HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Koutouki lacks quality of past By Graham Hicks, first published Edmonton Sun: May 1, 2018

Koutouki's sliced lamb needed more flavour and juices. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTONSUN Koutouki 10719  124 St. 780-452-5383 koutouki.ca 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m., Sunday 9 p.m.) Closed Monday Delivery: doordash.com Food:  3 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $90 By GRAHAM HICKS Have you ever had a restaurant meal that was just a meal? As the dishes arrived, they were okay, okay, okay, not bad, chewy: When you left, you had a hard time remembering just what you ate. So it is with the current Koutouki Greek Taverna on 124 Street. It’s not-bad, generic Greek cooking in a cheerful Greek atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun. But the food, as far as Greek cooking goes, is ultimately bland, certainly nothing to write home about. And the fact is it is still called Koutouki. The larger-than-life Yanni Psalios made his Koutouki Taverns (he opened and closed them at the d ... Read the rest of entry »

Come and join the first Edmonton Camino five-day walk through the North Saskatchewan river valley, June 15 to June 19, 2018!

Invitation to join the "Edmonton Camino", a five-day walking expedition up the North Saskatchewan River valley from Devon through Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan/Lamoureux, June 15 to June 19, 2018

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Hicks on Biz: Businesses are slip-slidin' away from Alberta to the U.S. By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 27, 2018

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta.Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS As pipelines are stalled, as Canadian regulations overwhelm, as federal/Alberta corporate taxes increase, as “climate challenge” costs (i.e. carbon tax) mount up … Edmonton energy companies are slip-sliding away to the more business-friendly USA. It’s business, says Hi-Kalibre Equipment boss Patrick Rabby.  His company, in a southeast Edmonton industrial park, employs 100 workers, manufacturing specialty anti-blow-out valves for drilling rigs. The energy business in Canada is down. The energy business in the U.S. is booming. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists, bottlenecks in the pipeline system are not being addressed. In the U.S., pipeline bottlenecks are being addressed. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists and over-regulation, liquefied natural gas (LNG) ports to export natural gas are ... Read the rest of entry »

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: Ice District delivered as promised By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 20, 2018

By GRAHAM HICKS On May 6, 2010, The Katz Group/Oilers held an open house at the Art Gallery of Alberta, at which the Ice District vision for the downtown was unveiled. Much of it was scoffed at, indeed ridiculed. Pie-in-the-sky, over-ambitious, too big and grandiose for little ol’ Edmonton. That richie rich Oilers owner Daryl Katz was out to rob the taxpayer. Yes sir, he was going to stuff his face with taxpayers’ money. Well here we are, eight years later. Everything has been delivered as promised. Rogers Place is more attractive and has more amenities than was originally proposed. The JW Marriott hotel and condo tower has been topped off at 56 stories, the Stantec Tower continues to grow to its majestic 69 stories, to be Canada’s tallest office tower west of Toronto. The actual Ice District and Rogers Place Arena, once buildings are complete. The original Ice District and arena land was all parking lots. The power of address:  Most of the 264 condos abo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Huge potential but Rooster Cafe has its problems by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 17, 2018

Nobody makes a better bagel board in Edmonton than the Rooster Cafe & Kitchen. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rooster Café & Kitchen 10732 – 82 Ave. 780-413-8045 roosterkitchen.ca Full service: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Partial service: Fri. and Sat. 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service (not the servers): 2 of 5 Suns Breakfast/Lunch for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $20, loaded $40 Once the food gets to your table at the Rooster Café & Kitchen, for the most part it’s very good. It’s getting the food to the table that’s the big problem with this breakfast/lunch deli-restaurant specializing in Jewish-deli style bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and blintzes. And its not the servers’ fault. There are supposed to be at least four bagel varieties. My first solo visit was last Friday at noon: Server: “Sorry, we only have sesame bagels today.&rdq ... 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' Weekly Dish: Rostizado moves from good to excellent by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 10, 2018

Lobster and prawns in a creamy salsa with corn: Delicious! GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rostizado (by Tres Carnales) #102, 10359-104 St. (Mercer Building) 780-761-0911 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  (10 p.m. Friday) Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Rostizado has changed in the four years since  last reviewed in this column. It has gone from very good to excellent. The “modern Mexican” restaurant — started by the Tres Carnales trio of Dani Braun, Edgar Gutierrez and Chris Sills — should now be considered as one of the city’s top-10 restaurants. As only a confident, independent restaurant can do, Rostizado has gone beyond its former signature dishes, its Cuban-style pork shoulder and chicken cooked Mexican-street style on giant rotisseries. The rotis ... Read the rest of entry »

A new pan-Canadian culture is emerging out of the Citadel Theatre's The Silver Arrow and Shumka's Ancestors and Elders - dual review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Silver Arrow Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta Canada April 4 to 29, 2018 Ancestors and Elders Shumka Ukrainian Dancers, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre and Running Thunder Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada April 27 and 28, 2018 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Mixing and matching of the highest order has been happening on Edmonton’s two major stages. The Citadel Theatre’s Silver Arrow is a rollicking re-telling/re-invention of the legend of Robin Hood, a world premiere as written by Edmonton playwright Mieko Ouchi.  In this Robin Hood, the world is cheerfully turned upside down – women play men’s parts, half the action is in the air on ropes and sashes, ethnicity is all a blur. The play is written around actor Kristi Hansen’s real-life disability of being born one-legged, with much fun and good-natured humour written into the character, including a beautiful prothesis created for her by a shy admirer. All the above is all just ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Many want us to think otherwise, but the world is a cleaner place By GRAHAM HICKS, first published April 5, 2018

Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Alta., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says a B.C. court decision on the Trans-Mountain pipeline is a definitive victory. The federal court of appeal on Friday dismissed the B.C. government's bid to appeal a National Energy Board ruling that allowed Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws during construction.JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS By Graham Hicks With little government regulation, the USA’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have been dropping. The USA is now expected to meet its Paris greenhouse gas reduction commitments – despite having torn up that agreement last year. Why?  Market forces! Utility companies can make more money converting coal-burning electricity plants to natural gas. There’s so much natural gas, it’s so easy to produce, it’s cheaper to burn than coal and it burns far cleaner than coal. In the mid-2000s, 50% of American el ... Read the rest of entry »