NORTH BEND — John and I headed out to lunch last Thursday in a driving rain. As we headed north on U.S. Highway 101, the sky looked much darker and ominous over North Bend, where we were headed to the Tin Thistle.

We started making plans, and wondering how wet we were going to get if we had to park across the highway and run across to the restaurant.

To our surprise, we flipped the corner onto the highway and two parking spots were empty right in front of the restaurant and a car was leaving a third as we pulled up.

What luck.

As hard as it was raining, John was very happy all he had to do was navigate the river that was flowing in the gutter, then sprint across the sidewalk.

I'm glad we started the year at Tin Thistle. At least for one week, I can keep up my "resolution" to eat better this year.

If you think about stopping reading about a restaurant that is vegan, gluten free and doesn't serve dairy products — DON'T.

If good food is important to you, you should know about Tin Thistle.

I'm always interested in what is going to be on the menu. The Village Burger kicks off the menu with it's blend of oats, walnuts, onions and spices. It is served with romaine, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mayo, ketchup and mustard. It also comes with a choice of a side.

Also on the main menu are a portabella sandwich, gyro pitas and bowls, pasties, soups and bowl meals as well as smoothies. The Village Bowl is a green salad topped with brown rice, avocado, cream sauce, tomatoes and olives, then garnished with cheese, onions and cilantro.

Along with the regular menu, there are also a board "full" of specials. On the list Thursday were: a Chipotle BBQ Burger, Pita Pizza, Brocolli/Carrot Pasty; Stroganoff, a Black Bean Hummus Wrap and an Indian Pasty.

Stroganoff?

As enticed as I was by this, there was one other thing on the side menu board that had me equally interested.

John got first choice this week and selected the Village Burger sans the mayo and picked sweet potato fries as his side dish.

I've been a fan of pasties since trying my first one many years ago, so I decided on the Indian Pasty with a side of mac and cheese.

This was the dish that had me intrigued more than any other. There is nothing remotely vegan about traditional mac and cheese, so I couldn't wait to see how they did it.

Hint: I did find out later what went into the sauce, but I'll let that be a secret for now. I don't want to ruin the surprise when you try it for the first time.

I was pleasantly surprised. And between the pasty (small) and the mac and cheese I was surprisingly full.

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John also said he enjoyed his meal.

"It doesn't taste like meat, but that's not what they were going for. But with all the veggies and condiments, it gives you that burger feel," he said. "This was very good. I'd get it again."

Our bill for the two meals came to $18.90.

Before leaving, I went back up to the counter and ordered three pieces of marionberry pie to go. One for John, one for myself and one for Autumn, who was disappointed I was going to Tin Thistle without her. I was hoping the pie would make up for that.

It did.

"That may be the best marionberry pie I've ever had," she said later.

John and I agreed it was really incredible.

So, even if you don't think that vegan food is your thing, it might be worth the stop just for the pie.

I'm still wondering about that stroganoff.

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