Cha Cha Cha Italian Restaurant and Bar

When I read eggs benedict on the menu with a side order of gnocchi I was excited, but it gets even better. This isn’t just for the weekend brunch bunch, this is an anytime, any day, or evening, your choice brunch. Bacon and brie French toast for lunch, sure thing, Spanish omelet for dinner, order it, late night craving for the aforementioned eggs benedict with pancetta and that delicious side order of gnocchi, with a variety of superb sauces to choose from, you’ve got it.

That dear readers is but one of the unique features of Cha Cha Cha, the Italian Restaurant and Bar on Dunlop Street West that I am so passionate about!

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Cha Cha Cha opened gently, saving their grand opening for February 13th. Owner Michelle Devlin brings an amazing sense of style, an effervescent personality and years of experience, to the former location of Barrie’s beloved The North restaurant, on the corner of Dunlop and Mary Streets. Apparently this has fast become a late night favourite for others in the restaurant business and the support has been encouraging and most welcomed.

The vibe here is fabulous, the energy a credit to Michelle’s own. Cha Cha Cha is warm and inviting, a great spot to come with friends or family, but also would work well for a romantic evening.

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The marble bar provides a classic welcome, I have already laid claim to “my” spot. With excellent site lines to the open kitchen or the passing street scape, it is a bar with a view. Tables line the opposite side, allowing for a more private dining experience, lighting is spot on, the renovations ooze ambiance. The dulcet tones of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra harken back to supper club evenings, when one would dress for dinner out, or you may simply wander in for a late night sip and nibble, I have done both.

When the Latino dance music volumes up, I have witnessed customers create an impromptu dance floor and literally cha cha cha around the room, there is a passionate energy in this space! With two creative and talented young Chefs, the menu has a great selection of Italian favourites and the presentation is magnificent, the plating a delight of confetti colours of finely chopped peppers; antipasto, fresh mussels, pizzas and pastas, a chicken, steak and daily fresh fish selection, but honestly the all day brunch is my favourite.

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Important to know that vegetarian and gluten free items are available, locally grown and non-GMO items are used, and that beef and chicken are free range, cruelty and hormone free. Desserts made in house include a maple crème brulee, cheese cake and scrumptious poached pears in a red wine reduction served with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

Michelle’s daughter, Emily Devlin, will proudly make her singing debut performance during the February Blues Festival at Cha Cha Cha, as the restaurant is one of the host venues in this winters event. Michelle Devlin has borrowed from Shakespeare’s famous quote for the restaurants motto; “If music be the food of love play on”.

Play on they will!

– Written by: Penelope Morrow

http://chachacha7.webs.com/
Cha Cha Cha Italian Restaurant and Bar
66 Dunlop Street West, Barrie ON L4N 1A2
Tel: 705-503-2422
Email: bye-bye-butterfly@hotmail.com
Twitter @ChaChaChaBarrie

Cha Cha Cha’s profile

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

Bistro Seven Seven

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The charms of a solid brick century home are deeply rooted in my psyche having grown up in a King Township beauty. I adore the architecture; gingerbread trim with a lacey touch decorates welcoming front porches, high ceilings, tall baseboards, elegant lighting and beckoning inner staircases. Those formal dining rooms and large country kitchens conjure up images of comforting meals, prepared, served and lingered over.

A recent snowy evening drive to Alliston afforded me the luxury of a step back in time, and affirmed that the heart of the home is truly in the kitchen.

Dinner at Bistro Seven Seven was extraordinary.

From the moment I drove into this scenic farm community, the evening unfolded with grace and picture perfect precision, even the train chugged by on schedule, announcing its presence with that hauntingly beautiful sound. Snowflakes fell gracefully, twinkle lights sparkled, the warmth and glow of multiple fireplaces was matched by genuine enthusiasm from the staff.

Bistro Seven Seven is housed in a century home, intricate gingerbread trim graces the front porch, the home’s original owners’ name is etched in the glass above the front door.

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Hundreds of crystals sparkle from the entry way chandelier; main dining rooms are on the ground floor as is the bar area, upstairs are four rooms, ideal for intimate dinners, large family milestone celebrations or corporate events, two have mood enhancing, and very practical for an old home to have, gas fireplaces.

The art work is original and created by the Chef himself, with food inspired paints and crockery. In hindsight, the original baseboards, richly carved trim, and ceilings that seem to touch the sky are symbolic of the amazing food to come, it will enchant your taste buds as much as these architectural details enchant the eyes.

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Brothers and owners, Chef Jason Klausen and Ryan Klausen are no strangers to the restaurant business, with vast experience individually and collectively. This is the third restaurant opened together, their fourth “Bistro Burger Joint” is opposite Bistro Seven Seven and warrants this writers return to Alliston very soon. Additionally, in season they have a poutine truck parked at Airport Road in Mansfield and a smaller truck in Shelburne . I can’t help but wonder what’s next for the Klausen brothers? With their loyal following, their commitment to the local food movement and the absolutely amazing food coming out of their kitchens, I just know it too will be impressive.

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As my readers know, I am a staunch supporter of food which is locally grown, sourced, and produced. I lean to that which is organic, Bistro Seven Seven takes this approach in their kitchens and states so on their websites and menus. Our own local Flying Monkey’s Brewery beers are on tap here too. Menu design and layout was inspired by the street address; appetizers are listed as 7 First Impressions, mains as 7 Second Impressions, desserts as 7 Third Impressions and coffee, tea and specialty coffee are dedicated as Final Impressions. I was impressed with the menu and sought advice from our most capable server for his recommendations. He wisely suggested that we order from the signature menu items, as while changes to the menu occur, these are the standards, the crowd favorites and they will stay. His advice was well heeded.

We were delighted to be presented with an amuse-bouche; the kitchen tempted us before our first impressions arrived.

I started with the “Diver Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Puree, Oyster Mushroom, Cognac Cream”, while darling daughter choose “Hearts of Romaine, Garlic Emulsion, Buttered Croutons, Shaved Parmigiano”. I moved on to “AAA Beef Tenderloin, Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, Potato Dauphinoise, Veal Reduction”, and for her, “Hand Cut Herbed Gnocchi, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Wild Boar Bacon Cream Sauce”. Between courses, to cleanse our palate we were offered mixed berry and red wine sorbet tastes.

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Desserts are a must; we shared “Baked Apples in Filo, Carmel Sauce, Aged Cheddar Shortbread, with Cinnamon Ice Cream”, and a “Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee”.

Bistro Seven Seven made an Excellent Impression.

Bistro Seven Seven
77 Victoria St. E, Alliston, ON L9R 1L5

(705) 435-7177

dine@bistrosevenseven.com

www.bistrosevenseven.com
Written by: Penelope Morrow

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

Mayors Brunch and Levee

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Hosted by our own fabulous Mayor Jeff Lehman, organized by Robin Munro, this was the place to be, the morning after the night before.

The history of a Levee goes back to the 1600’s in France and long ago crossed the ocean to Canada. For over 350 years, New Year’s morn has been the opportunity for Governors and “Persons of Distinction” to greet the citizens, and welcome in the New Year.

Mayor Lehman warmly engages with his constituents; and the combination of good food, music and conversation was a great start to 2014!

The rotunda at City Hall was transformed with fresh flowers, candlelight, and linen table cloths, courtesy of Catering by Rose.

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The buffet style brunch was an artful mix of tasteful cuisine, prepared and presented by some of our cities finest independent restaurants and caterers. With the Kiwanis Club of Kempenfelt Bay pouring the champagne and orange juice, mimosas were on the menu. There were succulent savory crepes and home fries from Unity Market Café. Perfectly seasoned and spiced pakora, chicken korma and other delights were offered from Tara Indian Cuisine. Chef Marco Ormonde and his team from The North created a fabulous display, offering guests mussels, a multitude of sliced meats, and salads topped with edible flowers. Nadia McIlveen of Cheeky Treats wowed us with waffles topped with fresh fruit toppings, maple syrup and real whipped cream.

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A platter of sweets was available from Lemon Tree Bakery. The finishing touch was Hamley’s Tea & Coffee Co. generously providing fair-trade coffee and a selection of teas.

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Musical accompaniment was also on the menu; from the dulcet tones of Larry Christopher and his selection of Neil Young favorites, to the up and coming members of Vocal Stars Academy, event organizer himself, Robin Munro and his own “Jazz-Mandhu”, brunchers munched to a bevy of musical sounds and styles. Shane Dennis of Unity Café also shared his musical talents. The young and enthusiastic “Owen the Great Magician” wowed guests with his sleight of hand, Erich Jacoby-Hawkins and his wife Teresa found this young magician’s talents quite engaging!

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The benefits from attending the Mayors Brunch and Levee are long lasting; as a community we join together to continue a long standing tradition, we support our local establishments and we build relationships, but on a grander scale, the United Way of Greater Simcoe County benefits from this event and that is something that all involved can start the New Year feeling good about.

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Cheers to 2014!

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