HicksBiz Blog

The Best of Taste of Edmonton: Weekly Dish, originally published in the Edmonton Sun, July 24, 2013

BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN Taste of Edmonton Festival Sir Winston Churchill Square, Through Saturday, July 27, 2013 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Cost per dish: $2 to $6 My apologies: With 42 food booths and food trucks, each offering two dishes, even repeated visits to the downtown Taste of Edmonton Festival with the Weekly Dish’s taster team could not cover all bases. We sampled dishes from about half the booths, are passing on some recommendations based on word-of-mouth. Some are Taste of Edmonton classics that do not vary in quality from year to year. The array of choice at Edmonton’s premier food festival encircling Churchill Square continues to grow. There’s a slow, but noticeable trend to tastier, healthier mini-meals. A few years back, it was all deep-fried dough. The Weekly Dish’s 2013 Guide to Taste of Edmonton is designed to minimize running around. We start at the beginning, i.e. Booth #1, work our way around the square to the end at Booth #41. This works ... Read the rest of entry »

Economic resilience in light of disaster: Hicks on Biz in the Edmonton Sun, originally published July 20, 2013

BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN   Life goes on. Commerce continues. Flooding swept through downtown Calgary and High River. Disaster struck Lac-Megantic in Quebec, with a presumed death toll of 50. In a mishap which had never happened before in North America or Europe, 72 improperly parked rail tankers carrying crude oil became runaways. The tankers caromed into Lac-Megantic derailed, smashed into buildings and each other and is believed to have ruptured highly flammable gas lines, creating such extreme temperatures and pressures as to cause normally non-flammable crude oil to explode and burn. Reporters and commentators, naturally enough, descend on such disasters and after the immediate shock, report on the would-have, could-have, should-have and the what-now? Fair enough, that’s what we are paid to do. Quite apart from the tragic loss of life, costs and consequences begin to be tallied. Numbers appear astronomical, insurmountable - billions of dollars in repairs, property loss, ... Read the rest of entry »

Smokehouse BBQ just average: Weekly Dish, originally published Edmonton Sun, July 19, 2013

BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN   Smokehouse BBQ 10810 124th Street 587 521 6328 www.smokehousebbq.ca Food: 3 of 5 stars Ambience: 3.5 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars Dinner for two (excluding drinks and tip): Basic, $25; loaded, $60. I should be more enthusiastic about the Smokehouse BBQ. The owners have already had their share of bad luck. The cheerful open-front restaurant on 124 Street past 108 Avenue had just opened, when a pre-Christmas fire in the back shop shut the southern-style BBQ house down for four months. One can only imagine the strain on the parent Smokehouse BBQ in Leduc and its food truck. The good news is the large, comfy, about 100-seat Smokehouse is up, running and is lots of fun. The service is very good and ample portions are presented at reasonable cost. My problem is at the heart of the beast. The Smokehouse St. Louis ribs, its smoked beef brisket and pulled pork were good, but not great. And it wasn’t three months ago that the Weekly ... Read the rest of entry »

Massimo’s a happy accident: Weekly Dish review originally published in Edmonton Sun July 10, 2013

BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN Massimo’s Cucina Italiana 5012 104A St. 780 439 4869 www.massimoscucina.ca Food: 4 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 3.5 of 5 stars Call Massimo’s a happy accident. Teresa Spinelli hadn’t planned on a casual but elegant Italian restaurant next door to her well-established South Side Italian Centre. It was going to be an easy-going panini shop and sit-down trattoria. But then she learned of a superb Italian chef who wanted to come to Canada, with his team. One thing led to another. Massimo’s opened as a full-scale restorante before Christmas. But months later, just as the kitchen was finding its personality, amore (love) lured said chef back to Europe. Perhaps things happen for a reason. Sous-chef Keoma Franceschi, equally new to Canada, was quite happy here and moved effortlessly up to head the Massimo’s kitchen. Today, Massimo’s Cucina has found its Italian-Canadian personality. ... Read the rest of entry »

University of Alberta heroes tackle isotope shortage: Hicks on Biz in the Edmonton Sun, July 6, 2013

 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN In the debate over practical-versus-fundamental research at our universities, over job-focused rather than general post-secondary education, it is possible to have our cake and eat it too. Last week saw the opening of the University of Alberta’s Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility, on the site of the old Balmoral Curling Club. The snazzy new dark-glass building can be seen from Belgravia Drive, on the edge of the university’s South Campus. This facility is practical to the extreme and represents a continuum of theoretical to practical research, creating a solution to a most pressing medical technology challenge. A new high-tech, knowledge-based, wealth-creating, Edmonton-based medical industry is being born. It’ll employ the highly educated, pay well, and export our knowledge around the world. Here’s the context: Medical isotopes are injected into patients, then tracked. Somehow, they tell the docs where the problem lies, how ... Read the rest of entry »

Kallin Chinese Seafood could do much better: Weekly Dish originally published in Edmonton Sun, July 4, 2013

 BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN  Kallin Chinese Seafood Restaurant 10544 109 St. 780 944 2588 Food: 2.5 of 5 Ambience: 2 of 5 Service: 1.5 of 5 Dinner for two: Basic $20, deluxe $40 Kallin Chinese Seafood Restaurant has a reputation for its seafood. Walking by the Kallin’s drab exterior on 109 Street just north of downtown, friends would suddenly emerge after lunch. Try the seafood, they’d urge. The Kallin may look like a dump, but the seafood is great. So we did. One seafood dish — the 2.5 pound lobster which sells for $20 a pound — was excellent. The rest was the same as every other Chinese restaurant, reinforcing the reasons why East Indian, Vietnamese and Thai food has become so much more popular. Most of the food was oily, thick, dull, glutinous and made from cheap ingredients. The annoying part is the Kallin does have good seafood … if you’re a regular and know what to order. My friend Len was there, enjo ... Read the rest of entry »

Oilsands' Truth and Fantasy: Hicks on Biz: Originally published Edmonton Sun June 29, 2013

This world can be a confusing place. The militant greenies, convinced fossil fuels are the cause of all environmental evil (no matter the evidence to the contrary), are focused on the proposed Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines as symbols of that evil. As former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna – the best prime minister we never had – says, pipelines have become a “proxy war” for global climate change, anti-big business, First Nations’ claims, Quebec nationalism, you name it. To follow the daily news is to believe our oilsands are a cancer-causing, wildlife-killing, pollution-producing blight on Mother Earth. Whenever oil extraction comes up, magazines like my beloved National Geographic default to an “oil is bad” position. Ignored is an inconvenient truth: Responsible, modern and regulated oil/gas extraction (including the oilsands) and consumption is cleaning up, not polluting, this beautiful world. Lest we forget, oil royalties and ta ... Read the rest of entry »

Bistro Saisons has a minor problem: Weekly Dish column originally published in Edmonton Sun June 26, 2013

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bistro Saisons has a minor problem 0 BY GRAHAM HICKS ,EDMONTON SUN Bistro Saisons 11354 104 Ave. 780 497 7858 Bistrosaisons.ca Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding beverages: Basic, $50, loaded: $70. It is possible, with a touch of romance, to imagine oneself sitting in a small modern bistro in the French countryside on a cool autumn day. Which, in Edmonton, would be late June as the daily thunderclouds roll in. Such is the allure of Bistro Saisons, the latest owner-operated small restaurant in town by chef couple Scott and Sandra Ards. Bistro Saisons sits in that cluster of architecturally interesting retail stores marching down the north side of 104 Avenue from 112 Street to 114 Street. The menu is self-described as Canadian-inspired French cooking, emphasizing regional ingredients. Its French menu manages not to sound pretentious. And French-inspired cuisine is not, thank you, an excuse to overload pric ... Read the rest of entry »
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