Neil and Miriam Streiman, the owners of Mad Maple Country Inn, had reserved their first floor suite of rooms for our visit. Mad Maple sits in solid, welcoming comfort on the east side of County Road 124, north off of Route 89 or a 15 minute drive south of Singhampton. It is an early twentieth century Ontario farm house beautifully renovated and tastefully decorated. I’d been in the fresh, cold country air for over three hours and felt revivified, but a chill had begun to settle in and I longed for an open fireplace. Neil soon had an impressive pile of wood crackling and throwing heat onto my stockinged feet. Unbiddened, Miriam slid a plate of four buttery crisp, Soma chocolate ladened cookies next to my left hand, my right being occupied by a cappuccino Neil had made minutes after our arrival. It was still a couple of hours till sunset, yet I felt ready for bed.
We talked about Michael’s Harvest Festival, chefs, food and the burgeoning arts and crafts community in this area. Miriam asked us to name some of our favourite restaurants in Toronto. I spoke of Paul Böehmer on Ossington and his Tuesday half priced wines and dollar oysters from 5:00 PM. An avid oyster lover, Neil perked up. My wife mentioned Buca, 604 King West, an Italian restaurant where we had celebrated an anniversary with some of the best Italian food this side of Tuscany. Also The Beast, Scott Vivian and Rachelle Cadwell’s restaurant at 96 Tecumseth Street whose building had housed Susur Lee’s first Toronto restaurant, Susur. And our newest love, Colette, a lovely French bistro and bakery just across the street from us in the Thompson hotel.
Miriam asked if she could suggest a place where we could have supper, but we declined. We were comfortably full after wandering around in the chill air, munching some of the best food to be had anywhere. We ordered breakfast for 10:30 AM and retired.
Mad Maple Country Inn is only about 100 feet from the County Road, a major route and always busy, but the windows Neil and Miriam had installed kept trafic noise completely at bay. I knew I’d wake up around mid-night so I watched an NFL football game while my wife, stretched out in luxury on the living room couch, read a book by a New York Times food critic. The game sucked, but my wife and I had 15 bucks a piece in a football pool. That’s enough money to keep me from going to sleep too early. With the spread, we lost. Our living room view was towards the west, directly into mature maple trees and the setting sun. Mesmerized, my eyes, the trees, and the sun imperceptably faded to black.
Next morning we were alone in the kitchen with Miriam. Neil had departed the previous evening for Toronto where he teaches school. Miriam left for a few moments, returning with a clutch of freshly laid eggs. We sat down to a breakfast of epic proportions, homemade granola and yogurt, sausages and bacon, organic apple cider, fried eggs on top of corn fritters, pan fried potatoes and a side dish of sliced cucumber from Neil’s garden topped with his fresh herbs.
Our suite and a large kitchen-dining room comprise Mad Maple’s first floor. MIriam gives cooking lessons and her marble counter top and custom made Blue Star stove face her students. She uses only fresh foods organically grown and raised by local producers. The students can take their creations home, at least those not eaten in situe. I wish we’d been able to experience one of her dinners.
The only down side to a bed and breakfast as luxurious and well managed as Mad Maple is having to leave.