BANDON — If you're anything like sports editor John Gunther and myself, you get down to Bandon on a fairly regularly basis.
In doing so, we've passed the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 42S (the light at the north end of town) dozens, if not hundreds of times.
Rancho Viejo in Bandon is at the first stop light in town, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 42S.
As such, we've both been driving by Rancho Viejo Mexican Restaurant for the past seven years without stopping in. We shouldn't have waited that long. It's the colorful building on the north east corner of the intersection.
It's always fun going through a new restaurant's menu. Seeing how every town has a few Mexican restaurants, it's fun to find new things on the menus that other restaurants might not have.
I can't be sure the Sonora Enchilada at Rancho Viejo isn't on any other menus, but I sure don't remember anything like it.
Here's the menu description: Three corn tortilla face up and layered with ground beef, chicken, picadillo and covered with enchilada sauce and melted cheese. Garnished with lettuce and tomatoes and served with sour cream and guacamole.
Think of it as either a "flat" enchilada, or maybe kind of like a Mexican lasagna using tortillas as the layers instead of noodles.
Either way, it was tasty. I spread the sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes over the top and I think that added to the lasagna-like quality for me.
Served with a generous helping of rice and beans, this was more than a filling meal.
John got to the menus first and started flipping through the pages.
"This is a big menu," he said.
He wasn't kidding. The drink menu took up a full page. The lunch specials took up another page. It was very extensive: burritos, enchiladas, seafood and chicken dishes, specials of the house, combos large and small, even taco salads.
After his search, John came back to the chicken burrito.
The chicken burrito at Rancho Viejo. John was very happy to say that inside the burrito there was no rice or cheese "filler" just a lot of "ve…
When it got to the table, it was very hot, so John started cutting into it, I presume to let it cool off a little. But as he cut, he noticed the entirety of the filling was chicken. No cheese, no rice, no other fillers, just chicken.
"The chicken is good, the sauce is good," he said.
I joked with him that it was a good thing that he liked the chicken since that's all there was inside the burrito. We joked that it might be a whole chicken in there.
"Maybe not a whole chicken," he said. "But a lot of it."
We also enjoyed the chips and salsa at the beginning of the meal. The chips were light and the salsa had a lot of pep to it. Maybe just a bit spicier than I enjoy, but I'm sure Autumn would have loved it.
The chicken burrito was $8.50, the Sonora Enchilada was $10.95 and there were vegetarian options in almost all categories.
For those of you using your GPS, Rancho Viejo is at 150 North Ave. SE, Bandon. The hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.