COOS BAY — Since Sports Editor John Gunther and I first strolled down the Wednesday Downtown Farmers' Market, one place has intrigued me more than any of the others — Bandon Fire Pizza.
The idea of having a mobile pizza oven where you can cook pizzas fast enough to serve folks on their lunch hour at an event the size of the farmers' market boggles the mind.
So, when John told me he had an idea for last week's market, I was hoping he was going to Bandon Fire Pizza.
He was, and he did.
He asked owners Simon and Mary Cooper of Bandon to make a pepperoni pizza while he waited, so he could see the entire process.
"Mary puts together the pizza, hand-forming the dough and adding the cheese and toppings," John said, noting that they prepare in advance 90 eight-ounce balls of dough for each day.
The wood-burning pizza oven looks a little like a small igloo on a trailer. It also cooks at temperatures between 600 and 700 degrees using poplar wood from the couples' property.
"It burns hot, and it's free," Simon said.
John said from start to finish, the process takes about five minutes. He also said a whole pizza is probably a little much for one person, but ate it anyway, and then said he'd just add another mile or two to his run that night.
"It's a minimalist pizza," he said. "When I make mine, it has more cheese, toppings and sauce, but it works well. The crust is light and the flavor is good."
The whole pepperoni pizza is $10.
As he headed for the pizzas, I was heading for Elkhorn BBQ. I've always enjoyed their food, and since John had barbecue last week, I thought it was about time for me to get in on the act.
Oh, the choices.
After considering the pulled pork avocado, I decided on "The Bear."
They list this one as a pulled pork sammich with french fries, cheese, barbecue sauce and a fried jalapeno. The cost, $10.
What I wasn't ready for was the weight of this thing. They handed me the clam-shell holding The Bear, and I didn't have to open the top to know that I was in trouble.
Then I opened the top (see accompanying picture) and just shook my head. I knew by how heavy it was that the pulled pork sammich was down there, but under all those fries, you'd never know. I did poke through the french fries enough to find the sandwich before I started in.
With something this big, I usually eat it one way -- from the top down. The fries were crunchy and delicious with the melted cheese and the barbecue sauce. The pulled pork was tender and juicy like always and the bun even held up under all this weight.
Despite my better judgement, I finished it all. Unlike John, I can't add a mile or two to my run. I'll just have to add a couple more salads this week.