly and various other accoutrements is a very fine comfort food and a meal unto itself. Down a full bowl of ramen with its meat slices, slurpy noodles, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, boiled eggs and multiple other options … you are warmed from feet to head, ready once again to brave this new winter’s cold. In Japan, ramen is as popular as hamburgers are here, being a quick but healthy food that can be downed in minutes if one is in a hurry. Like hamburgers, there are literally thousands of ... 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 »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: The Bedouins: A desert oasis on the northside BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017

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: Avila Arepa an example of “soul” BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

Avila Arepa Urban Venezuelan Kitchen 780-328-7887 Myavilaarepa.com @AvilaArepa Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $18; loaded, $35 Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns  It’s so easy to say a restaurant lacks soul, far more challenging to define just what soul is. Well here’s a restaurant that, by its very being, is chock-a-block full of soul. We walked into the small, maybe 40-seat Avila Arepa close to the 109 Street end of Whyte Avenue, to be warmly greeted by a middle-aged fellow in a clean black T-shirt and a red bandana wrapped around his head. Could we have a table as far as possible from the restaurant speakers’ music, we asked. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll turn down the music.” Which he did, immediately. Rolando Sandrea was obviously the owner, manager and order-taker. Despite working som ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Edmonton Fringe puts you close to a food cornucopia BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Starting Thursday, it’s Fringe time. Fringe time means Old Strathcona time. The kids – university students, the party-till-you-drop group – know Old Strathcona well. They go dancing, drinking and snacking from bar to bar – from The Pint to O2’s to The Black Dog … The rest of us, when we head down the Whyte Avenue strip, it’s more to dine than to drink — although the occasional $3.50 happy hour pint is attractive. There’s an unbelievable 60-plus food joints, along or on either side of, Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) from 101 Street to 107 Street. Sixty! And that’s not counting the restaurants further south between 103 an 104 Streets. If you’re planning to Fringe, here’s the Weekly Dish Guide to Old Strathcona’s good eats, based on past Weekly Dish reviews, or reports from trusted friends. Pubs, bars and coffee shops have been excluded, unless they are known for decent food. Tier 1 Packrat Louie: This lovely restaur ... 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 »
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