Pesto aioli makes all the difference

BANDON — If you didn't notice my absence the past few weeks, it is because of the efforts of Joel Wear and Tim Epperson, who filled in for me on these pages and with the rest of my daily duties.

For that, I am always grateful.

I'm also grateful that during my birthday vacation sports editor John Gunther found the time in his busy schedule for a couple of rounds of golf.

I didn't manage to win either of those rounds, but John played about as well as I've seen in the past two years.

After one of those rounds, John and I made our way to Billy Smoothboars in Bandon.  

If you are not familiar with Billy Smootboars, it's a few miles south of Old Town Bandon right on U.S. Highway 101 at the corner of Seabird Drive.

Owners Dan and Lynn Barnett are huge supporters of community events in Bandon, and it is always nice to support folks like that.

It's a nice place for a late lunch, so we went into the Boar's Nest Sports Bar to eat.

I quickly found what I was looking for on their menu — the turkey pesto melt. The pesto aioli in the description intrigued me immediately.

It is a wonderful pile of turkey, with melted jack cheese, tomatoes and the pesto aioli on grilled sourdough bread. I ordered mine with the tater tots instead of the fries.

John ordered the half-pound bacon cheeseburger with fries.

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After a six-mile walk that took right around four hours (for those of you golfers keeping track, that's not bad time), we both probably could have used a beer, but we settled for an iced tea and a soft drink. At that point, we just needed something wet. We had gone out on one of the days that threatened to rain, but didn't, so we were in rain gear all day watching the gray skies heading toward us.

That rain gear can get plenty hot.

I have to say, this is my favorite sandwich that I've had at Billy Smoothboars. The bread was grilled just enough to give it some crunch, but not so much as to dry it out. The turkey was warm and in good proportion to the rest of the sandwich, the cheese was nice and melty and the pesto aioli just brought the whole lunch together.

I could see that sauce being just as good on a chicken sandwich, a lighter fish or even possibly a burger.

John said he enjoyed his burger, but it was impossible to compare to some of the others he has tried this summer since they were piled with toppings.

Our two lunches, the iced tea and the soda came out to a little over $21.