Blue Ginger Cafe: When You’ve Had Your Fill of Resort Food
By Vanessa Wolf
When last we saw our hero, he was wearing a sky blue tuxedo and drifting toward Tahiti on the back of a fiberglass swan paddle boat.
Fortunes changed, tides shifted, sky blue tuxedos disintegrated and were replaced with Gap straight fit khakis, workers toiled in the sun, and fortunes changed once again.
Long story shortened, relying upon the generous aid of a pod of wild dolphins, our hero washed upon the shores of Lanai and renewed the foolhardy pursuit of his nemesis/idol, Larry Ellison.
Easily distracted, he then immediately forgot about that quest and stumbled toward the picturesque town for a bite.
Once there, he scans the assembled crowd.
A throng of nameless faces swims before him. A stranger in this place, their eyes dart away as they catch his. Just as our hero begins to question his presence here, he spots her.
Dressed in blue and besieged by admirers, she is by far the prettiest girl in the room.
Our hero moves toward her swiftly, hoping to make his move before the surrounding horde impedes his access.
They call her Blue Ginger.
Popular, accessible and notably confounded whenever someone inquires about this guy “Ming Tsai,” she stands out from the rest.
Granted, there are only a handful of girls in the room in the first place.
And her accessibility borders on easy.
Unaware of this renown, our hero places an order for one of her Blueberry Pancakes ($3.50 for one) off the specials board.
“Were these blueberries grown in the Sahara?” he speculates as he crunches down on hard, chewy blueberry after blueberry. Attempting to free one from his molar, he fears they may not even be of this earth.
Sure, the pancake part is perfectly fine, but he cannot avoid the question: Is Blue Ginger purchasing produce from extraterrestrials?
More investigation is deemed necessary.
The French Toast (one slice $2, two for $3.50) only raises further questions.
The slice is mattress thick.
Blue Ginger is clearly baking her own bread. And she’s damn good at it.
Soaked to perfection in a lightly cinnamony custard, the sweet, savory toast fills his mouth with happiness and justifies the motives of the throngs vying to be near her.
With time, he will forget about the freeze dried blueberries.
Hungry from all that time at sea, our hero continues to feast.
The Lanai Omelet ($8.95) teems with a savory mix of Portuguese sausage, bacon, mushroom, onions and cheese. Rich and freshly made, it fills his belly and reaches softly toward his very soul.
The flavors are homey and comforting and in no way resemble something one would get at McDonalds.
So why is it accompanied by one of their hashbrown patties?
Once again our hero’s blood runs cold as the inevitable questions hound him.
Does Lanai even have a McDonalds?
Does Larry have something against McDonalds?
Perhaps Larry hates McDonalds, but loves their pre-made freezer hashbrown patties.
McDonalds backwards is SdLanodmc, but why?
His mind a whirl, our hero seeks answers in the Bacon Egg and Cheese Sandwich ($5.45).
Tasty – it contains bacon after all – and filling, it also comes with generous portions of mayo and… wait. What is that?
“Iceberg Lettuce,” he mutters in horrified disbelief. “We meet again.”
Coupled with the oval hashbrown patty mystery, he wonders if Blue Ginger has been enlisted to toy with him.
Uncertain, he orders a side of Fried Rice ($1.50).
For a buck fifty, you cannot beat the portion. Filled with Portuguese sausage, bacon bits, scrambled eggs, and carrot pieces, he finds the flavors pleasing, but lacking zip.
Fortunately, Blue Ginger has ferreted some Sriracha away in her fridge. Slightly doctored, the fried rice is the best thing he’s had all morning, but the inner emptiness lingers still.
Hoping to fill the void, he turns now to the handwritten menu on the wall. Soon he will discover that the Breakfast Burrito ($8.95) pulls no punches.
With this knowledge, confidence grows within him. Perhaps Blue Ginger is a sympathizer after all.
“Wait! Let me guess: Portuguese sausage?” he teases her when it arrives.
Sure enough, the south of the border wrap is filled with scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage and onions.
However, the enchantress in blue does not laugh.
Not in front of him at least. As he notices the accompanying pile of shredded yellow cheese and, yes, iceberg lettuce, our hero lowers his eyes.
Once again, the joke is on him.
And Blue Ginger isn’t done yet.
She goes hard seven days a week, sometimes for fourteen hours a day. When the others have long since closed the shutters and called it a day, Blue Ginger’s lights are still burning bright.
This is good news if you’re looking for food in Lanai on a Sunday shortly having washed up on shore and while in fevered, nonsensical pursuit of an Oracle CEO or white whale.
Like say in addition to all that, you want a Grilled Cheese ($3.50). Simple, predictable, unassuming, surely this will be exactly what one craves after an ordeal such as his. And it is.
Made on more of Blue Ginger’s excellent fresh, house made bread, the cheese is wonderfully melty inside the lightly buttered shell. Our hero almost wishes he had a child along to share it with.
Only he doesn’t know any children and any parent with half a brain will keep it that way.
But we digress.
Speaking of childhood, Blue Ginger seems to have intuited the love our hero once shared with the young Terri Yaki.
And although her Salmon Teriyaki ($12.95) was overcooked, the sauce almost made up for it.
Happily, settling is not necessary. Better to go with the Chicken Teriyaki ($10.95), where the moist thigh meat is perfectly grilled and the sweet kiss of the sticky glaze lifts our hero up where he belongs.
When he bites into that Chicken Teriyaki, he is at once nostalgic and satisfied. He gets the sensation of being on a frozen mountaintop.
That’s an old York Peppermint Patty commercial.
Our hero realizes all that time at sea astride the rotational-molded, high-density polyethylene swan may have rendered him a bit dehydrated.
And quite possibly delicious.
He must get out of this place lest Blue Ginger ventures to work her teriyaki magic with his very flesh.
Running through the streets in search of safety or a luxury resort, he suddenly remembers the restraining order placed upon him by the majority owner of the island upon which he currently stands.
Once again clear-headed, our hero heads expediently for the shore.
As he plunges into the cool waters off Lanai, he hopes the dolphin pod will answer his call before all the food now weighing so heavy in his belly gets the better of him.
Blue Ginger Cafe is located at 409 7th Street in Lanai City.
They are open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.