NORTH BEND — Just about three years ago, I brought sports editor John Gunther to The Mill Casino-Hotel to try out the "new" wings on the menu at Warehouse 101.
It was the start of our lunch tour, which has taken us to nearly every restaurant in the county. If we've missed you, we apologize (and you're probably not open on Mondays when we do most of our dining).
You can't see the numerous seals or sea lions out in the bay chasing salmon, but the view on Monday was awfully nice.
So Monday, when John asked me if I remembered where this all started, I answered in the affirmative. Then he reminded me that there were several other restaurants there, not just Warehouse 101.
I agreed and told him it not only sounded like a good idea, but that I'd like to pitch an idea to him about what we could do for the next few months.
So, as we settled at our table next to the windows at The Plankhouse, I started with, "You know, we've hit nearly every restaurant in this area, and we've tried a lot of different types of food ..."
Before we went to the restaurant, I did a little research and scratched out a short list. "There are at least 10 places in Coos Bay and North Bend that we've had burgers at ..."
That would take us through the end of 2019.
So, once again, we're using The Mill as a jumping-off point. Our thoughts are to find out what the most popular burgers are and have one of us order that one, and then find a "creative" burger on the menu.
So, we tried out our theory using our server as a test subject. We asked what the most popular burgers were.
She was far too PC. "All our burgers are good." She didn't want to single anything out, but John and I have our ways of extracting information from folks (we are reporters after all).
Finally, she let us know that the Avocado, Bacon & Blue Burger was a big seller. OK, that works, except that I'm not a big blue cheese person, so I had them sub in cheddar.
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The Avocado, Bacon & Blue Burger at The Plankhouse at The Mill. The giant house-made bun makes this a burger you are unlikely to put back …
Perfect. Now this allowed John to choose from their "creative" burgers.
He found the "Fulton" Burger. This is a half-pound burger grilled and served on Parmesan crusted sourdough with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and burger sauce.
My burger was also a half-pounder with avocado, cheddar cheese (instead of blue), three strips of candied bacon on a house-made burger bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and burger sauce.
We both ordered them with fries.
We both could have used a long walk when we were done.
John said the parmesan crusted sourdough was good, but made handling the burger a little greasy. "It's giving the napkin a workout."
"The meat is done very well though."
The house-made bun on my burger was huge, but it had to be to hold in that half-pound burger. It took a big effort to get a bite out of both pieces of bun with the burger, bacon, veggies and avocado stacked up.
Very good burgers. And a nice way to kick off our burger tour.
Now, you might not need a doctor's permission if you decide to follow us around for the next couple months or so, but I don't think we're going to be having anything that anyone would construe as extremely healthy.
It might also be a good time to start doing a little more walking (or running in John's case).