HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Madison's Grill a hidden gem BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015

Madison’s Grill Union Bank Inn, 10053 Jasper Avenue 780-401-2222 unionbankinn.com Weekdays: breakfast, lunch and dinner to 10 p.m. Weekends: brunch, dinner Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (just food): basic, $75; loaded, $110 Madison’s Grill deserves more respect. Here’s this gem of a fine dining restaurant in the heart of the downtown, in the beautiful and historic Union Bank Inn boutique hotel on Jasper Avenue. The waiter pulls out your chair for you, the linen is crisp, the cutlery lined up Downton Abbey style. And yet when Edmontonians think of downtown fine-dining elegance, they default to the Hotel Macdonald’s Harvest Room, The Hardware Grill, Characters and La Ronde in the Chateau Lacombe. They just don’t think of Madison’s. This could be about marketing or the lack thereof. Madison’s seems quite content out of the limelight. Since chef Blair Lebsack left five years ago to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Budget 2015 a disappointment BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015

Forgive the disappointment. I had hoped beyond hope that Jim Prentice would have the vision and determination to truly, with this budget, start weaning Alberta off its addiction to resource revenues. I had thought we'd see a financial plan that wouldn't push things off to the dim, distant and unforeseeable future. I had hoped that, despite the collapse in resource revenue from $8.7 billion to an expected $2.9 billion, Thursday's budget speech would be packed with steely resolve to stop spending resource revenue as it comes through the door. I hoped Prentice would announce and then stick to a serious resource revenue savings plan that would, one day, enable the Heritage Trust Fund to absorb these wild gyrations in oil/gas revenues and then release, on an annual basis, a steady, predictable flow of reinvested oil/gas revenue to the provincial treasury. I'm a simple guy when it comes to money management, not the sharpest knife in that particular drawer. But at the end of the day, despite all the t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Bothy's fare won't disappoint BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015

The Bothy (Downtown) Wine & Whisky Bar 10124 124 St. 780 760 8060 thebothy.ca Open 3 p.m. Closings: Sun.-Mon 9 pm; Tues 10 pm; Wed 11 pm; Thurs 12 midnight; Fri-Sat 2 am Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns The Bothy Wine & Whisky Bars have been around too long to be seen as a new phenomenon. The original on the south side was one of first pubs in town to introduce seriously good food along with an extensive selection of wines and whiskys. Today, dozens of establishments do the same thing, among them The Glass Monkey, the Fionn MacCool chain, the venerable Rose & Crown and, for wine and light eats, the Wine Room on Jasper Avenue. Bothy proprietor Doug Townshend was happy enough with the original Bothy south side to expand into the The Bothy Downtown in the heart of Edmonton’s latest dining precinct, 124 Street from Jasper Avenue to 108 Avenue. No doubt Townshend fell in love with the space just around the corner where Jas ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Groat bridge debacle is fascinating, but trivial BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2015

A lot of lawyers went to work early this morning," chuckled the veteran politician on hearing that four girders being installed at 2 a.m. Monday on the new 102 Avenue bridge across Groat Road had somehow simultaneously buckled. The lawyers won't be dealing with this minor but intriguing catastrophe, at least not for a few months. Yes, it is minor. Nobody was hurt or injured. The buckled girders, some 160 tonnes worth of combined weight, did not come crashing down into Groat Ravine. Traffic will be disrupted on Groat Road and 102 Avenue. That's an annoying inconvenience, not a crisis. The engineering/building community is intrigued. There's no obvious explanation. The experts consulted for this column dismiss the high winds theory. Alberta's bridge engineering/construction standards are among the world's best. The parties involved -- Supreme Steel, AECOM engineering and construction, Graham Construction - have excellent reputations. All are experienced bridge builders. Nobody cuts corners. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: It's Downtown Dining Week BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2015

Welcome to Downtown Dining Week and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the best dining deals in town through this coming Sunday, March 22 - $15 for top-notch lunches, $28 for “normal” three-course dinners, $48 for three-course “executive” dinners that would normally cost $65 or more at restaurants the Weekly Dish routinely awards four Suns or more out of five. Restaurateurs are usually as co-operative as wolverines, given the intense competition for the dining dollar. This is a town with some 2,500 restaurants. At the high end, not that many folks can afford to routinely dine out at the $200-per-couple level. Last time I looked, most of us were middle-class, struggling with mortgage and car payments, raising kids. By the time the house was paid off, we’re saving for retirement. Somehow the Edmonton Downtown Association’s executive director Jim Taylor persuaded 33 of the downtown’s better eateries to love each other, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Taylor ... Read the rest of entry »

Book of Mormon knows no limits - review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted March 27, 2015

Review of Book of Mormon Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 24 to 29, 2015 (Sold out, other than last-minute lottery style rush tickets for $25) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I never watched much South Park on TV, but I read enough about the animated comedy to know it broke all the rules of pleasantry and politeness, was one of the first shows on widely-watched TV in the early ’90s to break the profanity barrier, and was screamingly funny through humourous commentary that made fun of just about every American icon, be it human or otherwise. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were natural heirs to the irreverent, damn the social torpedoes school of American satirical humour that broke through with George Carlin, gestated in Saturday Night Live, spawned The Simpsons and John Belushi. So it wasn’t surprising that Parker, Stone and third collaborator Robert Lopez again broke all the rules when they wrote Book of Mormon, certainly the most successful Broadway s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Odds still on long-term Alberta prosperity BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015

Spread out those Tarot cards, old gypsy queen, and tell us whither goest oil and gas. Are we doomed to $50 or lower oil prices forever? Will excess greenhouse gases caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas raise the world’s temperatures until all is parched desert and the oceans are metres higher due to polar ice melt? To save the planet, as per American President Barack Obama’s line of thought, must the world end its reliance on fossil fuels - within our children’s lifetime? If demand for oil and gas dwindles, will Alberta turn into a have-not province? Will 100,000 young people a year leave for greener pastures in (choke) Ontario and Quebec? The gypsy queen, like everybody else, does not know the future. But logic and clear thinking suggest Obama is likely wrong, that the odds are excellent for long-term prosperity in this province, based on environmentally sound oil and gas production, based on sound, long-term, provincial government planning and policy. Her ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Jasper hoteliers' success story BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, MARCH 06, 2015

JASPER – After the Mountain Park Lodges (MPL) annual shareholders’ meeting, as has been their custom for some 47 years since the first MPL Jasper hotel opened its doors, three generations of MPL owners gathered for dinner last weekend at its new hotel, The Crimson on Jasper’s Connaught Drive. In the mid-1960s, when the Marmot Basin ski resort consisted of little more than a few tow ropes, the Jasper National Park administration expanded the Jasper townsite footprint, putting four new hotel-suitable properties up for very long-term leases. Six hiking/skiing/outdoor enthusiasts and Edmonton doctors – obstetricians Jack Day, Tim Cameron, Steve Parlee and Leo Gans, anaesthesiologist Dr. Martin Hagen and his wife Dr. Odette Hagen - decided to combine business with pleasure. Finding accommodation on weekend Jasper ski trips was problematic. Why not build their own hotel? Seven ownership shares, at $14,000 each, were divided between the docs, the Millar family (Millar Western), the F ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Evil Dave's food heavenly BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 03, 2015

Evil Dave’s Grill 622 Patricia Avenue Jasper, Alberta 780-852-3323 evildavesgrill.com 5 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. weekends Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns The name and the theme are a bit wacko, but the food is really, really good. Good thing we’d made a reservation at Evil Dave’s Grill on a Saturday evening in Jasper. The cheerful restaurant was packed, the ambience having much to do with the glow that skiers give off after a beautiful day at the nearby Marmot Basin ski resort. Amusingly, given the mildly adult tongue-in-cheek ‘hellish’ theme, the eatery was full of kids. The ski hill had been alive with munchkins, thanks to the Jasper Junior Olympics. Good food for the parents, kid-friendly staff and a kids’ menu bodes well for a loyal family clientele. It’s Jasper. There’s magic in the air at the best of times and Evil Dave’s had a great buzz on. Jasper has more than its share of excellent c ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bodega a true tapas experience BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015

Bodega Tapas + Wine Bar at Sabor 10220 103 St. 780-757-1114 (Facebook page) Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fri./Sat. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays (No reservations) Dinner for two, just food — basic $22, loaded $45 Tapas, claims Bodega Tapas Bar partner and chef Lino Olivera, started when an enterprising bartender to some king on some beach placed a slice of ham, or a “tapper” on top of the king’s goblet to keep the sand out. Obviously the king liked the ham as well as the wine and thus the great Spanish/Portuguese tradition of tapas — small dish snacks — began. A back story is always entertaining, especially as light conversation is a perfect accompaniment to tapas. A more mundane origin of tapas cites Spanish sherry drinkers using ham slices to keep fruit flies out of their drinks. We have neither sand nor fruit flies. Snow rarely drifts into our glasses. But t ... Read the rest of entry »
Pages: Prev1234567...35NextReturn Top