Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Aug. 29
The Cays: Million dollar view, $6 breakfast
Hanan's Calypso Cafe has wines, sophisticated eating. Or every Joe Blow's breakfasts, at Joe Blow prices. You choose
Shiver me timbers! It’s only 142 days till this year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. September 19th, it be.
Au quai, that be yet a long stretch, but I be thinkin’ about it today wandering through the cays of this cove where you know everybody has their booty stored and buried, and their pirate vessels moored a-front of their marble palaces. They call it The Cays, but I be thinking Port Royal, afore the earthquake sank it.
Place I was looking for heaves up on the horizon, finally, after I've been walking through places like Plunder Bay, Bahamas Anchorage, Caribe Way and Peg-Leg Lane. We finally spot Open Waters to the east, as the albatross flies. And nestled in the last cay, this little tavern where ye may tie up yer skiff or yer galleon, and stay alongside for as long as ye be eatin’ and drinkin’ and wenchin’ and generally obtaining relief from the weavil-ridden salt biscuit tack ye've no doubt been eating on the Spanish Main.
Mine host, Hanan, be standing behind a counter that's loaded with bottles of wine and a cooler cabinet fair bursting with meats and sweetmeats. This be her place, Calypso Café (505 Grand Caribe Causeway, Coronado Cays, off highway 75, 619-423-5144).
“Can I help?” says she.
Fact is – uh, can we drop the pirate thing for a mo? – I’m looking for breakfast, and one where I'm not charged at Cays’ rates. I mean every car here is a Beamer. And that’s just what the gardeners drive. House owners start with a smaller Bentley for the kids and move up from there. And even in here it has a feeling of culture, luxury. 'Course Hanan comes from Jordan. She knows art, decor.
So the whew! moment comes when I see they have breakfasts and lunches for six, seven, eight buckeroos.
Like, take the “L.P.” It has a fried egg, bacon, and white cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin, for $4. A six-high tall stack of pancakes is $7. Lunch sandwiches are mostly $8. Also, it says “Ask about our daily special.”
I do. And it’s a double cheeseburger with French fries and a soda for $7.95. Go try get that at Burger Lounge.
But I stick with biscuits, gravy and two organic eggs ($5.75). Plus a coffee. You got to hand it to Hanan. She could go for top dollar hereabouts. But her prices haven't changed since the day I first found her here, a couple of years back.
Hanan takes me out to one of the tables right above the yacht basin.
Sun’s shining. Gulls are cawing. Blue waters sparkling. Don’t get much better’n this. Except when Hanan brings out da brekky...
...all on beautiful white china plate. Over-easy eggs and gravy – and free strawberry - are great, but the killer is the square of hashbrowns. They look good and taste better. Have egg and parmesan and cheddar cheese cooked into them. Dee-lish.
I guess her customers are mainly Cays residents. “A lot of people don’t realize this is open to the public,” Hanan says. “It's a gated community but you don’t have to ask for permission to drive in. Just sail right past the guards at the gate.”
Ooh arr. 'Course me, it was a case of walking in. Whatever, I'll be back, with summer coming and all. And specially, September 19th. Did I mention that’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Till then, practice, practice, practice. Hire parrot. Check if Hanan carries rum.
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