HicksBiz Blog

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 on Biz: Cold Lake an example of Alberta pain BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, AUGUST 04, 2017 08:58 AM

“The environmental agenda has hijacked Alberta’s resource industry and our politicians,” wrote Craig Copeland, one of many readers responding to last week’s Hicks on Biz column entitled “Alberta’s economic suicide.” “It gained traction in the early 2000s but has escalated lately with the new provincial and federal governments,” Copeland continued, “even though Alberta already had some of the strictest industrial environmental policies in the world. I fear we could be witnessing one of the greatest economic tragedies in Canadian history.” Just another redneck opinion to be ignored, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her advisers would likely say. The current New Democrat government appears to put a higher priority on its climate change action plan than on the dismal state of the provincial economy, everywhere other than Edmonton. Copeland, however, is no redneck. He’s the long-time mayor of Cold Lake, one of Alberta’s more ... 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: Alberta’s economic suicide BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2017

Will Albertans continue to sit on our hands and do nothing while national and provincial politicians - goaded by a vocal minority - plunge this province, and all Canada for that matter, into what is politely termed "de-industrialization" but ought to be called economic suicide? Are desperately needed new pipelines to carry the lifeblood of the Canadian economy - oil and gas - never to be built? Earlier this week, any thought of exporting Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia died when the proposed $36 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project was declared dead by its principal backer, Malaysia's Petronas oil company. Goaded by environmental groups, Canadian governments piled delay upon regulatory delay upon this and other major energy projects. By the time the NorthWest LNG project was actually approved, Asian demand for natural gas was being met by Australian and American LNG exporters. Canadian LNG is considered no longer economically viable on world markets. The companies and the investors behi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks weekly dish: Chowin’ down at the Taste of Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 25, 2017

For once, the Weekly Dish has quasi-scientifically reviewed the food offerings at Taste of Edmonton, the city’s premier food festival in Churchill Square running this year to July 29. The challenge is to be dispassionate in choice – NOT to automatically return to favourite booths with favourite mini-dishes, not to be swayed by popularity or reputation. There are 47 food booths, plus 14 food trucks rotating in and out, plus special events, plus, plus, plus. Every time you turn around, a friend or a vendor urges you to try this, try that. So here’s the newly developed Weekly Dish Fool-Proof Taste of Edmonton review system: Every booth is numbered, one to 47. Pick a number at random from one to five. From that number, visit every fifth booth – no matter the food or the vendor. Our random starting point was booth #3 – the Afghan Chopan Kebab. Then it was every fifth booth after that. Over all – GOOD FOOD!!!! Very little was overly greasy. Much was imaginati ... Read the rest of entry »

Cirque de Soleil - Kurios, Cabinet of Curiosities - As good as entertainment can possibly get - REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS, HICKSBIZ.COM

Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities Cirque de Soleil Under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) Behind (north of) the Northlands Coliseum July 20 to August 13, 2017 REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Tickets:  https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/canada/edmonton/kurios/buy-tickets How magical, how lucky we all are, that the world has Cirque de Soleil.  And that Cirque de Soleil brings its shows to Edmonton. Cirque is astounding. It is popular entertainment at its artistic best. Over 20 shows are now in production around the world, attracting thousands of spectators every day. Cirque de Soleil never stoops to crass commercialism. Within its circus ways, it is an extravaganza of artistic imagination that knows no bounds. The creators of Cirque shows must feel like Christmas comes to them every day of the year.  No other performing arts company can give artistic overseers the resources to bring to life every possible performing idea they can think of. Extraordinary creativity: In Kur ... 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 »

HICKS ON BIZ: Putting the AI (artificial intelligence) in Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

An equipment dealer friend was invited to tour a top-secret R&D (research and development) division of a major supplier and manufacturer. He was shown prototypes of models being planned for 10, 20 years out. He was blown away by the money and effort being expended on the company’s long game. At the University of Alberta, three brilliant AI (artificial intelligence) computer minds — professors Rich Sutton, Michael Bowling and Patrick Pilarski — have, in fact, authored much of the fundamental global research on what’s called reinforcement learning within the AI sphere. So much so that the University of Alberta is considered the second or third centre of excellence in the world for “machine learning” or self-learning computer/robots. Hometown and local economy boosters are famous for flights of fantasy accompanying every new technology-based development in town. But this one is likely for real. DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence research comp ... 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 »