Chavo Crepes in Barrie


From the farmers market I gleefully followed Chavo Crepes to a summer pit stop that was a fabulous food truck, and now I am thrilled to share that they are firmly ensconced on Dunlop Street, creating crepes both sweet and savory, salads and desserts with a European flair for all your senses. The window seats substitute a view in the distance of Kempenfelt Bay for the Seine; but the music, red wine and jaunty chef caps create a Parisian atmosphere. The restaurant is colourful, light and airy. The cozy chairs in the back corner near the fireplace create a pleasant space for lingering with your latte. I was privileged to view the photograph of the open kitchen design which will soon be installed, beautiful, très European indeed!


An open kitchen is a priority for them Karolina explains, “to watch how your food is prepared, to see the quality of the ingredients we use, to be served from the Chef, this matters to us”. A wine cellar corner is planned; this could be my fave corner, a variety of soups, salads and features of the day will be added to the menu, but crepes will remain the highlight. The crepes are very good! My favorite is the buckwheat crepe with goat cheese, greens and walnuts, accompanied by pear slices it is a perfect lunch or light dinner, while darling daughter prefers the vegetable crepe filled with a mélange of veggies.


Traditional dessert crepes are offered; the classic with clarified butter, brown sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, strawberries or bananas more to your liking, or Nutella for hazelnut fans. A unique sweet is a cheesecake crepe, freshly made cheesecake wrapped in a crepe!


While crepes make up the majority of menu items, they pay tribute to their European roots with the inclusion of some traditional Bulgarian dishes; a Bulgarian village sausage “it is our secret recipe”, and it sounds intriguing, as does the Shopska Salad, with cucumbers, red onion, olives, grilled red peppers topped with feta cheese and olive oil.


They are presently curing their own meats which will find their way onto the menu too. Both Karolina and Charli are qualified Chefs and studied Hotel Management, they ran a small hotel and restaurant in Bulgaria before coming to Canada, where they first opened a crêperie in Scarborough. They have been committed to opening a restaurant in Barrie from day one.

Charli shared “we fell in love with this city, it reminded us of the Black Sea” and while the commute to Scarborough was lengthy, it was simply a matter of time before they found the right place to open a restaurant in the city they now call home.

Karolina is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, food in its entirety is greatly important to her. “whole food is very important, not just the pieces, everything is made from scratch, prepared with creativity, served with love, everything is to be a good dish, as we eat with all our senses, we eat visually, we smell our food, everything matters.”

In keeping with her holistic approach to food and nutrition, Ayurvedic cooking classes will be coming to Chavo Crepes.

Their connection to the Barrie Farmers Market remains strong as it is community for Karolina and Charli; in the restaurant they offer butter tarts from Cheeky Treats and Florentine cookies by Egon. Community building is also represented in their beverage selections. Barrie’s own Flying Monkeys beer is here and Fielding Estates Winery from Beamsville will be brought in for local representation of wines. In keeping with the Parisian theme, a small but good selection of French red and white wines are offered too.


Karolina is the self-described visionary, Charli is the business side, combined with their culinary skills, this is an amazing triple threat for a restaurant to have!

Chavo Crepes, 74 Dunlop St. E., Barrie
Phone: 705.727.8721
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8 am – 8 pm, Sunday 10 am – 4pm

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

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For other great desserts be sure to check out Little Red Pocket Cocktail Bar all the way in Australia. Little Red Pocket is renowned for their great food, desserts and of course cocktails. They are open most days and nights of the week and a popular choice for entertainment especially on Friday and Saturday nights.


Healthy Food Recipes

Era 67 in Orillia


When Chef Ian tells me his kitchen is a place of sanctuary, I understand intrinsically the food presented to his clientele is prepared with reverence and will be the very best available.

It is.

Sourcing local is priority, from the kitchen to the décor; stunning art work adorns the walls, I was particularly impressed with the four seasons of maple trees by local artist Brian Tosh. Honey and maple syrup is available to purchase in store, as are some glorious Group of Seven mugs, homage apparent for all things Canadiana. Also available seasonally are freshly made compound butters, which have adorned the corn on the cob at the Mariposa Festival for many years. They are made in house with Kawartha Dairy butter, in flavours as diverse as dill pickle, brown sugar wild blueberry, maple chipotle, and garlic Provençal.

I was delighted to celebrate my birthday dinner at Era 67, even more so when I discovered a charming personalized birthday card nestled next to the fresh flowers on the table. This is good customer service. Gordon Lightfoot tunes played in the background, the soundtrack epitomizes Canadian music. Trust your server; I asked for recommendations and we were thrilled with his choices.


Rather than bread service, Era 67 offers fresh made kettle chips with a maple chipotle aioli for dipping. This proved popular for those with gluten sensitivities and is a such a hit, many of the clientele will purchase a bag or two to take home with them.

I started dinner with the “Wild Boar East Coast Scallops; pan seared diver scallops atop wild boar bacon confit, complemented with curried Georgian Bay McIntosh Apple and Bala cranberry chutney”. Darling daughter enjoyed the Era 67 rendition of Caesar Salad which includes; duck fat crouton, Balderson Cheddar and parmesan frico, double smoked bacon, creamy roasted garlic Provençal vinaigrette.


The steaks are all Alberta Butcher Block Reserve, which is the top 4th percentile in marbleization, AAA beef. Mine was topped with stilton butter, with a side of frites and aioli.

Creating your cut and “accessories” provides ample opportunity for individual tastes and appetites. Darling daughter dined on the Local Tre Sorelle handmade pasta stuffed with Era 67 Wild Mushroom duxelle, Chardonnay reduction, shallots, thyme, Woolrich goat cheese, Balderson aged cheddar, tossed with a roasted garlic cream sauce and topped with wilted baby arugula, grape tomatoes in maple marinara.

With friends and a birthday cake waiting for me at home, I was still tempted to try a wee dessert. Once again the servers’ choice was correct. “Sweet Poutine” was light as air, “Crispy puff pastry fries tossed in cinnamon sugar topped with Era’s whisky vanilla caramel sauce, chocolate cake pieces, maple chip cream and chocolate sauce for dipping”.

Dinner was delicious.

I returned to Era 67 on a sunny fall day to share a delightful conversation with Executive Chef Ian Thompson; as with most of the Chefs and restaurateurs I have interviewed for Simcoe Dining, supporting local is their lifestyle. Local brings down the carbon foot print, improves the local economy, and it allows for the development of solid relationships with the farmers and growers of the food that Chef Ian brings into his establishment.

There are staples on the menu, but it is “tweaked” seasonally to reflect the growing season. Having trained at George Brown and then obtained a culinary apprenticeship in Ireland, which developed into an extended stay at a restaurant on the Celtic Sea, where he moved his way up through the ranks. Fresh from the ocean was what the fishmonger caught daily, literally eating off the door stop. Chef Ian is also a natural storyteller, I sat entranced, than doubled over in laughter when he told me about the “eels”.

Missing this “great country of Canada” he returned home, put his experience in place on Canadian soil and when this location became available he and his wife Sarah started Era 67 and are now firmly rooted in Orillia.


I asked what message Chef Ian Thompson would like to share with my readers: “I would say that food is the one thing that you can be selfish with, because if you actually look at food as the biggest social aspect of our lives. So in closing I would like to say be selfish when it comes to food, bring everybody together, take that time to yourself and your loved ones, but if you look at today’s society when does anybody ever do that anymore, but food will always bring you together, if you let it.”


One of the best things about writing for Simcoe Dining, aside from having fantastic meals, is the relationships I have formed through meeting likeminded people, because it’s not just about food, it’s the attitudes that come with. Its soothing to converse and do an interview, it’s finding another simpatico person who shares my belief that this isn’t just about feeding the body it’s about feeding the soul. Executive Chef Ian and I concur on this point; while confederation in 1867 brought together our country, food brings people together and this bonding is good for us all.


I highly recommend Era 67, and if Chef Ian has a moment, ask him to share the story about the eel.

Era 67
64 Mississaga Street West.
Orillia, ON, L3V3A8

Phone: 705 259 1867

Manager – Sarah Valiquette-Thompson
Chef – Ian Thompson

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings at Violet’s Venue



Bruce grew up in the 60’s, a huge music fan who dreamt of opening a concert venue someday. For thirty years the responsibilities of career and family took priority, but his dream didn’t fade. In February 2014, Violet’s Venue, a “purple hued no expense spared temple to the Blues”, opened its doors in Barrie, thus fulfilling Bruce’s long held dream while setting the stage to leave a musical legacy for his young daughter Violet.

Violet’s Venue provides concert goers from near and far with an exclusive, very intimate concert experience. Seating is for 92 patrons, every seat is a great one.

For those that require it, an elevator is available. Merch table, meet and greet with autograph session are part and parcel of the evenings, a fans dream! Beverages both alcoholic and non are available. Facilities on the main floor avail themselves for foodie events.

A historic organ, the type traditionally played by Blues musicians, bronze plaque polished, gleaned from a Toronto church, is right of stage and the entire sound system, well, it is astounding! Which brings me to the music, and at Violet’s Venue, it is all about the music.

Mid set; I was honoured to be granted an exclusive interview with Tom Wilson, of Juno Award winning, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.


Penelope Morrow: I usually interview Chefs, so can’t help but bring a comparison to food; too many cooks can spoil the broth, but NOT with you guys. You have a stellar musical career happening, all of you, and extraordinary talents.

How do you identify what song is going to be your song and what song is going to be a Blackie and the Rodeo Kings song? How do you choose?

Tom Wilson: You know what, there is some kind of thing that comes out of the cosmos, some kind of magic trick, or some kind of spiritual guide. Let’s call it for lack of a better term, there’s a spiritual guide that comes out of the creative energy you know, something we do pool from other worlds, and you follow that lead. That you go with creatively so you actually know what’s right and after doing this for so long we don’t try to do things we shouldn’t be doing, we don’t try and force things, on one another or on ourselves or try to put the round peg into the square hole kind of thing.

PM: What is your BARK method as it were, for reconciling with strong personalities both musical and personal, and dealing with the distance between your locales? You’re in Hamilton, Colin is in Nashville and Stephen is in Halifax. How do you have such a cohesive band when you are so far apart?

TW: I think it probably helps a little bit, we don’t get under each other’s skin, we don’t see a lot of each other except, unless, we have the intent of doing something creatively, it defines our relationships at this point in our lives. I have known Colin since I was 16 years old; I have known Stephen since about 1994, about 21 years I guess. So familiarity builds contempt and there is just none of that in this band. Also we have built a band that doesn’t say no to one another we are open to ideas all the time, because we are able to trust one another that the person is not going to lead us down a path we shouldn’t be going down so not having to say no is easy.


PM: You are touring North and South, had to use that one, you are even going to the Calabogie Road.

TW: Yah we kind of go from one project to another. Colin is about the one guy that is the most stable at home these days as he works in Nashville. He is a go to guy as a guitar player and as a writer and as a producer, he is working on a TV show called Nashville full time, he is on the show, he is part of the musical direction of the show, recording team, its huge, the show is huge, nice little gig to be working on. It’s also a great creative outlet for him, but also its keeping him at home. And every once and a while, I am 55 and tired of travelling, so you always look for ways to be able to, that allow you to choose what you want to do when you want to do it cause that’s what becoming an artist is all about.

Basically it’s impossible for us to be told what to do. For whatever reasons we are born with authority issues and now we are middle aged men with authority issues, so it’s even more difficult for us to be told what to do. Sustaining a life where you get to be creative and you get to make choices that you get to live with, that you don’t have to live by anyone else’s choices for you, that’s important and that’s what we will continue to try and do until they are throwing dirt on our caskets.


PM: Do you like the small venues?

TW: Sure I like any venue. This is a great place. I like any place, I like it here. This is nice, I don’t know what it was, it looks like it might have been a funeral home or a banquet hall maybe.

PM: I believe it was a banquet hall.

TW: Most of all it’s about the heart that people put in the venue. Bruce, who owns it, he puts a lot of heart into this place and he’s got a real love for music and that’s what we need. We need more of that.

PM: I agree!

PM: Tell me about your painting?

TW: Yet another vehicle for the life I choose to live, the creative life I chose to live. I started painting in 1997, because I wanted to stop being destructive, and I wanted to be productive, and it was a great

PM: Thank you so much for your time.

TW: Thank you very much, it’s good.


Blackie and the Rodeo Kings performed an amazing show at Violet’s Venue on November 10, 2014. Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson engage the audience with their thoughtful wit and storytelling between songs. The caliber of their songwriting impresses me, rich with life experience and depth of emotion, with guitars in hand they lead us, they make my boots stomp and my hips sway. This is damn good music.

Their gratitude in achieving success is clear, while showing altruism and caring for others with their support of World Vison, offering the audience “anything off the merch table to those that sign up to support this cause”.


Tom Wilson eloquently summed up my own thoughts about Violet’s Venue when he noted the love for the music that Bruce Maltby has; it is visible in the quality of the workmanship, the autographed photographs of each performer that has played at the venue that surround the picture of his beloved daughter Violet.


There is quality at Violet’s Venue, on stage and off.

Music lovers, go there!

Phone: (705) 238-9282
Address: 52 Morrow Road, Barrie, ON L4N 3V8

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

10fold farms “Feast on Summer” with Ciboulette et Cie

The setting was picture perfect, our creature comforts tended to; from the tarps above, festooned with twinkle lights, the photo op gorgeous press back chair bundled with blankets, the table setting charming chic, sporting mismatched china. ‘Twas simply fairyland in the field.


Melissa and Nathan McCosker of 10fold farms know how to throw a feast!

The seed of inspiration started small but has grown strong.


As Melissa shared with me they were disappointed with the lack of access to good food in the grocery stores. They had the desire to feed their family organic chicken, good pork, beef and veggies. Their solution was to grow what they needed, thereby ensuring that the farming methods and quality of the food would be consistent with their beliefs. This is sustainable farming, healthy for the land and body. They bought their property in 2009, animals were added in 2010, and their specialty is Berkshire Pork.


They raise happy healthy animals in this woodland setting. Veggies of all types are grown, including mushroom logs. These beauties are available to purchase allowing you to harvest your own crop of Shiitake mushrooms. The property hosts a greenhouse in the geodesic dome style, allowing them to extend the growing season.


Nathan grew up on a cattle and sheep farm in Australia and has vast experience with animal husbandry, growing crops using natural methods and cooking; having travelled to many “delicious places”. Nathan often develops the menu and cooks the feasts that he and Melissa will serve, but on this evening, Chef André Sanche, decided to “come out and play”. Chef André was the inaugural chef for their “feasts” and the three work well together. For the “Feast on Summer”, Nathan led the guests on a tour of the farm before dinner; a wonderful walking aperitif. This stimulated conversation, educated us to their farming principals and allowed ample time for photography.

As gloaming settled, candlelight welcomed us to the table and the feast began.


Dinner was divine; we started with a small glass of craft beer, with our 1st; Sticky Portuguese Style Berkshire Braised Pork Belly on onion and roasted garlic compote with sautéed sweet peppers. Moving to our 2nd, with white wine; Smoked Georgian Bay Whitefish with Shredded Kale Slaw, Basil scented Say Cheese Yogurt, pickled yellow cucumbers and spicy smoked pepper salsa verde. Red Wine with our 3rd; Thyme Roasted Berkshire Pork Shoulder Roast, 10fold farms Vegetable Medley, Lemon Verbena Polenta, with C’est Bon Goat Cheese.

Our 4th; tea or coffee and Warm Berkshire Lard Beignets with Maple Whiskey Carmel and Whipped Goat Cream. Guests lingered near the bonfire as the embers waned, it was hard to say goodnight. Feasts are offered throughout the season, each has its own theme, details are sent out to those on the email list. Do sign up, these are must attend events.


The relationship between Chef André Sanche and 10fold farms is symbiotic. The Berkshire pork is available to purchase at Ciboulette et Cie and is the pork of choice for Chef André in his restaurant. Nearing Christmas, 10fold farms will have their mushroom logs available for purchase at Ciboulette et Cie. These spore injected logs make great gifts; we purchased one last year and my young nephew found the sprouting fungi enchanting.

Chef André Sanche has been featured previously on Simcoe Dining; I was privileged to experience his talents at the Georgian College Chef Series, and I reviewed his restaurant, Ciboulette et Cie in June 2013. Growth and accolades continue for Chef André Sanche; the restaurant has acquired a liquor license and is now open for Thursday night dinners, with a communal flair. Ciboulette et Cie has been designated a “FEAST ON” Member with the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance. This prestigious honour recognizes a minimum use of 25% local foods, and a gorgeous wooden spoon is presented to members!


10fold farms flourishes; this has been the first year they had a booth at the Orillia Farmers Market and they will be there until Christmas; selling their frozen pork products and a plethora of seasonal delights all grown and baked fresh on the farm. Jams and jellies, hand pies in seasonal flavours; rhubarb, strawberry and soon to arrive will be apple. They sell pulled pork sandwiches on homemade bread each week, jars of lard they have rendered themselves for your own baking, and some amazing flavoured and herbed butters made in collaboration with Stirling Creamery, barrel churned butter. Post feast, I purchased a pound of Berkshire bacon and a jar of the lemon butter to take home with me for breakfast treats!

Berkshire pork to purchase from 10fold farms is available by email marketing with direct delivery, contact 10fold farms for details.

There are folk, squeamish about thinking where their food comes from; but by supporting local we become educated about our food sources and the people that are growing and producing the very sustenance we require.

When I asked Melissa what message she would like me to share with my readers, her reply was direct. “Reinforce as a meat eater it is really a brave thing to be conscious about what you are putting on your fork. Getting to know your farmer is vastly important in this day and age, especially not knowing where all that grocery store food comes from. The more relationships you develop with the farmers the better off you are health wise and ethically, it’s a good thing all together”. Need I say more?
Melissa & Nathan McCosker
1751 Rosemount Road Waubaushene, Ontario Canada L0K 2C0
@10foldFarms on twitter

Written by: Penelope Morrow

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Chaopaya Thai Restaurant in Barrie


The inside of the Thai restaurant has sections divided off in nestled open concept rooms which add a nice ambience. The entire place is filled with very ornate and beautiful Oriental decorations. Right above where I was sitting there were two stuffed blowfish that you would likely be able to find only in the Orient.

Although the restaurant has probably seen its better days, it’s been a favourite of Thai food lovers in Barrie for many years now. In the summer the patio is absolutely fantastic; it’s in fact probably one of the largest I’ve seen downtown. Because the restaurant is a little nestled from the busy Dunlop street, the restaurant affords you to have a very easygoing and quiet lunch or dinner on the patio.

The food at Chaopaya is very exciting, tasty and very affordable too. They offer main course dishes ranging from the $10 mark up to around $16 for the duck stir-fry. I was able to try two Thai curry dishes and a very generic chicken stir-fry meal. Both curries were very flavourful, not too spicy and quite filling.

Even though the curry is considered to be medium spice level, the servers let us know that they can be made hot or very hot. I’ve been to a few Thai restaurants and the medium spice was perfect for me. Thai curry isn’t much like its Indian counterpart; it tends to be lighter and oily as opposed to a thick and pasty Indian curry. Either way it makes for a lighter healthy dish that tastes great. Both the Red Beef Curry and Green Chicken curry are made with a coconut curry sauce.


The Chicken with mixed vegetables came with broccoli, bamboo and carrots, as did most of the other meals. However some of the other dishes were a little different like the Golden Curry Chicken and Tamarind Curry Beef with potatoes or the Chicken with Peanut Sauce with peppers and onions.

Sadly, I did not try the Duck with Ginger which is one of the most expensive dishes on the menu but looks absolutely fantastic. Most dishes are served with rice making the overall bill very affordable. But what’s more, if you go there for lunch, many of the main course meals are offered at a reduced lunchtime price of $9.95. The lunch dishes are also served with a small hot and sour soup and spring roll as an appetizer. It’s quite a deal.

As far as Thai restaurants in downtown Barrie, Chaopaya is easily the best value for your money, and the food is just great and the atmosphere is very charming. If you’re looking for a quick, light and healthy lunch option, Chaopaya might be a little bit away from the main part of downtown but it’s worth trying. Dinner at Chaopaya is also great and even checking out the patio for afternoon drinks with a few friends would be quite relaxing as well. It’s a very nice spot. I liked it, and for now, it’s my go to place for Thai food in Barrie. If you haven’t yet, you should definitely try it.

Written by Michael Whone

Follow Michael on twitter @whoneranger and check out his website

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Painters Hall Bistro


It was some years back when I first walked through the doors of Painters Hall Bistro, down the narrow hall lined with local artwork, and found myself in this wonderful restaurant. I followed the gentle scent of fresh linen, flowers and what I can only describe as “good kitchen”. I knew then that I was about to experience a lovely dinner, every meal since has been consistently great.

Flash forward to a recent Barrielicious, when darling daughter choose Painters Hall Bistro as her summer dining treat, she with the good camera for food pictures to temp your appetite. I realize that Barrielicious is not the best time to review a restaurant; the menus are shorter, the venues are hopping, but the staff at Painters Hall juggle this summer dining frenzy with ease, the kitchen dishes out great plates, and the overall experience is as delightful as any other time I have dined there.

Owner Erin Burrows shared with me that the art work lining the walls is “all local and revolves every six months”. Having original art on display “changes the atmosphere and adds to the ambiance”.


There are three rooms at Painters Hall Bistro, each with a distinctly different feel; the front room seems brighter and is larger, this to me is the spot for a celebratory night out, the overall volume slightly louder. The regulars gravitate to the middle room; this is where the bar is located, strong and stately, where the musicians set up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, where the banter is familiar between guests and staff, a sense of camaraderie is palpable. The back room has the date night feel to me, more intimate, a wee bit darker and cozier.


Whichever room you choose, the service will be consistent and your dinner will be grand.

Painters Hall signature menu items have stood the test of time. While there have been changes within the kitchen, the glorious Surf and Turf; “Butter Braised Pork Belly & Cider Scallops” appetizer gets a slight tweak from the Chef, and is simply divine, served with compressed Watermelon Salsa.

My daughter’s choices of; “Painters Hall Organic Cookstown Greens Whipped Almond Brie, Baco Noir Blueberry Vinaigrette, served on the side for her, with Crisp Asian Pear & Blueberries”, a perfect summer salad.


In winter I always indulge in the signature main of Braised Beef Short Ribs; but for summer I chose the “Stuffed Chicken Breast, Sweet Potato, Ricotta, Fresh Basil and Spicy Chorizo, Ontario Spring Pea Barley Risotto, Micro Green and Veg Chip Salad” and was suitably pleased. As was darling daughter, with her “Fresh Black Pasta, Organic Shrimp, Fresh Sautéed Tomato, Creamy Pesto Sauce”.



Desserts were delicious; the only unfortunate moment was while posing for the camera my Bourbon Honey Ice Cream with Roasted Ontario Peaches and Lavender Drizzle began to melt, oh the pressure! The Dark Chocolate Moussed Layered with Vanilla Bean Chantilly and Macerated Berries held up under the photographer’s demands much better, but certainly didn’t last long once the tasting began!


While my experiences at Painters Hall Bistro have always been positive, there may be some who have feedback either positive or not, they would prefer to share privately. Erin Burrows explained that guests often find it difficult to do so while actually at the restaurant. A unique solution has been offered for just this situation; “Text the Boss” cards are on hand with the phone number boldly printed, this differs from the reservation phone number and the message is clear, if you have feedback, we want to hear it. Great idea!

Another unique option offered at Painters Hall Bistro is the “dinner meeting”; a three course meal is presented and A/V equipment and screens are available.

I commend the originality of this working while dining experience!

I asked Erin Burrows what is next for Painters Hall. With six years staying power, where does she see the restaurant going? “Where do I see us going, I really listen to my regular clientele, I listen to those that dine here frequently, and I meet their expectations, everything from the wine list to new and upcoming cocktails. We are getting into the old fashioned drinks and the cocktail culture, we are really trying to develop that.”

I raise my glass to toast the continued success of Painters Hall Bistro!
17 Clapperton St. Barrie, ON L4M3E4
705 797 8844

Written by: Penelope Morrow

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Farmers Markets North and South; Innisfil and Orillia

I believe in putting my money where my fork goes. I prefer shopping at a farmers market. I like posters that remind me “if you ate today hug a farmer”, although I have yet to actually hug a farmer! I had a great time recently visiting Farmers Markets north and south of Barrie; in Innisfil and Orillia.

I hope dear readers that you will explore the markets, purchase some amazing local foods, and maybe be inspired to hug a farmer or two!


First stop was the Innisfil Farmers Market; it runs Thursdays from 2-7 p.m. seasonally at the Innisfil Recreational Complex, with ample free parking onsite. This is the 4th year for the market, which started as a pilot project for the Town of Innisfil under their Inspiring Innisfil 2020 forecast. Rob Radcliffe is the Chair this year, and with an ever growing roster of vendors, Georgian Hills Vineyard about to join in with their VQA wines, this is a great place to shop! Weekly entertainment is provided. Special events are held, from strawberries to BBQ’s, corn roast to apples, a celebration of the fall harvest with a pumpkin festival in the fall. The market has a friendly energy you can feel, cheerful balloons and signage help showcase the vendor of the week.

I found Holly’s Sweets & Eats, which I consider hands down Barrie’s best bakery side-by-side the family owned Ficklewood Farm. We tried their pork sausage on a bun with onions and red peppers and tasted their pulled pork; both are nicely seasoned, very tasty indeed. I purchased an amazing cheese, caramelized onion and bacon bread, which made fabulous BLT sandwiches for lunch on the weekend!

I sampled some delightful maple products from Everything Maple and More, and learnt they had been on Dragons Den pitching their wares.
A flower booth was blooming lovely, Cookstown greens; known for their outstanding produce had baskets of bounty. Indeed all the vendors were most welcoming. Highly recommended.

Orillia now boasts two markets; while historically downtown was the home for the original market, changing times and locations resulted in the creation of two markets.

The Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Markets situated at ODAS Park, open Saturdays 8-1 p.m. is mandated to support farmers and the farming community, so a country location with a grassy treed site is the perfect home for their 52 vendors. As market manager Anne Lesperance shared with me, customers tell her “This feels like a good place for a Farmers’ Market to be”.

I happened to attend on Strawberries and Cream event day and was duly impressed. This was a joint fundraiser for the market and The Sharing Place Food Bank in Orillia. Kawartha Dairy donated the ice cream and the monies raised were split between the food bank and the farmer’s market. The market portion will go toward the building fund as a contribution to their winter home. Anne Lesperance explained that with new refrigeration units at the food bank, they are now able to accept fresh produce from vendors at both Orillia Farmers markets. Vendors are able to donate to the Sharing place, which means that members of the community in need, are able to access fresh produce.

Local altruism in action!

A unique find I discovered at the market was a mobile wood burning oven. I was familiar with some of the vendors as they are also at “my” home market in Barrie. It was good to see McBride’s Organics and Black Angus Farm Gate and to meet new vendors, Just Say Cheese and Franni Granola amongst many others. I found Simply Tea and Chocolate situated here, having known them from a Barrie locale too!

The market has a wide variety of unique events scheduled for the season, including a Buskerfest, Medieval Festival, College /University Student Scavenger Hunt, Three Sisters Celebration and more.

As they say “they make it, bake it or grow it”, go check it out!

Orillia Farmers Market- Downtown is the oldest business in town; literally, dating back to 1842, so their motto “Get your boots to the roots” is absolutely apropos!


Changes have taken place, but now that the downtown market is firmly grounded at the library the tradition of bringing farm fresh foods continues. From the oldest to the newest, trend setting food vendors are making this a niche market and food folk are rejoicing. The market has booths from two local restaurants that base their menus on locally grown foods sourced from the farmers market. Yummy and reasonably priced breakfasts are available for the early risers from Bistro 179 and Tre Sorelle, known for their Italian specialty items are regulars. My taste buds were thrilled to eat at Fox Foods, their tacos and “foxsicles” have me craving more. Thankfully they are opening a resto this fall in Orillia. Oh Editor take note, I am going back! Midland’s Grounded Coffee has a booth here; theirs is the daily brew in my home. It was great to see the Pretzel People again too! Pat Loewen, is the Manager of the Orillia Farmers Market, she was the original start up 23 years ago with the Gravenhurst Farmers’ market, and she knows food!


This is the first farmers market where I had the vino experience, as Pillitteri is the resident wine vendor. This being the first year 100% VQA Ontario wines can be sold at farmers markets. Frankly it seems a civilized, logical extension of supporting local growers and producers to me.

So please check out the farmers markets, support local, hug a farmer, grower or food producer and put your money where your fork goes!

Written by: Penelope Morrow

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Ten Great Summer Grilling Cookbooks for the Barbecue Enthusiast

Sizzle and Smoke: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling for Diabetes, Prediabetes, and Heart Health– 155 pages
This cookbook is aimed towards people with diabetes and contains a health guide with the amounts of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. for each recipe.  It is also endorsed by the American Diabetes Association.  It contains an extensive section on sauces, condiments, salsas, pestos and has 50 full meal recipes and 30 side dish recipes and a dessert section.  The book is very nice with mostly typical barbecue ideas.  A must have for someone looking to cut back on sodium and improve heart health, while still enjoying barbecue.


The Gardener & the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill– 224 pages
This barbecue cookbook contains over 30 pages of sauces, seasonings, vinaigrettes and dressings and tzatziki.  It has 22 wonderful and interesting appetizer ideas, including my favourite: cream cheese stuffed jalapeno poppers.  It also contains a full section on sandwiches and pizzas which includes recipes for dough, Meze and Naan.  It offers a complete guide to grilling and all the instructions you may need.  Although it is mainly focused on grilling garden treasures, it does contain ideas for sandwiches with meats like chicken and sausage.  It has a wealth of knowledge on grilling vegetables for salads (including potato salad) and using a saucepan on the grill.  The soup and main dish sections are also great.


Fabulicious!: On the Grill: Teresa’s Smoking Hot Backyard Recipes– 208 pages
Nice book with several recipes.  Most Barbecuing requires a lot of seasoning, marinades, and sauces.  This book was lacking in that department.  It does include full sections on chicken, seafood, pasta, and other assorted meats.  It contains over 60 full recipes (including appetizers, soups, and desserts). It is a very useful cookbook with some great barbecue ideas, but not quite as complete as others.


Vegetarian Barbecue – 80 Easy-to-Grill Recipes Including Dips, Skewers, Salads and Sides – 183 pages, hard cover
This barbecue book is quite nicely designed with easy to read recipes.  It contains a lot of clever dips, salsas, and sauces with an excellent sour cream dip.  There are pictures of almost every recipe.  There was a nice small dish/appetizer section which contained wonderful ideas from grilled lotus to skewers to spring roll cigars.  There’s a fair amount of salad and tofu recipes.  All-in-all there’s 20 full-size meals with pictures of each very imaginative recipe.  Each of the salad recipes contains pictures and seasoning ideas that complemented the dish.  If you’re looking to improve on grilling vegetables, and more vegetarian ideas, this book is very clever and inventive, and the pictures really bring it to life.


Taste of Home Backyard Barbecues: 405 Dishes for Sizzling Celebrations– 256 pages
This book boasts over 405 dishes.  Cover to cover, it is jammed with recipes and still has a fair number of pictures.  These quick and easy descriptions are what you need to make things like: Polynesian kabobs, California quinoa, grilled snapper with caper sauce, many desserts, grilled teriyaki pork tenderloin, trail mix, and obviously a lot more.  This book isn’t as clever and exotic, but with this many recipes it does have a lot to offer. It’s a great value for the price.


The Barbecue! Bible– 556 pages
This book has over 500 recipes.  It has very full sections on Chicken and other poultry, fish, shell fish, vegetarian dishes, other grilled vegetables, rice and beans, salsa, relish and slaw, sauces, marinades, seasonings and desserts.  Right off the top there are over 50 pages of anything and everything grill related from marinade times to how to prepare and cook various meats and cuts to using foil and suggested heat levels for any cooking need.  It has very few pictures, and is filled with mostly recipes.  It doesn’t contain too many generic ideas, they are mostly exciting and exotic. Dishes like bacon grilled prunes, lettuce bundles with beef, Korean short ribs and beer can chicken stand out.  If it doesn’t bother you that the pictures are limited, this is clearly the best choice and most complete of cookbooks, among the rest. Great price too.


Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond – 192 pages, hard cover
This book has the most exotic barbecue ideas I’ve seen.  It does have pictures on most of the recipes.  It’s a very exciting and vibrant book with fantastic off-the-grid meal ideas that you don’t find in other barbecue books.  It contains many clever sauces, marinades and also has a full side and appetizer guide.  Overall, you may not be able to pronounce everything in this book, but you’ll want to try it all; very exciting and interesting ideas that are well worth picking up.  This is simply the best non-traditional barbecue cookbook I’ve seen.


Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling.– 304 pages
It contains sections on: appetizers, red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, veggies, and desserts. It’s a complete cookbook from A to Z.  It features pictures of every recipe.  It you’re like me, and you need pictures this book is a must have.  It also contains a very extensive and complete fish section.  It is lacking a little on the sections with marinades, salsa, sauces, seasoning to mix and match with your own creations and ideas. However the many recipes it does have usually contain sauces and marinade ideas to complement.  It has over 150 recipes that go from easy to adventurous.


The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit – 432 pages
This book has lots of pictures to go with the recipes.  It has probably the best section on burgers that I’ve seen, including burgers with chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna.  It’s a big and complete cookbook with recipes for every type of meat and lots of veggies recipes, as well as sauces, salads, drinks, burgers, sausage, seafood and sandwiches. It contains a lot of easy recipes but also has many exciting, adventurous and off-the-grid recipes too.  Of any of the cookbook I’ve seen, it has the most extensive section of lamb recipes.  Boasting over 200 recipes, and with a lot of pictures of the dishes, this one is among the best out there.


Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill: Over 100 Recipes from My Backyard to Yours – 268 pages
This one has pictures of every recipe and has some of the most exotic and exciting recipes I’ve seen. Two of my favourites were the Jamaican beef patties and full prime rib rotisserie recipes. It also has a great grilled fish section.  It’s definitely lacking in sections for sauces, marinades, and salsas.  It does however make up for this by containing a lot of inventive ideas for sauces, marinades and seasonings in the recipes themselves. The sauces on the recipes for grilled ribs, pork, steak and fish are fantastic. Overall, Rob Rainford’s book is a nice buy.

-Written by: Michael Whone

Follow Michael Whone on Twitter @whoneranger and visit his website:

Kenzington Burger Bar

I first met owner Brandon Clark and his best friend and right hand man Neil Ornella at the ORHMA awards at the Nottawasaga Inn. They were alongside Marco Ormonde from The North offering diners classic Whiskey Sours, traditionally made with Crown Royal, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters. The attention to detail for a drink is unusual for a bar, but quality matters and they know it. The drinks were fabulous and I decided then and there, drinks and dinner at Kenzington was in order.

I rolled in first one Saturday night with a gal pal; we took our seats at the bar, this being one good looking, fully stocked, back lit, bar that serves up classic fresh made cocktails.


We ordered our drinks and settled in with spinach dip for snacking, having observed the size of the loaded nachos and realizing it was far beyond the size of our appetites.

I don’t usually recommend drinks, but I can’t say enough about the cocktails shaken and stirred at Kenzington. The talented bartenders are mixing up classic signature cocktails, using fresh ingredients. Fresh makes the difference be it at the bar or in the kitchen, as Neil Ornella tells me “we use fresh squeezed lime juice vs bar lime, we do it properly”.


The bar also houses the mighty iMac, with a playlist I would like to have. The music is the perfect accompaniment, it keeps the room humming until the live band starts.

Neil Ornella told me during our interview that he is responsible for the bar music, which is a compilation gleaned from their own playlists, carefully blended to suit the mood of the days. If it’s Saturday afternoon; it is going to be Blues and Rock, Stones and Faces, Led Zeppelin with a side order of Motown. Very tasty!


Neil apparently takes to the stage to play music too and I am marking my calendar for the annual “Those Guys Christmas Spectacular”.

I returned to the Kenzington with an appetite to try the namesake burgers; taking two hungry teens with me. A first for me was the bartender’s creation of a namesake cocktail; the “Penelope” was to my liking, Grey Goose based, magic in a glass with a hint of lime, it had my taste buds primed for the main event. The menu is ably explained; step one, pick your style of burger, step two, pick your bun, gluten free options are available, step three, pick your meat, beef, chicken, turkey or veggie, step four, choose your side, perhaps you’re in a mood for fries or rings, or green it up with a salad.


There are suggested favourites too; I went with the “Black & Blue”, Blue cheese, blackened spice and bacon”, on a Brioche Bun. The “Californian” is a popular choice; avocado, Monterey Jack, bacon and chipotle mayo. Feeling “Crazy”? That menu item requires 24 hours’ notice and includes 1 lb. of beef! For non-burger fans there are numerous poultry options, veggie wraps and the Canadian tradition of Poutine also appears in a plethora of incarnations. We three were pleased with our burgers and sides. The kitchen is small, so sip your beverages slowly, staff are upfront about this and your burger is worth the wait. As they say, this is “simple food, done properly”.


Timing and longevity are partners for Brandon Clark; Kenzington has been a fixture on Dunlop Street for seven years now and we can expect to see cross branding with his purchase of Tropical North next store. This partnership is hot, bringing watersports and SUP rentals to the waterfront and these sports enthusiasts will logically bring their appetites to Kenzington Burger Bar.

Another appetite enticing option is for the Kenzington Food truck to come to you! What a great way to bring flavour and party atmosphere to your wedding or family celebration.

I wonder if it comes with the same great sound track.

Neil Ornella captured the essence of Kenzington when he said; “It’s a true testament to the bar, and all the integral components of what make it a successful business to have an independent restaurant, especially in downtown Barrie be a staple, and be a staple for as long as it has been and continue to be. It’s just starting for us, in all honesty within the last 8 months the amount of growth that the bar has gone through in regards to the food business is incredible, just incredible!”


Well Neil and Brandon, I think business at Kenzington Burger Bar is about to become even more incredible! The famous Kenzington “Kitchen Sink burger” caught the attention of John Catucci, host of the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here”, who came recently with the film crew to the resto and shot a segment for the series which will air during Season 4 in the new year. Big congrats! I hear mojitos are making an appearance on the summer menu, fresh muddled mint and lime, a fitting time to raise my glass to toast your continued success!

Kenzington Burger Bar
40 Dunlop St E, Barrie, ON L4M 1A3
(705) 725-1667

Written by: Penelope Morrow

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

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Lunch at Shirley’s Bayside Grille


I went for lunch at Shirley’s Bayside Grille and tried out the patio. On a hot day, the patio is perfectly tucked away from the sun, decorated with beautiful flowers with a scenic view of Kempenfelt Bay. Shirley’s has a full lunch menu as well as a Dinner menu in the evening. Shirley’s was priced as expected for a classier restaurant in downtown Barrie. When the food was served and I had the chance to try it, me and my friends were all pleased and felt the quality of meals and portion sizes were quite exceptional.


The most typical dish we tried was the club sandwich, so I’ll say that it was priced at $13.00, which isn’t unusual or terrible and almost on par with what you’d pay for a sandwich at Subway or Quiznos. The sandwich was delicious and came with a wonderful salad that had melon and strawberries. The restaurant also had a couple pizza dishes on the menu. There was a smoked salmon dish and a large selection of salads to fill out the lunch menu.

To me, I much preferred the Caesar salad that came with both the baked chicken wrap and grilled sirloin steak. The quality of salad was far superior to many Caesar salads I’ve tried at large chain restaurants. The dressing was delicious and the large chunks of bacon really made these two dishes come alive. You just don’t get quality like that at a sub shop or on the giant salad bowls you get at East Side Mario’s. As a side-note, The Eggless Caesar Salad at Shirley’s is priced at $11.00.


I’m very glad I tried the Sirloin 6oz. Steak. It was priced at $15.00 and was the most expensive dish we tried. It came with grilled mushrooms and caramelized onions which were a very tasty addition. I really love going to a place like Shirley for a change, because I’m always afraid of the prices, but in reality Shirley’s Bayside Grille is a nicer place to spend your afternoon than any of the in and out sandwich shops but really has prices that are about equal anyway. If you’re with a group, the variety on the menu just adds to its appeal.


The atmosphere and service at Shirley’s was as expected. The waitresses were friendly, the food came quick and cooked perfectly. The music weather and tables were all great too. I can see why Shirley’s has been in that spot along Dunlop Street for over 15 years. It was very busy inside the restaurant as well. If anything, the interior eating area seemed like a nicer atmosphere than the patio. But I guess I’ll have to try the main seating area for dinner one night. Also, Shirley’s Bayside Grille is featuring live music on Wednesday nights if you’re looking to go out for a relaxing and lounge-like setting sometime. I don’t think it gets as rowdy as some of the bars and pubs the rest of downtown Barrie has to offer, but I can’t say for sure. Check it out! It’s a great lunch spot in Downtown Barrie.

Written By: Michael Whone

Check out Michael’s Website and follow him on twitter @whoneranger