HicksBiz Blog

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 »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – Quality within quantity By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, August 28, 2018

Some 20 shrimp variations are to be found at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in West Edmonton Mall, including these delicious coconut shrimps. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Second Level, West Edmonton Mall – overlooking Santa Maria, below Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre complex 780-244-4867 Bubbagump.com 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, Fri. and Sat. to 11 p.m. No listed delivery service Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two without tip or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $70 By GRAHAM HICKS Stating the obvious … but if you don’t like shrimp, don’t go to Bubba Gump’s! Actually, that’s not true. While 20 shrimp variations are on the menu, also for the eating are chicken wings, chowder, salads, fish and chicken sandwiches, burgers, ribs, steak, crab legs and a decent selection of other fish dishes – fish ‘n’ chips, mahi-mahi, salmon, flounder and tilapia. The new re ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Climate leadership is tearing Canada apart By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, August 24, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.THE CANADIAN PRESS By GRAHAM HICKS Climate leadership is tearing Canada apart. Geographical regions are divided, First Nations’ groups are divided, governments are divided, political parties are divided, families are divided. In the past, almost all Canadians supported the great national projects that created today’s prosperity — the cross-Canada railroads, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the great hydro-electricity projects of B.C., Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland/Labrador. Today, Canada’s biggest potential prosperity-builder is construction of new or expanded pipelines and new ocean ports to export Western Canadian oil and natural gas to Eastern Canada, Asia, Europe and the USA. But these pipelines have become the central battleground, the symbolic line in the sand, between those convinced too much CO2 (from the burning of fossil fuels) is causing world-destroying global warming, a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Vintage Fork — inelegance within elegance By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, August 21, 2018

The Vintage Fork lunchtime "Butler Steak" and vegetables. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Vintage Fork 11153 Saskatchewan Drive, Rutherford House, University of Alberta 780-427-4113 Vintagefork.ca Tues, to Fri. 9 am to 5 pm Sat. and Sun. 9:30 am to 5 pm closed Mondays Reservations accepted, parking out front No listed delivery service Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 2 of 5 Suns Lunch for two without tip or beverages: $40 to $60, depending on the day of the week By GRAHAM HICKS There’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde aspect to Vintage Fork, the lunch/tea house on the main floor of the University of Alberta’s historic Rutherford House. On the one hand, the food is very good. The reviews on Google, Yelp etc. have been generally positive. On the other, serious criticism has been voiced by food bloggers about slow and inattentive service. On our noon visit, sadly, Mr. Hyde was running the shop. Despite the small number of diners — one party of ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The tyranny of the greater good By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, August 17, 2018

Oh city hall! When the mayor gets so mad that he publicly lambasts bureaucrats for inane decisions, like a “renewal fee” to keep family-purchased memorial plaques on park benches, you know the bureaucracy has run amok. Around city hall, “empowerment” has been in vogue. Empower middle management to make decisions without approvals from the upper ranks. Theoretically decisions and implementation will be sped up. Imagine the scenario. Deep in the bowels of the Department of City Services, a low-level management meeting is taking place. As always, junior managers are under pressure from the higher-ups to reduce spending and increase revenues.  A young minion at the meeting comes up with the idea of increasing income from park bench memorial plaques by introducing renewal fees … in the thousands of dollars! What a fine idea, the manager in charge of park bench revenues replies; a nice easy way of raising a few hundred thousand dollars! And thanks to “empow ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Café Linnea sparkles in the evening By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun,

Heaven on Earth: Cafe Linnea's buttery fois gras on a doughnut, topped with peach. PHOTOS BY GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Café Linnea 10932 119 St. (Holland Plaza) 780-758-1160 Cafelinnea.com Wed. to Sat. 10 am to 2 pm, 5 pm to 10 pm (Saturday opening 9 am) Sunday brunch, 9 am to 2 pm Closed Mondays Reservations accepted No listed delivery service Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $50; loaded $85 By GRAHAM HICKS There’s something special about Café Linnea in its re-purposed warehouse space, with clean Scandinavian design, natural light, splendid air quality and a parade of greenery separating the bar from the diners. Café Linnea is an oasis of calm and quality. If music is in the background, it’s so blended into the ambience as to be unnoticeable. How wonderful to hear every word spoken by one’s dining companions. Cafe Linnea’s Scandinavian design loa ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Raise a Glass to the Re-developers By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, Aug. 10, 2018

Developer Ivan Beljan poses for a photo in front of the now sold Strathcona Hotel at 10302 82 Avenue in Edmonton, on Friday, July 13, 2018. His company Beljan Development is planning a redevelopment of the historic building. Photo by Ian Kucerak/PostmediaIan Kucerak Ian Kucerak / Ian Kucerak/Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS An Edmonton renaissance is happening, under our very eyes. Hundreds of old buildings, most built between 1911 and 1915, are being “re-developed” by a new breed of developer. Re-development is much more than renovation. Old buildings are gutted, stripped down to their bones and re-built, but in a style respecting historical roots. It’s a beautiful thing: The Brighton Block, Strathcona Hotel, Williams Hall (the original downtown YMCA), Molson Brewery, Old Strathcona’s Crawford Block, Mercer Building, Gibbard Block (La Boheme), Substation 600 on 124 St, the Oliver Exchange, even the Camsell Hospital … the list of buildings being restored/re-built ... Read the rest of entry »

Edmonton Fringe 2018 - reviews: Jem Rolls' I Idiot gives hope to the English language - review by GRAHAM HICKS

I, Idiot – Jem Rolls Edmonton International Fringe Festival Stage 13, Old Strathcona Public Library 4 of 5 stars Last show:  Sat. Aug. 25. 4:45 pm. 60 minutes Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com The English language has taken a beating these last few decades. English literature – the great classics of the language – are skipped over in school.  Teachers no longer know the rules of English grammar and composition. In fact, they are now a second or third generation of fuzzy generalists when it comes to the teaching of English (as a small part of social studies;  political correctness is given far more weight). None of them studied Latin, the language that explains grammar so well.  At the hundreds upon hundreds of shows at the Edmonton Fringe, theatre that leaves you delighted with the language – unless it’s true-to-the-original of Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, James Joyce or Shakespeare – are near non-existent.  Shows that use f* ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2018 - reviews - TEDxRFT a fine send-up on TED Talk pretension

Review of improv comedy show  TEDxRFT at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, 2018 

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Wilfred's is delish! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun August 7, 2018

A singularly delicious 9 oz. beef patty was within Wilfred's burger. Wilfred’s 10429 121 St. (Brewery District) 780-757-7009 Wilfreds.com 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Mondays Reservations accepted No listed delivery service Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two: basic, $30; loaded $50 By Graham Hicks The late, great Bruce Wells, executive chef at the Homefire Grill and Café Orleans, always taught his apprentices this beautiful lesson. If one fresh herb does the trick, don’t toss in a bunch more. Keep the kitchen sink out of your soups. Avoid those last three shakes of salt, they’re not needed. Keep your recipes clean, keep them simple. As we enjoyed a superb dinner in the airy new Wilfred’s in the Brewery District, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bruce’s dictum. Each dish from the small, casual dinner menu was fresh, clear and clean. The cauliflower and potato soup came to the table smooth, sil ... Read the rest of entry »
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