HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's carbon tax nonsense By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 22, 2018

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci.Gavin Young / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS So the Alberta carbon tax is now in its second year of implementation. So far, it is doing next to nothing toward achieving this government’s extraordinarily expensive Climate Leadership Plan goals. So far, it is, as respected University of Calgary economic Jack Mintz says, just another “government tax-and-spend slush fund.” This tax is a miserable failure. It is adding dramatically to the cost of gas at the pump – 6.73 cents per litre hidden within the overall price per litre – without producing results. Vehicle dealerships are not reporting a dramatic shift from SUVs to sub-compacts. Most individuals cannot dramatically reduce their miles travelled. Gasoline sales have not dropped. It’s an especially cruel tax on home heating. It’s not like any home owner today can further renovate to  reduce the amount of natural gas used to heat our homes.  From Jan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Ampersand 27 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 19, 2018

Who would have thought, besides chef Fan Zhang, that pureed popcorn would go so well with scallops? Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Ampersand 27 10612 82 (Whyte) Ave. 780-757-2727 ampersand27.com Delivery: Skipthedishes.com Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to late, seven days a week 10 a.m. opening Saturdays and Sundays Dinner for two, just food – basic $34, loaded $65 By GRAHAM HICKS The good news is Ampersand 27 continues to be one of Old Strathcona’s best restaurants. The bad news is that the restaurant has lost the culinary edge it once had, years ago, under its initial chef Nathin Bye. It’s a handsome space that has needed little renovation since the 200-seat space originally opened more than a decade ago. In the dining room, the ceilings are high, it is spacious with acres of natural lighting. An informal classic decor is based on elegant wood. There is – like every restaurant these da ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta NDP not an utter failure — here's why By GRAHAM HICKS first published Edmonton Sun, June 15, 2018

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is applauded at a press conference after speaking about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, in Edmonton on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.Jason Franson / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS While admitting such may cause gagging and vomiting among those opposed to the current Alberta government, our moderate socialists have done a few good things. Ten good things about the Rachel Notley New Democrat government of Alberta. 1. Rachel Notley herself: In three years, Notley has built a remarkable reputation. Even the opposition leaders agree she is fair, principled, honest and hard-working. Her unequivocal support for the Trans Mountain pipeline has earned the grudging respect of the oil/gas industry. If the New Dems are re-elected next year, she’ll be the main reason why 2. Health Minister/Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman’s amazing statement – for a socialist – that money for social programs doesn’t grow on trees. Commenting on the western premiers&r ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish — Kanto 98 St. Eatery a culinary adventure By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 12, 2018

Kanto's take on Liempo - sweet, silky BBQ'd pork belly slices. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Kanto 98 St. Eatery 10636 98 St. 780-244-7388 Kanto98st.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week Delivery: Skipthedishes.com and UberEATS Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $22, loaded $45 By GRAHAM HICKS It’s not that Chef Edgar Gutierrez hasn’t enough to do. As the executive chef and partner in Tres Carnales and Rostizado, he oversees two highly successful kitchens. The downtown Tres Carnales has been packed since it opened seven years ago. Rostizado, with its unique take on Mexican, Latino and South American cuisine, is fast becoming one of Edmonton’s top restaurants. But within the success, Gutierrez always had a hankering to open a restaurant paying tribute to his Filipino heritage (he came to Canada from the Philippines in his pre-teens), at the same time applying his own style and in ... Read the rest of entry »

The Enduring Grandeur of Les Miserables, the musical/opera - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium July 3 to 8, 2018, review by GRAHAM HICKS

Les Miserables Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, July 3 -8, 2018 (seven shows) Tickets start at about $50 including fees/taxes Produced by Broadway Across Canada Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com So put up your hands, if you have seen Les Miserables at least once. All of you? Not surprising.  Various editions of the touring Broadway show have visited Edmonton/Calgary in 1990, 1992, 2013, and now 2018. The 2012 movie, with Hugh Jackman in the lead role, was faithful to the script/book, and again brought this magnificent story and score to public consciousness. Put up your hands, if you’d like to see it again … and again … and again. All of you? Hardly surprising! Les Miserables is fast securing its reputation as one of the 20th Century’s most enduring operas/musical theatre. It will likely, over time, join the 20 or so shows that are the staples of the opera world. The book upon which it is based, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, is considered one of t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: That Edmonton airport bus service By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 8, 2018

The ETS bus to Edmonton International Airport shown at the start of service in 2012.Bruce Edwards / Bruce Edwards By GRAHAM HICKS The ETS (Edmonton Transit Service) 747 bus route – from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Century Park southern terminal to the Edmonton International Airport – is an evidence-based, practical measurement of the city/region/provincial commitment to urban transportation, tourism, and general efficiency. Any city worth its salt has user-friendly, inexpensive and modern public transit between its airport and downtown. Toronto is a North American leader for airport-to-downtown options. The very modern and efficient UP Train leaves every 15 minutes and provides 25-minute service from Pearson International to the downtown Union Station transport hub. The $12 fare ($6 for seniors and students) is heavily subsidized. Or, for $3.25, you can take a regular Toronto bus from the airport to the Kipling subway station, hence to downtown – about an hour and a b ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The bureaucratic delight of cannabis regulation By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 1, 2018

NewLeaf Cannabis is one of a number of companies that plan to open locations in Edmonton.AL Charest / Al Charest/Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Third of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) So it was Saturday night on the acreage. Around the campfire a few joints were circulating. Your pals in halter-tops, tank-tops and ball caps were talking about the impending legalization of pot. Hey, they said, blinded by their brilliance. Let’s open a pot shop! I suppose … if among your pals was a lawyer, an accountant, a government-relations expert, a cannabis expert, a realtor, a seasoned retailer and plenty of investors. In reality, this horse has long left the barn.  The regulations surrounding the upcoming growing, distribution and selling of pot in Alberta are so complicated and laborious that amateurs need not apply — regulations by the federal government, regulations from the provincial government through the Alberta Gambling Liquor Cannabis ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Manor Bistro offers quality, atmosphere By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 29 2018

Daily specials, such as this goat-cheese crusted salmon filet, are a highlight of the Manor Bistro's offerings. GRAHAM HICKS/PostmediaEdmonton Manor Bistro 10109-125 St. 780-482-2577 Themanorbistro.com No advertised delivery Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): Basic, $45; loaded, $80 By GRAHAM HICKS If you are a fan of Old World ambience — of finishing carpentry from a bygone age, plank floors built to last for centuries rather than decades, of solid, ornate wood-carved tables, of big  heavy windows that slide up and down — you will adore the Manor Bistro. Built at the turn of the 20th century in what was then Edmonton’s far west end, one block beyond the curve of Jasper Avenue into 124 Street,  the lovely old home that is the Manor Bistro somehow survived the wrecker’s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: This gold rush is green By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 25, 2018

Trays of newly introduced mother plants at the Aurora Sky facility on February 5, 2018 at the Edmonton International Airport. Shaughn Butts / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Second of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) Welcome to the green gold rush. In just a few months, Canada will be the first developed country in the world to fully legalize the growth, distribution and consumption of all cannabis products. A Deloitte study suggests recreational marijuana sales alone could be as high as $8.7 billion per year in Canada – like the sale of all alcoholic beverages (besides beer), and that’s just a start. Add all the support business (security, transport, processing, research) and the potential economic impact “approaches $23 billion.” Everybody’s speculating in this market which, other than medical marijuana, has yet to sell a penny of government-approved pot. The numbers around Aurora Cannabis, soon moving its headquarters from V ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: JOEY Bell Tower continues tradition of great, upscale-casual cuisine By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 22, 2018

JOEY's signature lettuce wrap is a delicious, nutritious starter. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN JOEY Bell Tower 10310 101 St. 780-990-5639 Joeyrestaurants.com 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week (Sundays, 11 a.m. to midnight) No advertised delivery Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS They remain the best of breed. Nobody does casual, up-scale and comfortable like the four JOEY restaurants in town. Of the four, the downtown JOEY Bell Tower gets extra marks as the latest and most chic. Nobody else … other than Earls (six locations in town, the flagship being Earls Tin Palace) and Cactus Club (two locations): They may have different “brands” and slightly differing ownership, but all three chains have more-or-less the same menus and the same commitment to quality.  The three restaurant groups are intertwined, owned or influenced as they are by th ... Read the rest of entry »