HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: What will buying pot look like after it's legal? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 20, 2018

These are examples of the small containers in which legal, AGLC-approved cannabis will be sold in Alberta come October 17, 2018. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Somehow I had this vision of Alberta’s new legal pot stores (as of October 17, 2018) being like a Bulk Barn, where you would scoop your favourite cannabis buds out of a bin, fill your baggie, weigh, pay at the cashier then home you’d go to roll joints. Nope, nope, nope. While we are soon to embark on the Wild West of legalized marijuana, this Wild West comes with rules as decreed by Health Canada, the province, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) and municipalities. I toured Alberta pot-retailer-in-waiting Fire & Flower’s concept store on Jasper Avenue West. This is no Bulk Barn.  It’s more like an Apple or a Nike store. Spotless, modern, art on the walls, display merchandising, no loose pot to be seen. Definitely no bins of pot buds. (The words cannabis, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Hardware Grill shows cracks in the armour graham.hicks By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 18, 2018

A certain famous Oiler always orders the Hardware Grill's signature sea bass, and with good reason! Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Hardware Grill 9698 Jasper Avenue Hardwaregrill.com 780-423-0969 Reservations: opentable.com Mon. to Thurs.  5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays No listed delivery service Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes and beverages: Basic, $70; loaded $130 By GRAHAM HICKS A bit of slippage here, Mr. Stewart. Not that any other restaurant will knock the Hardware Grill off its perch as THE downtown place for corporate dining, special occasions, or simply to enjoy a dinner for two based on surprisingly well-priced small plates. But last Friday’s dinner for four — at least the tenth time I’ve dined at executive chef/owner Larry Stewart’s fine restaurant — was not as effortlessly perfect as in years past. The at-table service wa ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Using a sledge hammer to squash a mosquito By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 14, 2018

The official opening of the Hyatt Place Downtown Edmonton, 9576 Jasper Ave., was held Monday Jan. 23, 2017.David Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Of course we need laws, bylaws rules and regulations. Their impartial administration and enforcement have made our country safe, secure and prosperous. But lately, Canada has been plagued by over-zealous regulation, regulation piled upon regulation. Regulation and rules that have little to do with encouraging entrepreneurship and wealth creation, everything to do with government as Big Brother, regulation for the sake of regulation. We have become a society more concerned with regulation than prosperity! When it comes to pipelines, an ultimate regulator — the Federal Court of Appeal — sided with a small group of protestors versus the economic well-being of the entire province of Alberta.  How does that work? Locally, over-zealous regulation has had severe, unforeseen consequences. In late August, Alberta Health Service ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Drunken Ox Sober Cat — reimagining the steakhouse By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, September 11, 2018

An unusual and delicious treatment of brussels sprouts and pancetta. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN DOSC (Drunken Ox Sober Cat) 10190 104 St. 780-540-0606 Dosc.ca Reservations: opentable.ca Seven days a week, Mon. to Wed.  7 a.m. to 12 midnight Thurs. 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fri. 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sat. 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sun. 9 a.m. to 12 midnight No listed delivery service Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two without tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $100 By GRAHAM HICKS DOSC (which should be named Drunken Ox Sober Cat – see below) is a wonderful addition to the city’s dining scene. In a historic building on 104 Street a block north of Jasper, DOSC is full of aesthetically pleasing design, ambience and theatrics.  All is meticulously assembled into an eclectic, harmonious whole. DOSC is loaded with atmosphere. The food is near original – the notion of a “craft steakhouse” is bri ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Farewell economic diversity, hello resiliency By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, September 7, 2018

Derek Hudson took over as the new CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation on Aug. 8, 2018.Greg Southam / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS I think I understand. Sorta. The new head of the Edmonton Economic Development (EEDC) – the city’s business development agency – wants to change the worn-out economic buzz word “diversity” to the more practical notion of “resiliency.” “Diversity is fine,” says Derek Hudson, just promoted from within the organization to take over the EEDC leadership reins from Brad Ferguson. “But the reality is most of our economic fortune is tied back to the price of oil and heavy industrial construction. “To be resilient is for the city to withstand the shocks that hit us – swings in commodity prices, geo-political (i.e. pipelines/tariffs); to work towards an economy that’s more balanced, to encourage sectors that work in different business cycles.” Ferguson was all abou ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Go foraging for Sorrentino’s 24th Mushroom Harvest By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, September 4, 2018

Porcini mushroom sauce and crimini mushrooms deepen this grilled beef rib feature at the Sorrentino's Mushroom Harvest. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN All Sorrentino’s Restaurants Sorrentinos.com (Please check website for hours and addresses of individual restaurants) Food:  4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two without tip or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $70 By GRAHAM HICKS It ‘s a chilly 6C outside and overcast. Daybreak didn’t peep through the bedroom blinds until 7 a.m  The garden tomatoes remain stubbornly green. The Eskimos lost, once again, the Labour Day Classic  Much as one mourns the passing of endless sunlight, wasps and evening thunder clouds, it’s time for heartysoul-warming comfort foods. The greatest of these are mushrooms. The Rago family’s Sorrentino Italian restaurant chain – Downtown, South-Side, West End, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Little Italy and Bistecca – began its autumn mushroom-based festival menu 24 y ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Epcor’s river valley solar farm is a non-starter By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, August 31, 2018

 A rendering of the proposed solar farm at the E.L. Smith water treatment centre. This view is looking west from a recreational trail across the river. Epcor, supplied It is  impossible to see how Edmonton’s city council can support Epcor’s proposal to build a 45,000 solar-panel, multi-hectare solar-electricity facility … in the heart of the North Saskatchewan River Valley park system. Oh! It’s not Epcor’s proposal! It’s Edmonton city council’s proposal! With the weirdest of logic, our city council is willing to destroy the natural environment to save the atmospheric environment! Here’s why. The City of Edmonton owns Epcor. City vouncil is its ultimate board of directors. It’s city council, not Epcor, that insists the city-owned water/sewage utility falls in line with the city’s “green” policies, to produce at least 10 per cent of the power it uses from “local” renewable power sources. Can&rsqu ... Read the rest of entry »

The Mayfield Dinner Theatre's Two Good Knights, The Music of Sir Tom Jones and Sir Elton John: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

 Two Good Knights: the music of Sir Tom Jones & Sir Elton John Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Mayfield Dinner Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 4 to October 28, 2018 Tickets: 780-483-4015  or mayfieldtheatre.ca Written by Will Marks, staged by Dave Horak, music direction by Van Wilmott, choreography by Christine Bandelow There’s a fledgling Motown Productions in town, a minor Tin Pan Alley, a writing/producing/directing all-in-one production house. It’s composed of four artistic types with a keen awareness of the need to sell tickets at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre  - musical director and overall Mayfield Dinner Theatre artistic director Van Wilmott, stage director Dave Horak, choreographer/singer Christine Bandelow, and the very low-key Will Marks as writer (a pseudonym I swear – despite his penning/compiling many Mayfield shows, nobody seems to know who Will Marks actually is). This team takes stock of its audience – basically 50+ folk ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2018 - hold-over reviews: Sweet irony from Teatro La Quindicina's A Lesson in Brio

A Lesson in Brio Written and directed by Stewart Lemoine Teatro La Quindicina Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival 2018,  hold-over last show, Sat. Sept. 1., 2018 Varscona Theatre, 10329-83 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 4.5 of 5 stars Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Teatro La Quindicina’s A Lesson in Brio (vitality, vigor, life, liveliness, animation, vivacity, spirit, spiritedness, etc.) is full of sweet irony, humourous manipulation of theatrical devices and positive thinking, darn it! As always from the ever-flowing pen of Edmonton playwright Stewart Lemoine, there is a quirky, imaginative plot, gentle but deliberately contradictory themes, pathos … and a great deal of humour, in this play as much aural as visual. Jenny McKillop steps on stage as Dr. Guinevere, with her PhD in the study of brio, which, in jocular lecturing style, she proceeds to define. As might be expected in a Lemoine play, Dr. Guinevere then steps into the developing play as a character, having alre ... Read the rest of entry »

The Camino Edmonton ... walking the North Saskatchewan River valley from Devon through Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan: By GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

THE FIRST-EVER CAMINO EDMONTON, June 15 to 19, 2018 By Graham Hicks Maybe it’s an idea whose time has come.  An annual five-day walk through the North Saskatchewan River valley, from the town of Devon southwest of Edmonton, through Edmonton, ending at the City of Fort Saskatchewan to the northeast. In medieval days, Christians from across Europe walked across Spain to reach San Diego de Compostela where, according to myth and legend, the remains of the apostle St. James (San Diego) were interred. Today, the 780-kilometre Camino Santiago is one of the most famous walking trails of Europe. About 300,000 walkers a year, each for their own reasons, walk all or parts of the camino.   Metropolitan Edmonton has its own potential camino route. The River Valley Alliance (RVA) has been working since 2007 to create a continuous walking trail along the river. Members of the RVA are the seven municipalities with waterfront along the North Saskatchewan River. It’s a distance of about 88 kilome ... Read the rest of entry »