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As 2018 wound down, Ron and I decided to look back at our year of dining and pick our favorite spots.

Last week, we went back to Sharkbites in Coos Bay, one of Ron’s top spots.

My choice was to go pick an item I missed out on the first time — a Philly cheesesteak.

After revisiting Double D’s on the Rocks in Winchester Bay last week, I can now say I’ve had one for the first time. I can’t speak to whether it’s an authentic Philly Cheesesteak, but I can say it’s a good sandwich — which Ron pointed out is the most important thing.

The Double D’s version comes with plenty of beef, as well as red and green peppers and onions. It normally comes with mushrooms, but I opted to skip that ingredient like usual.

Ron, meanwhile, had the Western Cheeseburger, topped with smoked bacon, melted cheese and the Double D’s barbecue sauce. Ron said it was a fine burger.

Both of us opted for different foods than our first trip back in June, when I had the Caribbean pulled pork sandwich, complete with slaw that together overflowed the pretzel bun. Ron had lasagna.

That Ron ordered a burger last week wasn’t terribly surprising. Both of us have gone that way several times, with me usually picking ones with interesting names and descriptions.

At the Lakeside Café, also back in June, I ordered the Johnny Cash Burger, with bacon, barbecue sauce, an onion ring and cole slaw — I’ve always been a sucker for slaw, as Ron will attest.

Early in the year, I attempted (and somehow conquered) the Logger Burger at the Railroad Cafe. It was a monster, with two patties, grilled ham, bacon a fried egg and all the regular fixings. And it was delicious.

Somehow I also ended up with a burger when Ron and I went to the most anticipated spot on our list, The Spoon in Langlois. I was sold on the grass-fed beef that comes with the Old Langlois Blue Burger, but the bacon put it over the top.

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I passed on burgers a number of other times as I went off script, trying to expand my dining experiences, including at the Schooner Café, another first-time stop for me up in Reedsport. That sunny afternoon we dined on the deck as I munched into the Fiesta Beefeater sandwich, a tasty combination of prime roast beef, Monterey Jack cheese, roasted red bell pepper, red onion, mild green chili and chipotle mayo on sourdough.

And at Trails End, one of the dining options at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, I took our greeter’s suggestion and had the tuna melt. It’s not something I would normally order and, not surprising since nearly everything I’ve ever eaten at Bandon Dunes has been great, it was wonderful.

At the Colonial, a Mexican restaurant in Coquille, I ordered one of Ron’s favorite dishes, Machaca, for the first time. The mixture of scrambled eggs, shredded beef, onions and bell peppers was special.

The other Mexican restaurant on my list provided one of the better highlights for me in our year of dining. At A Little Bite in uptown Bandon, I tried a torta for the first time. The sandwich — with meat, beans, lettuce, tomato, pico de gallo salsa and cheese — is not a staple at most of the local restaurants.

We’ve tried fish at various places, and my favorite to date was the fish and chips at Bandon Fish Market. I had mine with snapper, probably my favorite fish, and it was outstanding.

But I also enjoyed the Panko breading on the fish and chips at the Friends Café in Eastside, which made my list because I was impressed with how good the restaurant was so quickly after opening.

As Ron said last week, cutting the list down to a top 10 is an extremely difficult task because we have had so many good meals in so many different places. I told him all the rest of our stops would probably tie for 11th. Two more in Reedsport almost made my list purely for the desserts, something we don’t usually order. We had pie at Don’s Diner on Pi Day (March 14) and marionberry cheesecake at Harbor Light.

Maybe we should change the focus of this food column to desserts in 2019 … not likely because so many of the places we visit have such great food we never have room to even ponder that option.

Wherever our road takes us, I’m looking forward to Ron sharing our experiences with you all.

Happy New Year!

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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