el molcajete chicken carnitas

The chicken carnitas lunch special from Molcajete 101 at the south end of Coos Bay.

COOS BAY — I was warned.

After I put in an order off the lunch specials menu for the Arroz con Camerones, our server told me that this dish was a bit spicy.

My exact reply was, "I can deal with a bit spicy."

So, I was expecting the dish to be spicy.

It was.

The arroz con camerones from Molcajete 101 on U.S. Highway 101 at the south end of Coos Bay.

I mopped my brow.

And at least once, I was very happy that our server had refilled my iced tea glass. And the water glass.

But, I digress. Sports editor John Gunther and I have been trying to get to Molcajete 101 on the south side of town for a few weeks now.

We've had a few items get in the way of visiting though, like the Bandon Dunes 20th anniversary special section that was in the paper Saturday. John spent the better part of two weeks doing the interviews and another week writing and putting the section together, so we spent more than a few hours in Bandon recently.

Molcajete 101 went into the old El Sol building next to Angelina's. The address is 63058 Oregon Coast Highway, so if you're heading south, it's on the right just before the stoplight at 7-Eleven.

For those of you wondering, "Molcajete" roughly translates into mortar and pestle (which you will see on the cover of their menu).

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I've had friends asking me about this restaurant since it was in the remodeling phase when there was paper covering the windows.

"Do you know anything about it? Any idea when they are going to open?"

I'm imagining those same friends probably got there long before we did.

If not, go ahead, I enjoyed it a lot.

Despite the sweaty brow, the flavors were very good. The dish came with a bed of rice, shrimp, red and green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese with the spicy sauce.

Molcajete 101 is located at 63058 Oregon Coast Highway on the southbound side of U.S. Highway 101.

They have plenty of items on the menu. I was temped to order the machaca burrito (shreeded beef, scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, rice, beans and cheese) or the Nino Burrito (steak, bacon, hash browns and cheese).

And just so you know, they also have a few non-traditional items like chicken strips, grilled ham and cheese, a bacon cheeseburger and a BLT.

After asking our server what was popular on the menu, John ordered the chicken carnitas.

Our server said some of the popular items were the steak burrito, the pork carnitas and the carne asada.

Our meals came with the choice of three flour or corn tortillas. We both got flour and John made soft tacos out of his carnitas. I actually had a leftover tortilla (I saved myself a few carbs), so John was able to make a fourth taco before finishing off the rest in a more traditional way with a fork.

"This is very good," he said midway through the meal.

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