BANDON — Okay. Every once in a while you come across a meal that makes you think, 'Why didn't I think of that?'
Sports editor John Gunther and I made a list back in October of places we still needed to visit for lunch. Sophia's Taco Revolution at Wilson's Market in Bandon is on that list.
Bandon Western World editor Amy Moss Strong did a story last year on Wilson's Market and their expansion into doing what they call on their Facebook page "a revolutionary BBQ Mexican food experience."
My first thought was, "Okay, another market with a small deli or sandwich section doing food."
In some cases the food at other places has been really good, in others, just okay. But what makes Wilson's Market different — and special — is that they have combined two really good ideas into one.
1. They smoke all their own meat. 2. They serve burritos, tacos and nachos.
Let's go back to point No. 1, because that is what makes Wilson's Market special and different than any place we've visited in the last two years.
Archie Garrett, owner of Wilson's Market, was explaining to John and me that Sophia's has been a work in progress for a few years. He told us that when his dad bought the market, the back part of the store was a video/DVD section. A few years later, that became a deli, and finally it has become Sophia's.
And I have a feeling that this idea is going to have some staying power.
While our burritos were being made, Archie was telling us the sheer volume of meat that they smoke.
"We're doing 80 pounds of chicken right now," he said. "And that will only last two or three days." And that amount only goes up in the summer. Later, after we had our burritos and were about to drive off, we saw Archie running next door in the rain, where we could see the smoke rising from the smoker.
He also told us they hand-make all six of the sauces they use, and they even fry up their own taco shells. (My apologies for not ordering the tacos so you could see them, but the ones we saw being made, looked fabulous.)
I ordered The Bean Taylor burrito, which is smoked pork shoulder, salsa verde, black beans and seasoned curly fries. I know, I go years without finding places that serve burritos and fries, and two weeks in a row, we find places with fries inside the burritos. You won't hear me complaining.
It took all of one bite for John to say, "The smoked meat makes all the difference in the world."
And he's right. The flavor profile is incredible. The man making our burritos asked me if I wanted my burrito mild or spicy. For those of you that know me, you know I ordered it mild.
And I'm glad I did. While the spicy might be fine, there were so many wonderful tastes in this burrito, it would have been a shame to cover them up with spice.
The pork should was incredibly tender.
John ordered the Smokey The Pig, which is smoked pork shoulder, seasoned curly fries and their homemade BBQ sauce.
The Smokey The Pig burrito at Wilson's Market. This sandwich includes smoked pork shoulder and their homemade BBQ sauce.
I was going to try "The Criminal" but the carne asada is only available on Wednesday and Friday.
The tacos are $4, the basic burrito is $8 and the specialty burritos like we had were $10. Despite the fact that I easily could have made two meals out of that burrito, I couldn't put it down.
And if you're not hungry enough for one of their huge burritos, they also make their own jerky. John gives it a big thumbs up after testing the teriyaki flavored jerky. Taco salad is a new menu item and smoked chicken wings, breakfast burritos and cook-at-home trays of enchiladas are also available in Wilson's deli case.