HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: XIX very good but not great by GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2015

XIX (Nineteen) 5940 Mullen Way (off Rabbit Hill Road, north of Henday Drive) 780-395-1119 dinenineteen.com Mon. 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tues-Thurs. 3 p.m., Fri-Sat. noon to midnight, Sun. noon to 10 p.m. Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $60; loaded, $100 Andrew Fung’s XIX (Nineteen) seeks to be the Hardware Grill of the city’s South Side. Sleek is the word I’m looking for. XIX is in the middle of the prosperous new suburbs of the deep southwest, spilling out of Riverbend across Henday Drive into Windermere. I suspect stricter drinking and driving laws have accelerated the move of quality restaurants to the wealthier ‘burbs, given the reduced driving distances or reduced Uber bills. That said, there’s a certain lack of character endemic to such establishments. It’s all too new, too well groomed, a tad bland. The new structures — XIX is at the end of a high-end ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Good riddance to the traitorous Chris Jones BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015

Good riddance to bad rubbish. May the traitorous Chris Jones royally screw up in Saskatchewan. The Edmonton Eskimos – specifically General Manager Ed Hervey – gave their newly departed head coach Chris Jones his big break two years ago. It was Jones’ first head-coach job after bouncing through three teams over 10 years as a defensive coordinator. Always the groomsman, never the groom, at least not until the Eskimos gave him his break, complete with a three-year contract. And Hervey gave him the players. Jones delivered big-time. He’s a great coach. He took the Eskimos from a 4-14 year in 2013 to Grey Cup champions in 2015. So, just as long-suffering Eskimo fans could realistically savour the return of a Canadian Football League dynasty based on three pillars - GM Hervey, coach Jones and quarterback Mike Reilly - what does Jones do? He gives EVERYBODY – his players, his staff, the Eskimo organization and, most insultingly, Eskimo fans – the middle finger! W ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Corso 32 near perfect in every way BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2015

Corso 32 10345 Jasper Ave. 780-421-4622 corso32.com 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week Reservations recommended Food: 5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns For prime-time dining, tables at Corso 32 tables are booked months in advance. The place is so popular you could make money selling those reservation slots on Kijiji! There’s such a good reason. Everything about the contemporary Italian dining establishment — literally a hole in the wall on Jasper Avenue you’d never notice unless you’re looking — is soft and silky and is of nothing but the best of quality. Most of the city’s finer dining establishments receive a 3.5 or a 4 four out of 5 Suns in the Weekly Dish rating system, usually because something or other isn’t quite right. But having dined at Corso three or four times over the past three years, I’ve never experienced anything — not the food, the service, or the evening out — that w ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Nothing about Alberta's energy and environment policy makes sense! BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2015

These scenarios surrounding our energy sector are absolutely baffling. Has Lewis Carroll come back to write a sequel to Alice in Wonderland? Even in 2014/15, when energy prices were halved, oil/gas production and processing accounted for $111 billion gross revenues in Alberta – or approximately $400 million A DAY. Last year, the energy sector directly accounted for 25% of our provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) – suggests 70% of Alberta’s total economic activity is tied to the energy sector. Nobody has challenged that figure. Today, this industry is on the ropes. The world price of oil and gas, which we cannot control, is at a 10-year low. Our guy is reeling, heading to the mat. Here’s the craziest thing. The body blows are being delivered by those who live among us, who benefit every day from this industrial activity! The Save-Our-Plant/Climate Change frenzy has become such an emotional crusade that fossil fuel ... Read the rest of entry »


The Marc 9940-106 St. 780-429-2828 Mon. to Fri - 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday to 10:30 p.m.) Sat. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed Sundays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns The Marc is as much about service as it is about food. It's the comfortable, gracious welcome of Patrick and Doris Saurette, who know most of their customers by name, who have trained their serving staff in the fine art of being attentive, friendly and knowledgeable without being overbearing. It's a restaurant not defined by a million-dollar décor or a sweeping view, but by the ability of its people to never appear rushed, no matter how full, to make every customer feel special. In fact, I am not fond of The Marc's physical space. On the main floor of a commercial tower, it's office-space rectangular, bland and white. But it does have a lovely fair-weather patio. Add to the service and pacing a simple but excellent menu that deeply understands wha ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Mourn or cheer Alberta Premier Notley's carbon tax BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2015

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made history last Sunday with her carbon tax climate change announcements. Depending on your point of view, Sunday was either a day of mourning or a day of rejoicing. Sunday either marked the start of a long, slow economic decline that will see Alberta end up like Saskatchewan before Brad Wall. Or Alberta finally saw the light on climate change. Enlightened government policies will dramatically lower the province’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions AND still leave Alberta as a low-cost, low-emissions exporter of oil and gas. Let’s have a little fun here, and present these two points of view – the progressive and conservative – as purely as possible. THE PROGRESSIVE VIEWPOINT Finally, a government is in power that cares about the people of Alberta, not just the business of Alberta! The carbon tax is long overdue, is accepted by industry, and sends a signal to the world that we are sensitive to climate change and are determined to be a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: A Taverna fills a gaping hole left in Edmonton’s ethnic dining scene BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2015

A Taverna 12118-90 St. NW 780-471-1717 Tues. to Thurs – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat. – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $40; loaded, $90 A gaping hole was left in Edmonton’s ethnic dining scene a few years back, when Jack and Maria Nobre closed Spago Portuguese Restaurant (after some 20 years) to retire to  Portugal. This is not to slight Sabor downtown, one of the city’s most elegant restaurants. But Sabor’s Portuguese dishes are very contemporary. For years there’s been no “traditional” Portuguese restaurant of note. A Taverna fills the gap. In the traditional ethnic restaurant territory on or near 118 Avenue east of 97 Street, chef Elza Silva stays faithful to her mother’s Portuguese recipes while her husband Fernando Silvado handles the front end of the restaurant ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Peer-to-peer services rocking cabbies, now parcel delivery BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2015

Breath-taking changes are afoot – the times they are a changin’. Ride-sharing service Uber and the Airbnb home-stay app are the most visible of the new ways of exchanging goods and services, thanks to  crazy new technologies made possible, in just the last few years, as wireless Internet, laptops and smartphones are filled with sophisticated, easy-to-use software. Part of the new world is its “disintermediary” notion. For increasing numbers of sectors within the retail economy, the “old” intermediary – i.e. taxis – are no longer needed. Software and the Internet enable individuals to reach out directly to other individuals to provide goods and services more efficiently and at lower cost. Even more profound is the self-regulating nature of the new person-to-person online exchange programs. Until these new technologies came along, government regulation (of taxicabs, for instance) was seen as essential for safety and security. Today, “officia ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: In search for the perfect ramen BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2015

Kazoku Ramen 16518 100 Ave. 780-483-0448 www.kazokurman.ca 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Six days a week, closed Tuesdays Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns It’s all the rage amongst Edmonton’s many food bloggers. Here a ramen, there a ramen, everywhere a ramen, ramen. Ramen is nothing more than Japanese-style noodle soup. Your momma could open a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, dress it up with oriental accessories and proclaim it ramen. Ramen is the Japanese equivalent to Vietnamese pho noodle soup, and likely has as many variations as pho. Done properly and according to family recipes as at Pho Du, Pho Hoan Pasteur or the King Noodle House, pho produces an intensely individual and delicious meaty meal in a bowl. Ramen in Edmonton has never experienced the popularity of pho. Suddenly it’s in the in-thing. Which sent us out, on a blustery November evening, to try the recently opened Kazoku Ramen and then comparison shoppi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A credible made-in-Alberta plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2015

At last, a credible, achievable, made-in-Alberta plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has surfaced.   Capital Power’s ALTE Shift proposal would cut all Alberta power-plant emissions by 19% within three years, by 40% within 10 years. Capital Power has submitted ALTE Shift to Premier Rachel Notley’s climate change panel.  Notley plans to make a definitive statement in the next week or two on Alberta’s GHG reduction strategy, presumably to gain political capital before heading to Paris for the upcoming global climate-change gathering. Capital Power’s proposal  works for the environment, the customer, the investor and the government. ALTE Shift proposes all Alberta’s older coal-burning power plants – the biggest GHG emitters in the province – be shut down within five years.  Four coal-burning units due for shut down by 2019 would be moved up to 2017.  Those due for retirement after 2019 would be closed five years ahead of time. ... Read the rest of entry »
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