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Municipal Election 2014

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The mayoral campaign turns into a literal pissing contest as candidates dare one another to take drug tests

It all began when Sarah Thomson, who has been struggling to win credibility for her mayoral campaign, released the results of a drug test nobody asked her to take, then challenged the other candidates to do likewise. Later in the day, according to the Post, Rob Ford responded with the amount of bluster we’ve come to expect from him on all matters substance-related: “I’ll be the first to do it if everyone else does it,” he said. John Tory is also on board, in principle. “If [Ford is] first,” the Post quotes him as saying, “then I’ll be second.”

The Dish

Restaurants

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Quinta closing, reopening as Essen
(Image: Essen/Instagram)

(Image: Essen/Instagram)

The Portuguese restaurant’s front window is currently plastered with sheets of brown paper, one of which has the word “Essen” scribbled on it in black capital letters. That’s the name of the new, family-style restaurant that Quinta’s owner and chef Leor Zimerman will be opening this September in the same space, at 1282 Dundas West. Zimerman announced the change-up on Facebook earlier this month. As for what to expect from the new restaurant, the Star reports that Essen will specialize in “Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine”—think whitefish, chopped liver and stuff fried in schmaltz.

The Dish

Closings

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Yours Truly on Ossington is closing
(Image: Yours Truly/Facebook)

(Image: Yours Truly/Facebook)

The restaurant will serve its final meals on September 30, according to an emailed statement from the owners. Known for serving some of the city’s most meticulous dishes, the three-year-old Ossington spot never seemed to get its business formula quite right, switching back and forth between regular à la carte service and an ambitious tasting-menu-only concept. (For its final month, Yours Truly will be ditching the à la carte menu for good.) The fall closure comes just under a year after the shuttering of spin-off restaurant A-OK Foods, which closed last October.

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Restaurants

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A new Parkdale brewpub is on its way
(Image: Duggan's Brewery/Twitter)

(Image: Duggan’s Brewery/Twitter)

Soon every Toronto neighbourhood will have a resto-retail-brewery complex to call its own. The next up is Duggan’s Brewery Parkdale, a reincarnation of the microbrewery that used to occupy the Beer Academy space at the corner of Richmond and Victoria streets. Canadian Beer News reports that the new west-end outpost will be a restaurant, retail store and “nanobrewery” in one, much like the upcoming Bellwoods Brewery facility on Dupont or the soon-to-open Louis Cifer Brew Works on the Danforth. The grand opening won’t happen until October, but the storefront at 1346 Queen West (previously home to Japanese restaurant Kanji) is already operating as a bar on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

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Drinks

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Toronto liquor-license limbo finally ending
(Image: Yves Freypons)

(Image: Yves Freypons)

Yesterday, the city’s licensing and standards committee voted to quash a rule requiring prospective liquor licensees to bolster their applications with letters of support from their area MPPs—who, as it turned out, weren’t really in a position to provide them, creating a catch-22 of sorts (and leaving lots of aspiring booze-serving establishments in a state of arrested development). The reference-letter rule arose out of a squabble between the city and the province about who should bear responsibility for enforcing certain conditions attached to liquor licenses—things like keeping sidewalks clean and noise levels down. Earlier this year, the AGCO abdicated responsibility for that kind of post-licensing enforcement, prompting the city to turn around and add a bunch of administrative hurdles to the licensing process itself. Surprisingly, the ploy seems to have worked. According to the Globe, the AGCO has not only recommitted to its enforcement role, but has also agreed to take municipal bylaws into account when granting licenses and imposing penalties on current licensees. The licensing and standards committee’s decision is subject to approval by city council next week.

The Informer

Random Stuff

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One of Trinity Bellwoods’s white squirrels has been found dead
(Image: Half my Dad's Age/Flickr)

(Image: Half my Dad’s Age/Flickr)

The white squirrels of Trinity Bellwoods Park have always been rock stars among Toronto’s urban wildlife, and now, unfortunately, that’s more true than ever. In a scene right out of Sid Vicious’s boudoir, one of the albino rodents was discovered on Saturday dead and dangling by its teeth from a wire strung on a hydro pole near the park. The Star has the obligatory crime-scene photo. It’s believed that there are several more white squirrels living in and around the park, though, so this one’s fatal attraction to power cables shouldn’t spell the extinction of the subspecies.

The Goods

Stores

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Muji’s first Toronto store is slated to open by Christmas
(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

The Japanese retailer will open shop near Toronto Eaton Centre by mid-December, reports the Globe. The minimalist lifestyle brand, which keeps prices affordable by spending nothing on advertising, will peddle over 3,000 well-designed products, including comfortable pyjamas, sleek two-seater sofas and efficient storage units. With the heavily branded nature of Toronto’s shopping scene, Muji is set to be a refreshingly simple new destination for living essentials.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Coming to the Danforth: a big new brewpub
(Image: Louis Cifer Brew Works/Facebook)

(Image: Louis Cifer Brew Works/Facebook)

Louis Cifer Brew Works, a new Toronto brewery and restaurant, is taking over the Four One Seven space at 417 Danforth Avenue, according to the Star. The brewpub is a new project from the owners of Cabbagetown’s Stout Irish Pub, known for its huge beer collection and stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. Like Bellwoods on Ossington, the new pub will operate as a brewery, restaurant, bar and bottle shop in one, and it’s apparently aiming to open this fall. Locals may want to temper their excitement, though: judging by these mid-reno progress shots, quite a bit still needs to be done.

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Restaurants

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Big changes in store for Remys Yorkville
(Rendering: Thunder Alley Group)

(Rendering: Thunder Alley Group)

The summer destination (best known for its humongous heated rooftop patio) has been undergoing a major renovation for the past several months. Now, Eater Toronto has details on what’s in store for the bar and restaurant. Like so many new Toronto food businesses, Remys 2.0 will reportedly be several things at once: a 180-seat “health conscious” restaurant and juice bar, a ground-floor patio with a “relaxed, casual menu” by former Goods and Provisions chef Sean Simons, and a top-floor private lounge with a $2,500 annual membership fee. Anyone partial to the restaurant’s previously gloomy interior should brace themselves for a blow—based on these renderings, the new and improved version will be virtually unrecognizable.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Chef Eric Wood leaves the Beverley
Wood chatting with customers at Hawthorne (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Wood chatting with customers at Hawthorne (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

The former Fabarnak and Hawthorne chef signed on with the boutique hotel last spring. Now, according to a press release circulated today, he’s off to pursue new adventures, the specific nature of which are currently unclear. “Look East, as more than the sun is rising,” Wood declares in the release. “I can promise you that I’m looking forward to getting back to my roots…a love affair with the neighbourhoods and flavours of the city that I have grown to love and call my own.” Wood’s former sous chef, Binh An Nguyen, will be taking over as executive chef at the Beverley.

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Hudson’s Bay Centre has pretty much been stealing people’s bikes
The pole in question. (Image: Lisa Ferguson)

The pole in question. (Image: Lisa Ferguson)

A communications consultant named Lisa Ferguson says she thought her bike had been stolen on Wednesday when she returned to the place she’d locked it up—a pole-mounted TTC sign, outside Hudson’s Bay Centre at Bloor and Yonge—only to find it missing. Except, it turns out the bike wasn’t stolen—not exactly. Ferguson’s bike was actually removed by a Hudson’s Bay Centre security guard, despite the fact that there’s no signage in the area to warn cyclists of that possibility, and also despite the fact that the pole is sitting on what appears to be public property. Ferguson recovered her bike from the building and wrote an outraged Facebook post that has since won the media to her side. A representative of Brookfield Office Properties, the Hudson’s Bay Centre’s owner, would tell the Star only that he’s “looking into the legality” of the bike-lock-cutting spree.

The Dish

Food Events

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La Carnita’s ice cream spin-off pops up on King West
(Image: Sweet Jesus/Instagram)

(Image: Sweet Jesus/Instagram)

Sweet Jesus is the taqueria’s soft-serve side business, and it’s making its debut this evening. The carnivalesque cones—topped with things like caramel corn, peanut butter chunks and toasted marshmallows—will be available for purchase from 5 to 7 p.m. at One Method Methlab on King West (don’t worry, it’s not an actual meth lab). The day-glo monster pictured to the left is “Krusty the Cone,” a vanilla soft-serve swirl with a colourful cotton candy beard.
 
Aug. 14. The Methlab, 445 King St. W., Suite 201, instagram.com

The Dish

Food News

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The CNE releases its 2014 stunt-food lineup
A plain old deep-fried Mars bar (Image: RCabanilla/Flickr)

A plain old deep-fried Mars bar (Image: RCabanilla/Flickr)

In a matter of days, thousands of Toronto digestive tracts will be forced to do business with all kinds of weird and potentially troublesome things. Included on this year’s list of novelty trash snacks: butter-flavoured coffee, bacon-wrapped corn on the cob, peanut butter Sriracha rolls, a corn dog–funnel cake hybrid and chocolate fried chicken (a 2014 food trend we predicted back in January). And don’t worry: the CNE has instituted new measures to ensure that none of this stuff makes you puke (for sanitation-related reasons, at least).

 

The Dish

Closings

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Ossington loses its Peruvian dinner destination
(Image: TJ Tindale)

(Image: TJ Tindale)

A message on the website for Ardor Bistro, the year-old restaurant at 59 Ossington Avenue from the owners of Celestin, confirms that the business is no more. Despite solid reviews, Ardor never really seemed to take off—possibly because its South American ceviches and stews were a bit too nuanced to compete with the strip’s pizzas, poutines and Asian bar snacks (the subtle signage and nondescript decor probably didn’t help). According to co-owner Ivan Tarazona, the business was sold earlier this summer, which means Ossington will likely soon be getting yet another new restaurant.

The Dish

Closings

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Craft Dogs on King Street is closed
(Image: Carlo Mendoza)

The Crack Dog (Image: Carlo Mendoza)

The fancy dog shop, home to some of the city’s most lovingly crafted street meat (including the Rob Ford–inspired “Crack Dog”), is no longer in business. The closure was confirmed by co-owner Brian Morin, who opened the restaurant last summer with two partners (one of them Beerbistro’s Kathleen McGinn) in the heritage building at 75 King Street East.

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