HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Just the Remedy for a long winter By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 15, 2019

Zee Zaidi, proprietor of the ever-growing Remedy Cafe chain, shows off his "chai factory" in the kitchen of his original 109 St. outlet. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS For the longest time, just one Remedy Café/Chai Bar graced our town, a comfy hang-out to meet friends and sip on something besides Starbucks/Second Cup/Tim Horton’s coffee. For 13 years, owner Zee Zaidi appeared content with that one Remedy Cafe. It was in a great location on 109 Street across from the Garneau Theatre, close to the University of Alberta and Old Strathcona. Then, in 2013, a second Remedy Café opened downtown, on Jasper Avenue at 103 Street. Then a third — on 124 Street, a fourth — on Whyte Avenue near 104 Street, a fifth – near Terwillegar Towne and a sixth — in Southgate Mall. STORY CONTINUES BELOW You can’t turn around these days, without seeing the distinctive, bright yellow and red Remedy Café/Chai Bar sign. The bigg ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week is smart marketing By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 12, 2019

With a delicious beef brisket option, the River City Revival House has introduced itself to the public through Downtown Dining Week,. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/ EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Among the detritus of discarded civic slogans, Edmonton once called itself Canada’s Smart City. In fact, the smartest Edmonton project of late has come from within. We are smack dab in the middle of the annual Downtown Dining Week, which superficially is about discounted dining in Edmonton’s downtown. Until Sunday, March 17, 2019, some 50 downtown restaurants are offering two-or-three course lunches and dinners, $18 for lunch, $30 or $45 for dinner. New this year are $18 two-course brunches at about a dozen restaurants. STORY CONTINUES BELOW A  three-course dinner for $45 is great value – about 40% off menu prices – especially at high-end dining rooms like Atlas, Hardware Grill, the Harvest Room, La Ronde, Madison’s Grill, Ruth’s Chris, Sabor, LUX, Chop ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The death of the pine beetle ... or not? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 8, 2019

The needles of pine trees infected by the mountain pine beetle turn red before the tree dies, as visible on Whistlers Mountain in Jasper National Park on July 12, 2018.Janet French / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS One or two weeks, they kept telling us. One or two weeks of blistering cold weather would knock the dreaded pine beetle back on its collective butt. The billions, if not trillions of rice-sized varmints overwintering in our forests were supposed to freeze to a well-deserved death, as the deep cold penetrated into the inner bark off of which the  beetles feed. Well? Well? We just had the coldest February on record for the past 40 years! STORY CONTINUES BELOW Are the pine beetles frozen toast?  In the Battle of Alberta, will the pine beetles be stopped in their current occupied territory — an arc of infected forest swinging from Grande Prairie to Slave Lake to Whitecourt, over to Hinton and Jasper National Park? Umm … ahh … mayb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tzin Wine & Tapas still serving up quality By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 5, 2019

Tzin's mouth-watering bacon and maple/balsamic/apple crostini. GRAHAM HICKS/Edmonton SunEdmonton Tzin Wine & Tapas 10115 104 St. 780.428.846 Tzin.ca Online reservations: opentable.ca No listed delivery service Tues. to Sat. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Fri. and Sat. midnight) Closed Sundays and Mondays Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $70 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Within a glowing review of Cyrille Koppert’s new Partake Restaurant some weeks ago, this column mentioned the Bodega Tapas & Wine Bars, Bar Bricco and Pip as other small restaurants offering “excellent light fare, cozy atmosphere and attentive service.” STORY CONTINUES BELOW I forgot the mothership of the tapas-and-wine movement in town,  the originator of the small-plate menu, cozy atmosphere with multiple wines by the glass … Tzin Wine & Tapas! Now 12 years old and doing just fine ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: North American Construction soars from the ashes By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: March 1, 2019

North American Construction's President and COO Joe Lambert is dwarfed by one of the company's 300 monster haul-trucks.GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton North American Construction’s president and COO (chief operations officer) Joe Lambert sheds his corporate identity when he walks into the storied Spruce Grove company’s enormous, new, state-of-the-art repair/re-build facility in the Acheson Industrial Park. Lambert’s like a kid in a sandbox, showing off several of North American’s 240-ton to 400-ton earth-moving trucks in the shop for refurbishment and rebuilding. These are not just trucks, they are TRUCKS — some of the biggest in the world. With its most significant expansion since 2012, the publicly-traded company  purchased all of former competitor Aecon’s contract-mining division, including its entire dirt-moving fleet, in November. The 26 240-tonners added from Aecon has bumped North American’s dirt-hauling fleet to 300 trucks, from 100-ton car ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Formosa Bistro worth a trip to the south side By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: February 26, 2019

Formosa Bistro's gua bao, with its airy dough exterior and egg and pork belly within, is a delicious winner. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Formosa Bistro Taiwanese Restaurant 9314 34 Ave. 780-603-0110 Formosabistro.com Online reservations: opentable.ca (or Formosa website) Delivery: Skipthedishes.com. Tues. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fri. Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $20; loaded $42 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS A few weeks ago, thanks to the Chinatown Dining Week festival, two more “authentic” 97 Street restaurants were added to my list of excellent hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants Cui Han Gui Lin Noodle House and Fuqing Lanzhoo Noodles are small, family-run operations with no marketing, no interior design, little else but excellent, bargain-priced regional dishes. Before Christmas, CBC re ... Read the rest of entry »

Lard Tundering Jaysus! Come From Away is one terrific musical, eh? Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Come From Away Broadway Across Canada production Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Tuesday, March 12 to Sunday, March 17, 2019 Tickets $60 to $250 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Lard Tunderin Jaysus, there’s a million reasons to shell out for this gem of a show, which, somewhat ironically, is a major Broadway hit and now touring its way across Canada, in Edmonton at the Jubilee Auditorium from March 12 to 17. It’s achingly real. None of the righteousness/indignation/angst of the chattering classes infects this show. Come From Away is about real, every-day people in  the small town (population, about 10,000) of Gander, Newfoundland, whose lives are turned upside down for three to four days. Thirty-eight jets carrying some 7,000 passengers from every part of the globe had to land at the Gander airport, having been ordered out of the air  following the airborne terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Centre towers.   Why Gander? Because it had ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton — air-cargo gateway to Asia By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 22, 2019

The airport tower at Edmonton International Airport.Greg Southam / Edmonton Journal By GRAHAM HICKS Two weeks ago this column told the story of how the Edmonton International Airport (EIA), in the late-’90s, overcame internal conflict (consolidating two airports into one) and the indifference, if not outright hostility, to its very existence from the airline industry itself. Courageous decisions made 20 years ago are being splendidly reaped today. The EIA is Canada’s fifth biggest (in total passengers) airport. Our “Airport City” has become a powerful wealth generator/economic driver for all Northern Alberta. Today, in more supportive circumstances, similar long-sighted EIA decisions are being made. Worldwide air cargo has magnificent growth potential. Customers around the world demand faster delivery of high-value products. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Readying for the next 20 years, the Edmonton airport authority sees itself ideally positioned as a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: A self-guided culinary tour of Jasper By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 19, 2019

By GRAHAM HICKS It’s been a tough winter, especially when the bank account has no room for a sun/beach holiday. Non-stop cold, treacherous ice and eternal darkness plays havoc on the emotions. When your spouse curls up tighter than a fetus for days on end … So here’s Plan B. Jasper! It’s still winter … but winter in the mountains can be a tonic. STORY CONTINUES BELOW You don’t have to ski, snowshoe, or take teeth-chattering hikes. You can do nothing but eat!!! Supported by out-of-province tourists in the summer, by skiers from Edmonton in winter, and year-round by local residents, Jasper’s culinary scene is alive and kicking. I pried Maria out of her fetal position, set the Toyota’s controls for Jasper. Off we went for a two-night, three-day self-guided-with-advice Jasper Culinary Tour. The idea was to discover/rediscover some Jasper dining gems – especially the ones the locals consider their own. Prices, incidentally,&nbs ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's restaurant crisis By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 15, 2019

Labour Minister Christina Gray watches worker Shawn Mohammed make her donair after speaking with co-owner Adil Asim of Prime Time Donair & Kabab, to discuss recent changes to Alberta's employment standards in downtown Edmonton, January 23, 2018. Ed Kaiser/PostmediaEd Kaiser Ed Kaiser / Ed Kaiser/Postmedia It won’t go down in Alberta political history as the gaffe on which turned the as-yet-uncalled 2019 provincial election. But, to my mind, the Rachel Notley government pounded some final nails into its coffin this past Tuesday. Labour Minister Christina Gray deliberately snubbed an emergency meeting here in Edmonton, called by the Restaurants Canada association and entitled “Restaurant Realities: Raising Our Voice In Alberta.” Gray was scheduled to speak, alongside opposition party leaders Jason Kenney and Stephen Mandel who did address the restaurant-owner crowd. But Gray’s office informed the organizers the day before that Gray had to attend to a “pres ... Read the rest of entry »