By Melanie Chambers, Published by The Spoked Traveller
Ramona stares out the window and pauses before answering my questions about The Craftsman Restaurant that is going on 26-years-old in December. It’s a cottage country institution and she’s ruminating about how things have changed since the beginning. (Located on highway 28 South in Paudash– the small town just before Bancroft). Breakfast: smoked salmon burrito with capers and homefries. Drool.
She’s cupping her coffee mug tight—as if it will help with her answer like a Jeannie in a bottle. Sometimes I want to interject when a minute has passed, but I don’t. This is the urbanite in me who hasn’t checked my iphone for the entire three hours of our talk. She stares and pauses with any question that requires some thought. Wearing moon shaped earrings and a funky purple and black wrap, she is comfort personified. “Someone once called my style unconventional,” she says. No one in Bancroft dare say this. Bancroft is full of all kinds: blue-collar and artsy. “We (including hubbie Jim) were accepted the minute we moved here.”
We talk about the diner’s food–comfort food with a twist. Jim, the chef, adds flair to the basics. Case in point: spruce tip salad dressing. You heard correctly. Jim takes the tips off spruce trees and has added the dressing on the menu from time-to-time.
When I arrive on a late Friday night, he makes me a watermelon and tomato salad with a basal olive oil dressing. It’s a bursting garden in your mouth!
My entrée is salmon with a zucchini fritter garnished with their heirloom spinach –from their own garden. It includes red spinach. Never even knew there was such a thing. It’s served with homefries, and a salad with balsamic and tangerine dressing.