HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bodega adds to flavour on 124 Street By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 15, 2018

The paella at Bodega 124th Street is packed with the freshest of seafood. Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar on 124th Street 12417 Stony Plain Rd. 780-250-6066 bodegayeg.ca/124 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week (1 a.m. Friday and Saturday) Food:  4 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 There’s always room for another (good) restaurant. Ten years ago, on or close to 124 Street, from Jasper Avenue to 108 Avenue, perhaps three restaurants were around of any quality. Today, there’s 20 or more. Yet good new restaurants in the area still quickly fill. The Bodega/Sabor/Urbano Pizza restaurant group, headed by executive chef Lino Oliveira and operations man Christian Mena,  has opened its third Bodega tapas bar, Bodega 124th Street. Bodega 124th Street is every bit as interesting, tasty and unusual as Bodega Downtown (sharing space with the seafood-specialty Sabor) and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: ATB's Dave Mowat — Yes he did! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 11, 2018

ATB Financial president Dave Mowat.Codie McLachlan / Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun By GRAHAM HICKS Dave Mowat has been ATB Financial’s CEO and President since 2007. Retiring in June, Mowat is unarguably Alberta’s best-known and most visible CEO. Mowat is that rarest of beasts:  A well-liked, amiable, even humble corporate and community leader, yet likely the most dynamic CEO that ATB, a venerable government-owned financial institution, has ever seen. ATB Financial’s marketing department took advantage of Mowat’s media-friendly personality.  His smiling mug advertised ATB’s services in newspapers, billboards, TV and all over social media. Who can forget Dave smiling at the camera, pointing his finger and saying “Who banks on Alberta’s future? We Do!” Most of ATB Financial’s excellent long-term performance (from $20.3 billion in assets in 2007 to $49.6 billion in 2018, from 600,000 to 750,000 customers, currently 5,000 employ ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Corso 32 continues to offer some of Edmonton's best food By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 8, 2018

Corso 32's chicken skin is both crisp and balsamic in a pomegranate sauce. GRAHAM HICKS/ EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Corso 32 10305 Jasper Ave. 780-421-4622 corso32.com 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) No advertised delivery service Food:  5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $60, loaded $120 By GRAHAM HICKS This is Corso 32’s third Weekly Dish review in the Edmonton Sun, both the restaurant and this column having debuted in 2011. In a remarkable tribute to hands-on executive chef and owner Daniel Costa, for the third time the Weekly Dish has awarded Corso 32 with an unprecedented five out of five Suns for its food.  Believe me, there has been no special treatment. Reservations are made through regular channels months in advance, under a different name. The bill is presented and paid in full.  I barely know Costa. He barely knows me. Yet, after another perfect re ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Is Big Oil slip-sliding away in Alberta? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 4, 2018

Stacks from the Petro-Canada Refinery rise above the Enbridge Oil Tank Farm in Sherwood Park, Ab.Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald, file By GRAHAM HICKS There will be no dramatic cleaning out of Enbridge or TransCanada’s Calgary corporate headquarters, no fleet of moving vans heading down the American I-25 highway in a near straight line from Calgary through Denver to Houston. But until Canadian governments realize wealth creation is as important as the environment,  gender imbalance and social justice, Alberta’s major pipeline building companies will slip-slide away to the U.S. It won’t be dramatic. It never is. Corporations don’t want bad-news headlines. But Enbridge and TransCanada build pipelines. Major pipelines are not being built in Canada. Pipelines are being built in the U.S. Funny thing about doing business.  You go where the work is. Both TransCanada and Enbridge are going where the work is, via major acquisitions. In 2016, TransCan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Koutouki lacks quality of past By Graham Hicks, first published Edmonton Sun: May 1, 2018

Koutouki's sliced lamb needed more flavour and juices. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTONSUN Koutouki 10719  124 St. 780-452-5383 koutouki.ca 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m., Sunday 9 p.m.) Closed Monday Delivery: doordash.com Food:  3 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $90 By GRAHAM HICKS Have you ever had a restaurant meal that was just a meal? As the dishes arrived, they were okay, okay, okay, not bad, chewy: When you left, you had a hard time remembering just what you ate. So it is with the current Koutouki Greek Taverna on 124 Street. It’s not-bad, generic Greek cooking in a cheerful Greek atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun. But the food, as far as Greek cooking goes, is ultimately bland, certainly nothing to write home about. And the fact is it is still called Koutouki. The larger-than-life Yanni Psalios made his Koutouki Taverns (he opened and closed them at the d ... Read the rest of entry »

Come and join the first Edmonton Camino five-day walk through the North Saskatchewan river valley, June 15 to June 19, 2018!

Invitation to join the "Edmonton Camino", a five-day walking expedition up the North Saskatchewan River valley from Devon through Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan/Lamoureux, June 15 to June 19, 2018

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Hicks on Biz: Businesses are slip-slidin' away from Alberta to the U.S. By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 27, 2018

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta.Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS As pipelines are stalled, as Canadian regulations overwhelm, as federal/Alberta corporate taxes increase, as “climate challenge” costs (i.e. carbon tax) mount up … Edmonton energy companies are slip-sliding away to the more business-friendly USA. It’s business, says Hi-Kalibre Equipment boss Patrick Rabby.  His company, in a southeast Edmonton industrial park, employs 100 workers, manufacturing specialty anti-blow-out valves for drilling rigs. The energy business in Canada is down. The energy business in the U.S. is booming. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists, bottlenecks in the pipeline system are not being addressed. In the U.S., pipeline bottlenecks are being addressed. In Canada, stymied by environmental extremists and over-regulation, liquefied natural gas (LNG) ports to export natural gas are ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Diners will be drawn to Moth Cafe like a, well, moth to a flame By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, April 24, 2018

The Moth Cafe's risotto takes its colour from taro root, but the secret of its success is a subtle coconut cream. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Photos The Moth Café 9449 Jasper Avenue 780-244-9702 themothcafe.com 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week Group reservations (six or more) on weekdays only Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner/lunch for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $25, loaded $60 By GRAHAM HICKS There is serendipity, there is luck, and there is sound, insightful planning. Like Wayne Gretzky, the trio behind the Moth Café — Khuyen Khuong, her sister Gillian Khuong and their mom Thanh Lu — have figured out where the puck is going, not where it has been. Vegetarian comfort food – not the holier-than-thou ultra-vegan stuff, or the forever-dull brown rice and over-cooked legumes – has been little explored.  But interest in vegetarian cuisine is growing and the  Moth Café introduces a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Ice District delivered as promised By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 20, 2018

By GRAHAM HICKS On May 6, 2010, The Katz Group/Oilers held an open house at the Art Gallery of Alberta, at which the Ice District vision for the downtown was unveiled. Much of it was scoffed at, indeed ridiculed. Pie-in-the-sky, over-ambitious, too big and grandiose for little ol’ Edmonton. That richie rich Oilers owner Daryl Katz was out to rob the taxpayer. Yes sir, he was going to stuff his face with taxpayers’ money. Well here we are, eight years later. Everything has been delivered as promised. Rogers Place is more attractive and has more amenities than was originally proposed. The JW Marriott hotel and condo tower has been topped off at 56 stories, the Stantec Tower continues to grow to its majestic 69 stories, to be Canada’s tallest office tower west of Toronto. The actual Ice District and Rogers Place Arena, once buildings are complete. The original Ice District and arena land was all parking lots. The power of address:  Most of the 264 condos abo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Huge potential but Rooster Cafe has its problems by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 17, 2018

Nobody makes a better bagel board in Edmonton than the Rooster Cafe & Kitchen. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rooster Café & Kitchen 10732 – 82 Ave. 780-413-8045 roosterkitchen.ca Full service: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Partial service: Fri. and Sat. 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service (not the servers): 2 of 5 Suns Breakfast/Lunch for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $20, loaded $40 Once the food gets to your table at the Rooster Café & Kitchen, for the most part it’s very good. It’s getting the food to the table that’s the big problem with this breakfast/lunch deli-restaurant specializing in Jewish-deli style bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and blintzes. And its not the servers’ fault. There are supposed to be at least four bagel varieties. My first solo visit was last Friday at noon: Server: “Sorry, we only have sesame bagels today.&rdq ... Read the rest of entry »