Bourbon Street Review

Walking back to the front, my friend decided that she would try opening the door. She tugged a little bit and voila – it came loose! I told her that I must have loosened the door for her…

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Walking into the restaurant we were a little hesitant as to whether or not we should actually dine here – there were two small tables, a jukebox, a pool table, a lengthy bar, and there was a rather strange scent in the air. A man promptly came over to us and informed us we could sit anywhere in the restaurant, so we decided to choose one of the only seats that were available next to a window – or so we thought. The man that greeted us turned out to be our server, as he brought us menus and asked for our drink orders as soon as we got comfortable. Being a pub, the menu is fairly straight forward and typical of most of the pubs around Barrie. There are soups, french fries, salads, tacos, burgers, fish, wings, etc. Bourbon Street, however, has a very classy menu and offers extremely high quality food at a very decent price.

We decided we could explore our surroundings while we waited for our meals, so we walked to the back of the building and we were stunned. There is a raised stage in a spacious room filled with booths, various tables, and an area in the back room with another pool table. This pub is absolutely beautiful. It has a very classy, modern design, but has pictures of the musicians of the 60’s-70’s and various guitars strung upon the walls. Once we started getting comfortable with our environment our dining experience was very pleasant.

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Arriving at Bourbon Street for lunch, I only wanted something light so I chose a salad that had tomatoes, feta cheese, mixed greens, kalamata olives, some type of noodle or something of the sort on top, drizzled with an olive oil and vinegar dressing. My salad was a little bit too salty for my liking, but it was delicious nevertheless. My friend ordered a grilled chicken wrap with a side of French Onion soup, which was the soup of the day. She was basically drooling over how tender and well cooked the chicken was. She said it was the most fresh and tasty chicken she had eaten at a restaurant in a while.

Bourbon Street is open from Monday to Sunday from 11pm until 2am and is located at 31 Bayfield Street, right in the middle of five points in downtown Barrie. Our server informed us that the pub has live music from Wednesday to Sunday, and each night has a different genre of live music. He informed us that Bourbon Street becomes very busy during the weekend; I suggest calling ahead of time to reserve a booth if you want a place to sit! I had a lovely dining experience at Bourbon Street and I’m sure that you will too!

Valerie Colangelo is a writer from Barrie. Read her blog at: www.accordingtovalerie.com and follow her on Twitter at @vcolang.

Unity Market Café & Studios

What is a “scuffin”, it is the best of both worlds explains manager Shane L.S. Dennis. A scuffin is a savory cross between a scone and a muffin, and this is but one of the many features that makes Unity Market Café & Studios unique.

Good food is where we start, but there is much more to discover.

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Shane then played a haunting melody of his own material on the corner keyboard while customers enjoyed their lunch, affirming my feeling that I have discovered a treasure that is Unity Market. Supporting local independent music, with emphasis on encouraging youth creativity is also on the menu, a fully equipped recording studio is onsite and open mic nights are a weekly feature. Lining the walls and shelves are a plethora of items made by local independent crafters and artists, ranging from clothing to skin care, jewelry to original art work.

Unity Market Café & Studios is a thoughtful space, it is soothing, encouraging, nurturing. A newly revamped menu is hot off the press, courtesy of manager Shane Dennis and new chef Stacey Kilvert, (she has a special interest in gluten free and vegan foods), and these foods will nicely fill your belly, while the philosophy behind Unity Market Café & Studios, will warm your soul. My lunch choice was a generous portion of Moroccan squash soup flavoured with coconut milk, topped with a sprinkle of goat cheese, and the aforementioned scuffin, butter melting gently into the nooks and crannies of the savory delight. I sampled some fresh from the oven banana bread, moist and rich, this would be lovely with one of the many herbal teas or a cup of fair trade coffee. I was tempted today to leave the computer while writing this review by their Facebook posting of the lunch special, chicken pot pie.

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Unity Market Café & Studios is a one stop feel good do good location; three longtime friends, Andrew Miller, James Da Silva and Shane Dennis shared a vision; they wanted to create a “hub”, an opportunity within the community for social development, where education, awareness and opportunities could grow. Their goal was to form a communion of good food, local art, and musical talent, while encouraging a consciousness about food through social initiatives and action. Back to Basics was the result and from this sprang forth Unity Market Café & Studios, among other
initiatives. Back to Basics receives funding from The City of Barrie; insert a “Shout Out” here! Followed by kudos for the Trillium Foundation, which provides funding for an art program for students young and old, run at Unity Market Café & Studios.

In turn, over three years Back to Basics has contributed over 30,000 pounds (13.6 Tonnes) of food from their community gardens to The David Busby Street Center and The Elizabeth Fry Society.
Unity Market Café & Studios manager Shane L.S. Dennis personally does his part with fundraising; his yearly camping adventure, onsite, in the elements, in the cold month of December, has raised
awareness and a generous amount of funding, toys and clothes, all donated to the David Busby Street Centre. A very loud and sincere “Shout out for Shane”.

I was truly impressed when Shane Dennis told me that every Sunday afternoon at 2 pm, he leads volunteers on a community clean up walk in our city.

Unity Market Café & Studios is setting an example of pure altruism.

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I first met Shane Dennis at the Barrie Farmers Market; he was purchasing a large luscious butternut squash from McBride’s and he shared that it was soon to be soup for lunch at Unity Market Café and Studios . I shared that I write food and event reviews for Simcoe Dining, it was a timely match. I personally believe that all in our community should have access to good fresh food, this shouldn’t be limited to those with deep pockets. By feasting here you will satisfy your hunger and contribute to what they affectionately refer to as “an inspiration station”, Unity Market Café & Studios inspires!

Unity Market Café & Studios
25 Toronto St. Barrie, ON L4N 1T8
705-737-5208

shanelsdennis@gmail.com 705-716-6769
www.backtobasicscanada.com
on Facebook and twitter @UnityMarket

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow

A Trip to Creemore Kitchen

This is a spot where I could cuddle up with a hot tea, sweet nibble, good book and a warm blanket to spend a lazy afternoon. I could literally do that at Creemore Kitchen, as cozy blankets are part of the chilly season’s décor, and meant to be snuggled with. Creemore Kitchen serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and gorgeous sweets in the attached bake shop. In warmer seasons a covered patio is available.

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Four partners entered into this business; two are partners in life. Sam Holwell and Caesar Guinto have an eye for detail, creative skills to mix mediums, be it restaurant décor or food on the plates. Their approach to food is in synch with my own; they support local, and have cultivated successful relationships with the farmers and growers who provide them with the fabulous raw materials from which Chef Caesar lovingly crafts the food on the menu. This is farm to table at its best.

Relationships matter, community involvement is strong. On my second visit the restaurant was charmingly decorated for Halloween, with Sam and Caesar planning on hosting an open house for the neighbours, providing themed drinks for the adults, sweets for the kids, with all staff in costume.

Chef Caesar is classically French trained and highly skilled at melding his many influences with the unique flavours of his Philippine background.

It is clear that extraordinary thought, planning and sourcing occurred, given the unique design items that set the stage for the comfort of guests. A gorgeous oversized chandelier centers the space, industrial style mingles with classic; tea towel napkins, index card signage, simple, classic lined notebook paper menus. Old style glass jugs host sprays of teasel and dried seed pods, a collection of stately candlesticks stand guard on the bar, even the music fits.

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There is no pretense here; the design is casual elegance, which echo’s the menu.

Comfort food was on my mind that evening and I chose to order the “Crispy Pork Belly with Celery Root Puree and Apple Raisin Slaw” starter. Beautifully presented, the fresh crunch of the slaw balanced the smooth salty pork belly. This was flavour. I moved on to the “Fried Chicken with Biscuit, White Thyme Gravy, Potato Puree and Carrot Slaw”. I wanted to eat with my hands!

Dining companion du jour also stuck to the comfort food theme and ordered the burger. Her only complaint, it was so juicy, so well sized, it was a challenge to keep firmly held in her hands! For dessert, the “Chocolate Pave with Plum Compote, Crème Fraiche and Sable”, (precious rich cookies) was amazing. Table next allowed me to photograph their “Apple Fritter with Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream”, as this is a menu favourite.

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Donuts are a Saturday bakeshop feature and I suspect I will be driving forth to try some! My second trip out was for lunch and the opportunity to interview partners Sam and Caesar. I enjoyed a flavourful bowl of mushroom soup, choosing to save room for afternoon tea, having spotted in the bake shop a long time favourite, “Nutty Meringue’s”, (which were previously offered at another Barrie establishment), made with Chef Caesar’s recipe of course!

On Chef Caesar’s suggestion I took the meringue home with me, softly crumbled it, gently mixed in some organic whipped cream, and devoured it. This wonderful treat is known as “Eton mess”, a traditional English dessert served at Eton College’s annual cricket match.

It was amazing!

So is this restaurant.

I have the utmost respect for those who grow the food I eat, for those that take the raw ingredients and create tempting foods, both sweet and savory. To me this honours the land, the community, the economy, and it benefits us all. Thank you Creemore Kitchen!

CREEMORE KITCHEN
www.creemorekitchen.ca
134 Mill Street,
Creemore, ON L0M 1G0
705.466.2900

Hours
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – Lunch & Dinner – 11:00am-11:00pm (kitchen hours 11:00am – 3:00pm & 5:30pm – 9:30pm)
Tuesday – CLOSED
Saturday, Sunday – Brunch & Dinner – 11:00am-11:00pm (kitchen hours 11:00am-2:00pm & 5:30pm-9:30pm)

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow