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Bandon offers up cool eats and stiff breezes

Last week we visited Coos Bay by way of a cool drive to Elkton, then made a southward journey to arrive in Bandon by the Sea.

Entering town reminded me of my misadventure two years prior when I called the coastal hamlet home for about a month. I suffered cat-travel amnesia and tried bringing Oliver on a jolly holiday, to his disappointment.

Mother’s Natural Grocery greeted us, where we stopped and I made quick work of cleaning them out of trail mix cookies. Though the store is under new ownership, the cookies remain steadfastly good, and I was on a rare vacation, so don’t judge. Lane sucked down a cayenne-flavored kombucha. He said it warmed all the way down, and I took his word for it.

I only thought I’d whipped the summer cold. Actually the cold whipped me, the cold wind that is. Whipped my hair, my clothing, and my usual sass into submission. My head felt like a frozen punching bag. But what is a trip to the ocean without a stroll (or roll in this case) along the beach. I zipped said head into my hooded jacket and closed every fastener I could find on the thing. Sufficiently cloistered, we descended the stairway to the sea.

My new phone takes beautiful pictures as it turns out. And practically all on its own, because I can’t see what I’m pointing at half the time. I discovered once again the phone is of superior intellect. Lane and I accidentally snapped some beauties, a few of which he’ll use for paintings.

Speaking of art, we met with new owner of Second Street Gallery, Carrie McKim, to show her three of Lane’s pieces and possibly gain representation. She stared at “Angelina’s Repose,” a large black-and-white on gessoed board of a crusty fishing boat in dry dock. She simply said, “Wow.” I figured at that point we had a coastal connection. He signed the contract, we left the work and proceeded to celebrate by spending money not yet earned on fancy dinners.

Bandon offers a great variety of eateries, and here are three I recommend from this trip, plus a couple other stops for coffee/dessert. For upscale dining while modeling beach clothes (actually, that’s the norm anywhere on the Oregon Coast), Lord Bennet’s and Edgewaters dish up savory plates. This time of year reservations are a must, especially if you want a window seat. We had great views both times, though one experience might have been improved had the couple with the infant and two energetic youths not sat behind us. I predict the baby will become a champion at the Rogue River Rooster Crow. I hoped they were healthy tippers and considered requesting a share of the take for keeping my mouth shut, but let it go.

For dessert it was Coastal Mist artisan chocolatiers. If you love chocolate, this store may wipe you out. We settled for a melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate bar, each.

We ordered dessert to go from Edgewaters, and I recognized those individual-sized creations of chocolate ecstasy. I think they came from CM. For coffee and the best chocolate gluten-free cookie I can imagine in 10 lifetimes, we wandered into The Rolling Pin Bake & Brew. Oh yes, it’s a bakery. They also have lunch fare, and the coffee is top notch. The gals working there are fun and friendly.

For fish tacos, grit your teeth sea-captain style, and muscle in with the mob at Tony’s Crab Shack. The line and close quarters right there on the boardwalk are part of the experience, and I ate three tacos in about 8 minutes. I had to. Tables are at a premium and there was a sweetly smiling girl waiting for ours. You can eat outside, but you’ll need a windshield to keep your slaw from blowing out of the shells.

I left my heart and hair in Bandon.

Reach freelance writer Peggy Dover at pcdover@hotmail.com.

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