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Hilltop Burger

The Hilltop Burger at Hilltop House in North Bend is 10 ounces of ground sirloin and you choose if you want to top it with cheese or bacon. John decided to do both.

NORTH BEND — Sports editor John Gunther and I began going to lunch in early 2017 (Jan. 10, to be exact). If I've used my abacus correctly, and moved all the right beads, added up all the restaurants, subtracted for holidays and farmer's market food trucks and the occasional vacation ... this is the 100th restaurant that we've visited.

One hundred.

Not bad for a couple of guys who just like to have lunch.

Hilltop House overlooks Haynes Inlet, Transpacific Highway and the Boxcar Hill area of the dunes. It was cloudy on Monday, but what a wonderfu…

We started letting folks know we were getting close a few weeks ago, and the typical response has been, "You guys have got to be running out of restaurants."

Not really. You would really be surprised how many restaurants there are in the Bay Area. That, and I had just completed a trip up and down U.S. Highway 101 — hitting all the restaurants between the southern tip of Coos Bay and the McCullough Bridge — so we didn't hit very many of those to avoid overlap.

So, when we were deciding where we would go for No. 100, we tossed around several ideas.

The one we settled on, brings me full-circle with this Cuisine section. For those of you who were around 13 years ago, we started doing this section with a series of Dungeness crab recipes, one of which was provided by Chef Joseph Zamora of Hilltop House.

So, we thought it would only be fitting for John to visit Hilltop House for the first time in years.

That, and I keep telling him the best burger in town is at Hilltop.

So, that is what he ordered.

This is not your typical burger, it's 10 ounces of ground sirloin, which Chef Zamora grinds on the premises. You see, he also cuts his own steaks, so those pieces that don't become a steak order, become a burger.

Ten ounces is a massive patty. Imagine if you will, that a quarter pound burger is four ounces, so this is two and a half times as big. 

"That was a good burger," John said as he slowly walked back to the car. I haven't seen John ask for a to-go box too many times, but wasn't really surprised when he couldn't finish the fries (which he said passed the 'crunch test').

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The last time Autumn and I were at Hilltop, we split that burger and an appetizer.

I ordered from the $15 Daylight Menu, which is good Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. There are seven choices, the stuffed tenderloin of pork, which I ordered, the Hunter Steak, Chicken Caprese, Country Fried Steak, Crab Pasta & Cheese, Coconut Shrimp and Crispy Vodka Shrimp.

One of the selections off the early-bird menu is the stuffed pork tenderloin. The stuffing is a combination of basil, shallots, Italian sausag…

These are served with a Caesar salad and a wonderful bread.

The tenderloin is stuffed with a combination of basil, shallots, Italian sausage, sun dried tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese with a Marsala mushroom sauce.

I always wonder how chefs come up with the ideas for these wonderful fillings. The meal came with three thick slices of the stuffed tenderloin, two potato wedges and the house vegetable.

There are probably three more selections on that Daylight Menu I wouldn't mind trying.

Hilltop House is open for dinners only from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The address is 93405 Willsey Lane. North Bay Road is one block past the stoplight at the far end of the McCullough Bridge. After the right onto North Bay Road, Wilsey Lane is immediately on your right.

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