HicksBiz Blog

Waitress is much deeper than it lets on - review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

Waitress Broadway Across Canada production Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tuesday Nov. 26, 2019 to Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 On the surface, Waitress ought not to have been a Broadway hit. The touring version of the show, at Edmonton's Jubilee Auditorium from Tuesday Nov. 26 2019 to Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, skates across well-worn Americana themes -  unfulfilled lives in small towns, ekeing out livings by serving in roadhouses, putting up with snarly customers, looking for love in all the wrong places.  All is delivered with much humour and song. And it takes about 20 minutes into this touring Broadway production for the audience, consciously or unconsciously, to grasp this shows's deeper, if predictable, thematic currents:  That "love" is a pretty weird thing, manifesting itself in a myriad of ways; that no one way is better or worse than another - believe me, conventional happy married-couple love is conspiculously absent!;  that romantic/physical love somehow helps reconcil ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The craft-beer pub craze By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 26, 2019

Campio brew-pub makes an excellent, super-crunchy Korean fried chicken sandwich. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Polar Park 10416 80 Ave. 855-934-2337 polarparkbrewing.com Reservations: opentable.ca Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Hours:  Wed. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thurs. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Closed Mon./Tues. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30; loaded, $70 Campio 10257 105 St. 587-635-1953 campiobrewingco.com Reservations: opentable.ca Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Hours:  Sun. to Wed. 11:30 am to midnight; Thur. to 1 am; Fri./Sat. to 2 am. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30; loaded, $70 By GRAHAM HICKS There is much joy in all the new craft/artisan in-house brewpubs opening in Edmonton. At least until the market works its magic, an ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton restaurateur putting restlessness to work By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 22, 2019

Brad Lazarenko of Culina to Go, one of the food-based tenants in the Oliver Exchange. Taken on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 in Edmonton.Greg Southam Greg Southam / 00086532A By GRAHAM HICKS If one thing is predictable about chef/businessman Brad Lazarenko, in the 30-plus years he has been active in Edmonton’s dining and food circles, it’s his unpredictability. He delights in left turns without signaling.  Once Lazarenko has launched and executed an interesting food concept, usually under his Culina kitchen brand, he’s thinking of his next move. Culina Mill Creek, Bibo Wine Bar, Passa Tempo in Osoyoos’ Spirit Ridge Resort, a wine bar in Nelson, B.C. a return to Edmonton to open Culina Muttart, the Culina Cantina in the downtown police station, helping his sister open Culina Highlands, catering, running the food outlets at the City of Edmonton golf courses, and now, his latest venture, the take-out-only  Culina To Go in Ivan Beljan’s newly renovated Olive ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Culinary Team NAIT's deep dive into contemporary Canadiana By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, November 19, 2019

While gorgeous to look at, Team NAIT's vegetarian dish for the Stuttgart Culinary Olympics still needs work. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Ernest’s Dining Room, NAIT – Culinary Olympic luncheons 10701 118 Ave. nait.ca/ernests 780-471-8676 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Hours (only when school is in session) : Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, showcase buffet Fridays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dinner (pre-set menu) 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Special Olympic luncheon: $20.95 per person Dinner (pre-set menu, excluding beverages, taxes and tip):  $45 per person; lunch, average $12 per person. By GRAHAM HICKS Lovers of good food, especially those with champagne tastes hampered by the glum reality of beer budgets, here’s a chance to glimpse culinary heaven. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Culinary Team NAIT is off to Stuttgart, Germany in February to compete in the prestigious, very global 20 ... Read the rest of entry »

The Spotlight Cabaret opens a new chapter in YEG live entertainment - REVIEW/FEATURE by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

Legends of Music Spotlight Cabaret, second floor, 8217-104 St. Spotlight.ca 780.760.0202 Wed. Thurs. Sat. Sun. 6 p.m. Show and four-course dinner, $50  (Saturdays, $75) Feature/review by GRAHAM HICKS, hicksbiz.com (Other productions currently at Spotlight:  Duelling Piano Party, Fridays - $45 with light dinner; Tuesdays through November, 7:30 p.m.,  Atomic Improv Filmfest ($7);  Saturday brunch, Christmas season, Wonderful Christmas Carol: A Pantomime Radio Play;  various evenings after 10 p.m. , no cover, Laugh Track, Karaoke, Bourbon & Burlesque. ) Edmonton knows all about dinner theatre -  The Mayfield Dinner Theatre has been with us for some 45 years, Jubilations Dinner Theatre in West Edmonton Mall for decades. Dinner cabaret, being brilliantly executed in Old Strathcona’s beautiful, still-new Spotlight Cabaret, is a different kettle of fish. Dinner cabaret is more nightclub-like, more intimate than dinner theatre. It starts earlier, lasts longer, morp ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Alberta farmers need to change the way they do business By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN November 15, 2019

Consultant Jerry Bouma warned regional leaders agriculture in the Edmonton region is close to a tipping point in his state of the industry report on agriculture at the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board meeting on Aug. 9, 2018.Elise Stolte / Postmedia, file Jerry Bouma is frustrated. The agricultural consultant, past Northlands president — when Northlands meant something — and now honourary consul for The Netherlands has long worked within Alberta’s $8.5-billion agriculture industry. Always a pragmatist and a realist, Bouma is worried. He says opportunity is slipping away in this province … at a time when the entire economic effort of Alberta should be in well-directed strategies to boost and modernize business sectors besides oil and gas, for obvious reasons. But he doesn’t see much happening. It’s as if the province has forgotten agriculture. November, for instance, used to be rural/farm awareness month In Edmonton, centred around the week-long C ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Toast Culture is curiously bland By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 12, 2019 Updated:

While "toast" is the name on the game, Toast Culture makes fabulous pizzas, such as the potato, capicola and truffle oil pictured above. PHOTOS BY GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Toast Culture | Food + Drink 11965 Jasper Ave. 780-761-4482 Toastculture.com Seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Mon. and Tues. to 4 p.m., Fri and Sat to 10 p.m.) Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, taxes and tip:  Basic, $18,  loaded, $48 By GRAHAM HICKS Toast Culture is soft and soothing. But don’t go looking for bold flavours, new or unusual tastes. STORY CONTINUES BELOW It’s a peculiar situation at this pleasant, modern and casual restaurant on Jasper Avenue West. Owner/operators Josh Wilhelm and Joel Margolus present a menu that’s all toast ‘n’ toppings, “artisan” pizza and salad. There’s also an extensive craft beer/cocktail and spirits list, designed to attract an ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Who needs pipelines? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 8, 2019

(This is the last of a Hicks on Biz series on Alberta’s economic future if new pipelines are not built.) For decades, Alberta’s wealth was criticized for being harvested, 100%, from the low-hanging fruit of oil and gas extraction and processing. It was just too easy to make money from oil and gas. The sector scooped up every new engineer and scientist graduating from our universities, every skilled tradesperson coming out of our colleges. Eighteen-year-old dropouts were paid $1,500 a week to drive truck. The bloom is off that rose. Alberta’s future growth will be the result of technology-savvy entrepreneurs reaching for that higher-hanging fruit. But not entirely. As mentioned at the start of this series, oil isn’t going away. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Even without new pipelines, and with more oil-by-rail, oil production at a minimum will grow from 3.5 million barrels a day today to 4 million. Meanwhile, despite the persistent denial of climate-change extre ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Turquaz Kebab House by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 5, 2019

The Turquaz Trio - left to right, chicken, beef kafta and lamb with fries, rice, salad, hummus and garlic spread. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Turquaz Kebab House (Turkish & Lebanese Cuisine) 13310 137 Ave. 780-476-4511 turquazkebabhouse.com Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two:  Basic, $25,  loaded, $50 By GRAHAM HICKS The city’s Arabic/Middle Eastern community, both Christian and Muslim, is resolutely concentrated north of 132 Avenue. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its better-known restaurants, some eight to 10, each with particular specialties within the broad category of “Mediterranean”, rarely advertise outside that ethnic/geographical community. Consequently, outside of donairs, shawarmas and baklava, mainstream Edmonton is little exposed to Middle Eastern fare. A great pity. The food – kebab cubes, fatouche, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Crossing the digital bridge By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 31, 2019

EDMONTON ALBERTA: OCTOBER 2, 2019. Alta-Fab Structures CEO Hank Van Weelden, left, and President Mark Taillefer stand inside one of their community ever trailers in Nisku Alberta, October 2, 2019. Jason Franson for PostmediaJASON FRANSON / PST By GRAHAM HICKS Public-sector unions scream at any suggestion their members shoulder some of Alberta’s economic pain. Interest groups go bonkers at the very thought of the provincial teat running dry. Never considered is the source of the wealth that pays the health care workers, the school custodians and subsidizes start-up companies. Which is — duh! — the taxes paid by thousands of small-to-medium sized  Alberta companies and their employees.  At least what’s left of those companies and their payrolls after the “right-sizing” of the past four years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Alberta’s future well-being depends on the entrepreneurial will of those owner/operators. Put yourself ... Read the rest of entry »
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