In the big picture, what I write about isn't going to change the world, or even how things are done here in Coos County. Some of my colleagues write about things that are vital to our every day lives -- some even help promote change.

Me, I write about food. Yes, it's vital to every day life, but not in the same way. We've been doing these Cuisine pages for nearly 14 years now, and I know there is a loyal following out there. Sports editor John Gunther always tells people he gets more questions about our lunch articles than he does about his sports stories.

And restaurants have told me about an uptick in business following the Cuisine articles. One restaurant owner told a friend that if they'd realized the extra business they were going to see they would have hired an extra waiter and cook to keep up.

It's always nice to hear these kinds of stories. In other restaurants, you see our Cuisine stories laminated on the walls. I still have to say, it's odd to go into one of these places and sit down at a table near where one of these is hanging.

My favorite stories this year are as varied as the restaurants we cover. My favorite story of the year was published on May 14. That is the day that I took John to Hilltop House. It was the 100th different restaurant in which we had lunch. It also is one of my favorites because Hilltop House is one of the first restaurants I ever used in a Cuisine story back in 2006. Chef Joseph Zamora has always been very nice to me, and it doesn't hurt that I enjoy the food at his restaurant tremendously.

My only non-restaurant story to make my favorites list this year, was going to the Coos County Fair for the apple pie contest. Now, in the past, I've judged the preliminary rounds, but when Fran Capehart called me and asked if I would judge the finals, I jumped at the chance. TV personality David Walker couldn't make it this year, so it opened up a spot. Thank you for thinking of me Fran, I will always remember that.

Two of my meals this year changed the way I think about food, or at least where I get some of my meals. Just before Cinco de Mayo, John and I went to get tacos in North Bend at ... Union Avenue Brew of all places. A coffee shop. That makes darn good tacos. The other was going to Wilson's Market in Bandon. They smoke there own meat and then make some of the best burritos anywhere. Anywhere.

My fifth favorite story to write this year was taking my wife to Restaurant O. Neither of us had been there before we went at the end of June for a story that published on July 2. An incredible dining experience with world-class food and service.

It's been a good year. I'm already looking forward to 2020.


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