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The Informer

Features

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A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the world’s first post-racial metropolis?

I used to be the only biracial kid in the room. Now, my exponentially expanding cohort promises a future where everyone is mixed.

Mixe Me | By Nicholas Hune-Brown

Click on the image for 10 interviews with mixed-race Toronto children

Last fall, I was in Amsterdam with my parents and sister on a family trip, our first in more than a decade. Because travelling with your family as an adult can be taxing on everyone involved, we had agreed we would split up in galleries, culturally enrich ourselves independently, and then reconvene later to resume fighting about how to read the map. I was in a dimly lit hall looking at a painting of yet another apple-cheeked peasant when my younger sister, Julia, tugged at my sleeve. “Mixie,” she whispered, gesturing down the hall.

“Mixie” is a sibling word, a term my sister and I adopted to describe people like ourselves—those indeterminately ethnic people whom, if you have an expert eye and a particular interest in these things, you can spot from across a crowded room. We used the word because as kids we didn’t know another one. By high school, it was a badge of honour, a term we would insist on when asked the unavoidable “Where are you from?” question that every mixed-race person is subjected to the moment a conversation with a new acquaintance reaches the very minimum level of familiarity. For the record, my current answer, at 30 years old, is: “My mom’s Chinese, but born in Canada, and my dad’s a white guy from England.” If I’m peeved for some reason—if the question comes too early or with too much “I have to ask” eagerness—the answer is “Toronto” followed by a dull stare.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Dyne, the Iberian-Asian restaurant that took over from Maléna

Introducing: Dyne

(Image: Megan Leahy)

Last weekend, Richard Andino, a chef with 22 years experience in Toronto’s restaurant scene, opened Dyne in Maléna’s old space at Av and Dav. His menu draws from the cuisine of Spain, Portugal and the Philippines, but the item that’s gotten the most attention to date is the over-the-top Chef’s Last Meal ($325), which comes with a 34-ounce bone-in rib-eye, fingerling and bone marrow mash, chili-garlic egg rice, butter poached lobster and two pieces of foie gras, an ingredient Andino heartily endorses. 

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Archive, a casual new wine bar on Dundas West

Introducing: Archive

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Unlike the tony wine bars of yore, which targeted the suits-and-heels crowd, Archive, which opened last month, is situated on the more dressed-down strip of Dundas West that’s home to The Black Hoof and Saving Grace (the bar’s next-door neighbour). The owners, brothers Joel and Josh Corea (Pizzeria Libretto, Ortolan), took over the exposed brick–clad space formerly home to vintage shop Apt. 909, and outfitted it with custom banquettes and high school science lab stools as well as a series of wine maps and charts, to create what they hope will become a cozy after-work destination.

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The Dish

Drinks

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Nine wines to build an unbeatable cellar, chosen by our critic David Lawrason

I recently spent an evening with my cousin pouring over-the-hill wine down the sink, about 10 bottles in all. We tasted each one first. The New World reds were cooked into a raisiny, composty glop. The higher-acid Euro and Canadian wines, including a cheap 1981 Bordeaux, were dried out. I pronounced them all deceased. The cull cleared my cousin’s wine rack of special occasion bottles she’d been given over the years. Being sentimental, she couldn’t bear to drink them, even though most were under $20 and never meant to age. There is no sure-fire formula for selecting age-worthy wines. However, buying more expensive and concentrated wines will help—the more full bodied a wine, the longer it will keep. That means caber­net sauvignon and its Bordeaux-style blends, syrah and its Rhône family and many native varieties from Italy, Spain and Portugal are good bets. Your job is to be adventurous and willing to open them. Wine is made to be enjoyed, not hoarded.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Quinta, a fresh new Dundas West Portuguese restaurant on the site of an old one

Introducing: Quinta

William Jordan behind the bar (Image: Gizelle Lau)

The latest new opening on the ever-churning Dundas West strip: Quinta, which launched last week in the space formerly occupied by the Portuguese restaurant Casa da Ramboia, just east of Enoteca Sociale. Behind it is chef Leor Zimerman (Czehoski, Brassaii), who was inspired to open Quinta after growing up in Little Portugal and Kensington Market and then cooking in the Portuguese countryside for some time. Quinta is the Portuguese word for farmhouse or villa, which, Zimerman says, speaks to the “country home” feel he hopes to achieve.

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for July 2 to July 8

Farmer’s market season has arrived (Image: Kevin Ho)

Monday, July 2

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Check out a double bill at the at the Drake Lounge. First, a throw-down for the ultimate hangover cure: the Bloody Mary versus the Caesar. Second, a watermelon-eating contest. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: A weekly aperitivo italiano with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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The Dish

Drinks

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Where to watch the 2012 Euro Cup in Toronto

This is what happened to St. Clair when the Azzurri took the World Cup in 2006 (Image: wyliepoon)

Starting this Friday, soccer-loving Torontonians will be facing a serious dilemma: where to watch the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (i.e. the Euro Cup). There are 16 nations competing in the quadrennial tournament for the next three weeks, and with the gradual winnowing down of teams, venue choices might be as fluid as allegiance. To help, we’ve prepared a Euro 2012 watching guide, identifying the holes where each team’s supporters will gather by an LCD for some footie and liquid courage.

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: A Toronto screenwriting couple steals a home renovation idea from their own show

Great Spaces

Karen Troubetzkoy and Derek Schreyer met at film school in Vancouver more than 15 years ago and have been romantically and professionally inseparable ever since. Nine years ago, they bought a 1940s two-storey home in Little Italy—their first house. It was stumbling distance from Café Diplomatico, Schreyer’s favourite hangout, and a bargain because it had been slow to sell.

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The Informer

Features

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Why educational apartheid is not the answer to curbing dropout rates for specific racial and ethnic groups

Students stand in segregated lines at a school entrance

(Illustration: Taylor Callery)

The tall black man was angry. “I want to propose 10 seconds of silence in memory of Brother Dudley Laws,” he said into the microphone, his voice booming through the auditorium at Oakwood Collegiate. It was question period at a raucous, emotionally raw public meeting in March, called after news leaked that the Toronto District School Board had recommended embedding the city’s first Africentric high school inside Oakwood. Parents, students, teachers, alumni and neighbours had filled every creaky, green-leatherette flip-up seat.

Laws, the civil rights activist, had died the week before. The man hoping to commemorate him applauded his own suggestion, smacking hands the size of baseball mitts together, before returning to his seat. I half hoped that Karen Falconer, the school board superintendent who was chairing the meeting, would rule him out of order. But Falconer immediately rose to her feet and announced a moment of silence.

It was like a scene from the American pre–civil rights era of the 1950s and ’60s, except that this time the tables were turned: angry blacks demanding segregation before a shell-shocked mixed-race community, while uniformed cops kept wary watch.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Inigo, a Queen West churrasqueira, takes over Igor Kenk’s old space

Inigo is Carlos Hernandez's take on the churrasqueira

While Dundas West is in the midst of a carnivorous craze with a serious emphasis on the pig (we’re looking at you, Porchetta and Co.), a new Queen West takeout spot at the southern end of Trinity-Bellwoods Park is putting its faith in the original white meat: chicken. Carlos Hernandez opened up shop at Inigo last week—in Igor Kenk’s old spot— where he’s offering his take on the Portuguese churrasqueira, those homey greasy spoons ubiquitous on College and Dundas West.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: grilled octopus that almost convinced us it isn’t January

Grilled octopus with olives and a tomato, red onion and caper salsa (Image: Renée Suen)

A trip to Elm Street’s Adega is the perfect way to remain in denial that spring is still months away. The Portuguese restaurant’s signature Mediterranean octopus is impeccably grilled, its slightly charred crust shielding a tender, meaty core. Potatoes, crisp French beans and a gently cooked carrot play second fiddle to the hearty octopus, which is garnished with plump black olives and a bright tomato, red onion and caper salsa.

The cost: $32.50 with tax and tip.

The time: 1 hour.

Adega, 33 Elm St., 416-977-4338, adegarestaurante.ca.