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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Parkallen Restaurant retools for the next 35 years By GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST PUBLISHED EDMONTON SUN, November 15, 2017

Parkallen Restaurant 7018-109 St. Parkallen.com 587-520-6401 Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight Closed Sunday Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $45; loaded, $90 FOOD: 4 OF 5 SUNS AMBIENCE: 4 OF 5 SUNS SERVICE: 4 OF 5 SUNS All the successful “classic” restaurants of Edmonton – i.e. those 30 years or older still providing excellent dining experiences – share a common trait. They evolve – adding new dishes here and there, quietly dropping the dated stuff  but ensuring customer favourites stay on the menu. Above all, they’re willing to change … which is why they thrive. The Parkallen Restaurant was a favourite pizza joint of the inner southwest when Habib and Nahia Rustom opened in 1982, all by itself at that time on 109 Street in the stretch between Whyte and 61 Avenues. Son Joseph grew up in the business. As a young adult full of ideas, he set the Parkallen on a course that served it well for de ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Ramen all over the city By GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST PUBLISHED EDMONTON SUN: November 7, 2017

Once upon a time, a good chicken soup was the ticket to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Today, it’s ramen. The Japanese soup/broth – long-brewed pork bones in which all the fat and marrow etc. cooks into cloudy white creamy liquid – has exploded in popularity. Since the Prairie Noodle Shop opened two years ago, at least 10  traditional ramen shops have sprung up across Metropolitan Edmonton. And why not? The big bowl of creamy pork broth over noodles, slices of pork belly and various other accoutrements is a very fine comfort food and a meal unto itself. Down a full bowl of ramen with its meat slices, slurpy noodles, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, boiled eggs and multiple other options … you are warmed from feet to head, ready once again to brave this new winter’s cold. In Japan, ramen is as popular as hamburgers are here, being a quick but healthy food that can be downed in minutes if one is in a hurry. Like hamburgers, there are literally thousands of ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: London Local offers jolly good food: GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: October 24, 2017

London Local 2307 Ellwood Dr. SW (South of Henday Drive, off 91 Street.) 780-752-2244 London-local.ca @LondonLocalYEG Tuesday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to late Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $50; loaded, $90 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns London Local is a veritable mountain of paradox. On the one hand, a new, contemporary restaurant specializing in British cuisine (i.e. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales) is extraordinary unto itself. Isn’t  “fine dining” and “English” an oxymoron?  Hasn’t the food world always laughed at the notion that these chilly, perpetually rain-soaked islands actually have a food culture … besides mushy peas, mashed potatoes and sausages?  Aren’t Indian curries the tongue-in-cheek “official” cuisine of the British Isles? On the o ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: The Bedouins: A desert oasis on the northside BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017

The name is a draw unto itself.  “The Bedouins” – brilliant! It conjures up mythical images of Arabian desert nomads – Lawrence of Arabia, The English Patient, that kind of thing. Do Bedouin tribes have a distinct Middle Eastern cuisine? Not really. The two savvy partners in North Edmonton’s The Bedouins restaurant readily admit the name is more impressionistic, a brand rather than actual Bedouin dishes. While Bedouin tribes dot the desert landscape from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, maitre d’ Emad Elgaddafi and chef Ashruf Oun are offering North African cooking, the distinctive tajeens and beautiful lamb dishes of the Maghreb – the coastal regions of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. If there’s a regional bias, it’s Libyan. Pasta shows up more often than grains at The Bedouins, as Libya was once an Italian colony. Elgaddafi and Oun are of Libyan descent, Canada’s gain when civil war forced the two dynamic young men out of their ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Avila Arepa an example of “soul” BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

Avila Arepa Urban Venezuelan Kitchen 780-328-7887 Myavilaarepa.com @AvilaArepa Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $18; loaded, $35 Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns  It’s so easy to say a restaurant lacks soul, far more challenging to define just what soul is. Well here’s a restaurant that, by its very being, is chock-a-block full of soul. We walked into the small, maybe 40-seat Avila Arepa close to the 109 Street end of Whyte Avenue, to be warmly greeted by a middle-aged fellow in a clean black T-shirt and a red bandana wrapped around his head. Could we have a table as far as possible from the restaurant speakers’ music, we asked. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll turn down the music.” Which he did, immediately. Rolando Sandrea was obviously the owner, manager and order-taker. Despite working som ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Edmonton Fringe puts you close to a food cornucopia BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Starting Thursday, it’s Fringe time. Fringe time means Old Strathcona time. The kids – university students, the party-till-you-drop group – know Old Strathcona well. They go dancing, drinking and snacking from bar to bar – from The Pint to O2’s to The Black Dog … The rest of us, when we head down the Whyte Avenue strip, it’s more to dine than to drink — although the occasional $3.50 happy hour pint is attractive. There’s an unbelievable 60-plus food joints, along or on either side of, Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) from 101 Street to 107 Street. Sixty! And that’s not counting the restaurants further south between 103 an 104 Streets. If you’re planning to Fringe, here’s the Weekly Dish Guide to Old Strathcona’s good eats, based on past Weekly Dish reviews, or reports from trusted friends. Pubs, bars and coffee shops have been excluded, unless they are known for decent food. Tier 1 Packrat Louie: This lovely restaur ... Read the rest of entry »

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 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 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 »

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 »
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