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COOS BAY — Sometimes restaurants come along at just the right time.

Sports Editor John Gunther and I usually have lunch on Mondays, we go back to the office afterward and I write my story for Tuesday's Cuisine section.

Noster Kitchen in downtown Coos Bay isn't open on Mondays, so it took a little creative scheduling to get the restaurant to work out with our schedules.

Early deadlines for the Christmas edition gave us the added incentive to go out on Thursday so we could get this story ready for this week.

And it couldn't have come at a better time.

Wednesday was as poorly as I've eaten in quite a while. Once a year, the wife of one of our co-workers makes cinnamon rolls. Not those little things you get out of the refrigerated section of the supermarket, these are massive, iced cinnamon rolls (they were fabulous again ... thank you). The same day was our scheduled catered holiday meal here at the office. Ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and sweet potatoes and rolls. Then for dessert there were a couple of apple pies and a pumpkin pie.

I may have overdone it a little. OK, between the two, a lot.

Thank goodness for Noster Kitchen, our stop on Thursday.

Noster Kitchen is located at 273 Curtis Ave. Essentially it is straight across the big parking lot from 7 Devils Brewing Co. Noster Kitchen is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So after all my culinary sins of the previous day, Noster Kitchen was a beacon of light with it's lunch bowls. They have five selections on the menu along with an array of smoothies, and if you go in for breakfast, they have oatmeal bowls and smoothie bowls.

They hand make their own almond butter and almond milk for many of their drinks.

We were interested in their lunch menu. Everything sounded good. John gave me first choice this time and I picked the Nori Bowl. It comes with a local pastured tamari hard-cooked egg, white rice, green cabbage, avocado, cucumber, green onion, seaweed, black sesame seeds and ginger-tamari sauce.

Essentially, this tastes like sushi in a bowl. And that's a good thing. All my favorite tastes from sushi in a bowl. You get the seaweed, rice and avocado, then there's plenty of veggies to make this a healthful meal.

John ordered the Sweet Potato Chili Bowl.

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It comes with Oregon grass fed beef with sweet potatoes and warm spices, white rice, green cabbage, red and green onion and avocado and cilantro cream.

*It was good," he said. "It had good flavor."

While we were eating, Colleen Pierce from Seaboard Properties came in and ordered a Buddha Bowl to go. The Buddha Bowl featured roasted seasonal vegetables, baby spinach, white rice, avocado, green onion, garlic-herb roasted cashews, pumpkin seeds and roasted garlic cashew cream.

This one sounded good too, but I was still too close to having my wisdom tooth out to have anything like cashews and pumpkin seeds. Maybe next time.

After our meal, John talked to one of the owners, Bonni Silver, a Marshfield grad from 2003, who told us that her husband was from Hawaii and that many of their dishes have some of that island inspiration.

She said the name is inspired by a love for language she and her husband share. Noster is Latin for "our."

I can see Noster Kitchen being very popular in the new year as people make their resolutions to eat better.


News Editor