HicksBiz Blog

Category: food


Hicks Weekly Dish: Opposite but two great places to eat BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016

Bodega Highlands 6509 112 Ave. 780-757-0137 bodegahighlands.ca 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fri/Sat) Closed Sundays (No reservations outside of groups) Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $30; loaded, $60   Red Goose Restaurant 9625 66 Ave. 780-435-8661 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sundays Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Lunch for two (excluding beverages and tip): basic, $10; loaded $24   While as opposite as opposite can be, Bodega Highlands and Red Goose are two terrific places to go eat. Highlands is charming in an upscale, informal, old-fashioned way — as if you’ve wandered into a tapas bar in Lisbon ...with a 40C difference in temperature. Red Goose is a magic portal into the 1950s. It’s not trying to be kitschy or retro-fashionable. Korean owners Hank Lee (server) and his wife Chon Lee (cook) simply like the place the way it is ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Cooking classes from top chefs BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Besides their cooking, all the Christmas in November celebrity chefs at Jasper Park Lodge this past weekend shared one undeniable talent. All were all expert communicators – using humour, home-spun stories, bantering with the guests to create the most entertaining of cooking demonstrations. Up in Jasper, Christmas in November is an enormously successful Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge tradition. The three-day program in North America’s most beautiful wilderness lodge includes all food and wine, gala dinners, accommodation, gifts and, at the heart of the matter, a choice of seven cooking classes with the 14 guest chefs. After 28 years, Christmas in November’s popularity is such that it has grown into three packages of three days each – the opening weekend, mid-week and the closing weekend. Each session sees 400 to 500 registered participants filling Jasper Park Lodge and kicking off its Christmas festivities during a traditionally slow time of year in the mountains. Thanks to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Syphay needs to review their service BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2016

Syphay – Thai and Lao Cuisine 6010 104 St. 780-438-8338 syphay.com Mon. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sun. – closed Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): Basic $30; Loaded, $60 My previous experience with Laotian food was unfortunate.   I’d ordered a minced meat salad. It looked innocent enough. But a zealot in the kitchen had poured a few dozen teaspoons of chili powder into the mix. My mouth – and I do enjoy extremely spicy Thai and Indian cuisine – was on fire for hours. One bad experience should not a life-long bias form! It was time to explore this national cuisine once again. Laotian food has its fans. Several of the city’s top Thai restaurants – Syphay, Viphalay, and Boualouang - are advertised as “Thai and Lao cuisine.”. Laos itself is mysterious and appealing. The small, mountainous land-locked coun ... Read the rest of entry »

Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge: Introduction of the Man Cabin

The famous  three-day Christmas in November celebrations  at the Fairmont Jasper Place Lodge, the same package repeated three times (Nov. 4-7, Nov. 7-10 and Nov. 10-13) this year, is a hoot-and-a-half of getaway fun – with 400 to 500 people per time slot out to thoroughly enjoy themselves with receptions, galas, dances, food and craft demonstrations and wine, wine, wine. But, face it, for 27 years Christmas in November has been primarily designed and attended by women. It works mostly as a three-day getaway for small groups of female friends, and family combinations.For whatever reasons, food and decoration themed events don’t hold that much interest to men. Except … times are changing.  More men enjoy being hobby chefs, even outside of the summer BBQ months. More men are beginning to come to the Jasper Park Lodge’s Christmas in November with their wives or significant others. The organizers this year came up with a bold new concept – why not a “Man Cabi ... Read the rest of entry »

Wine-tasting: Wines from Brazil's Vinicola Salton winery by GRAHAM HICKS

Wine-tasting:  Wines from Brazil's Vinicola Salton winery By Graham Hicks Edmonton, Alberta, Canada First posted Nov. 7, 2016 hicksbiz.com graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com @hicksbiz Edmonton wine stores have shelves upon shelves of Canadian, American, Italian, New Zealand, Australian and French wines.  There’s fewer Chilean, South African, German and Spanish wines, but still some choice. But when it comes to Brazilian wines, you’ll be lucky to find a few brands on a back shelf. Which is why Mauricio Salton and Cesar Baldasso, of Brazil’s Vinicola Salton winery, found themselves 11,000 kilometres away from home, tucking into tapas at the  Bodega Highlands tapas bar and kitchen on a cool November evening. Producing 1.25 million cases of wine annually, Salton is one of the biggest wineries in Brazil and definitely the oldest, started by Mauricio’s great grandfather and his great grandfather’s brothers in 1910. Brazil likes its home-grown wines, especially sparkl ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: McDonald's and Chutneys Indian Grill: A tale of evolving fast food tastes BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2016

McDonald’s, the biggest fast-food chain in the world, is re-inventing itself to stay current. Chutneys Indian Grill is a kid full of dreams, a new fast-food franchise concept originating in Edmonton, with one prototype outlet in the fast-growing suburbs east of Mill Woods. Joe Sangha and his partners in Chutneys are betting the world is ready for a healthy version of Indian fast food, delivered in the pick ‘n’ choose style of a Subway or Chipotle. In a new building in a new shopping common south of Whitemud Drive on 17 Street, the Chutneys’ serving process is familiar, the food less so. As in a Subway, you start at one end and work your way down the serving counter, pointing at that what you want to add to your meal. First up is the base – a freshly-pressed and cooked “burroti” (see below), or brown rice, or salad greens. Then a protein, a sauce (gently westernized versions of butter sauce, tikka masala, vindaloo or daal), multiple toppings (cucumber, onions, toma ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Sloppy Hoggs is in excellent hands BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2016

Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus 9563-118 Ave. 780-477-2408 sloppyhoggsbbq.com Tuesday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $24; fully loaded, $50 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns When a top-notch independent restaurant changes ownership, as happened earlier this year with the popular southern barbecue Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus on 118th Avenue, you worry. Will quality drop? Will the ribs be as expected? The good news is the new owners recognized a good thing when they saw it. The sale included everything down to the meat smokers and Sloppy Hoggs’ BBQ recipes. Nothing has changed other than a few more additions to the menu. Six of us descended on Sloppy Hoggs this past weekend, hungry and ready to chow down. The first impression was promising – the restaurant was bustling on a Sunday evening with several birthday parties in pro ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Clementine’s has much more to come BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2016

Clementine 11957 Jasper Ave. barclementine.ca 5 p.m. to midnight, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday Closed Sundays and Mondays  (No reservations. no phone) Food: 4.5 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $40; fully loaded, $70 It’s far too early to tell – like declaring a Stanley Cup winner two weeks into the season -  but Chef Roger Letourneau at the newly opened Clementine has the potential to be the next culinary star to come out of Edmonton.  On the storefront street level of the new 35-story Pearl Tower on Jasper Avenue West, Clementine (or Bar Clementine, the name goes back and forth) is a jewel in the pearl.  Through a winter-proof vestibule, one enters a time-warp, magically transported to a classic European bar circa the 1930s – all dark polished woods, sturdy tables and counters, dominated by a massive curved bar behind which stands rows of spirits of every colour and hue. Co ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: The micro-brewery explosion BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 04, 2016

“It smells of grainy and metallic caramel malt, a twinge of earthy yeast, ethereal oily nuts, leafy, herbal, and floral hop bitters. The taste is bready and moderately biscuity caramel malt, a dark orchard fruitiness, earthy yeast notes, and laid-back weedy, herbal, hay-like hoppiness.” We may not be in Coors country anymore, Toto. These wondrous if unintelligible words from Brady White of thebeerdiaries.tv are not in praise of a fancy French wine, but are a tribute to Rale Yard Red Ale, a specialty beer brewed by the Olds College brewmaster program. Rale Yard is made in the heart of ranching country, its barley grown on the hard-scrabble prairie. Beer is the new wine. Different kinds of beer are being “paired” with food at multi-course dinners in better restaurants. Beer is a new food group, being considered a food flavour unto itself. In 2003, seven craft breweries were producing beer in Alberta, including Edmonton’s venerable micro-brewery Alley Kat and Calgary& ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: Izakaya Dorinku needs some explanation BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Izakaya Dorinku 10205-82 Avenue 780-988-9760 dorinku.ca 5:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, till 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 3 of 5 stars Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $20; fully loaded, $60 These Izakaya Dorinku people – and there are lots of them — certainly are sociable. When a customer enters the Japanese-style gastro-pub, the staff gustily shouts out “irasshaimase”! As Izakaya Dorinku is a hit, “irasshaimase” (welcome in Japanese) reverberates throughout the stylish but casual drinking/eating establishment. The many young, mostly Oriental female servers never stop ensuring everything is fine. Upon leaving the Old Strathcona establishment (in the new Station Condos building east of the tracks), the front-of-house boss walks you to the door, holds it open, then stands outside, waving goodbye. Izakayas are the gastro pubs of Japan. Found everywhere in that country, izakayas are a vi ... Read the rest of entry »