A Trip to the Suburbs: Humble's Ginger Cafe

Monday, July 8, 2013
While I admittedly have a strong preference for living a fast-paced lifestyle in the middle of a city's cultural heart center (uh, hello, I lived in New York City for 5+ years), I realize my tastes *could* potentially change at some point, and that there are some really great things to be said about making a move to the suburbs. Current state, I am in my late twenties, unmarried, and living with my boyfriend Jason and dopey dog Newton. The extent of my "responsibilities" entail making sure the DVR is set to record the newest episode of the Bachelor and hiding my beef jerky from Jason since it will be gone in approximately 6.5 seconds if he finds it. Speed up to the far faaaarrrr (much to my mother's chagrin) future, throw a couple of kids into the picture, and I just might be whistling a different tune.

I do have a few friends who are at that next phase in their lives (read: actual adults) and are happily settling into suburban towns outside of Houston, living in homes they've purchased. Purchased. As in, bought themselves. I can't even fathom not throwing rent money away into nothingness every month. How does that work? AMAZING.

Yesterday, I popped out to Humble, a town located in Northeast Houston. And fun fact: Yours truly did her growing up there. The reason for this particular visit was to see my good friend Meredith from high school who lives out there. With her husband. In their house. That they purchased. Translation: She's a real adult. Luckily, though an adult she may be, she can still kick back with the likes of riff-raff like me.

I'm sure she had a good laugh at the text I sent her when I suggested meeting up at Ginger Cafe, because that's literally where we meet up every single time I visit. So I'm a creature of habit? What of it. The quiet atmosphere of the place is perfect for catching up, and she and I always have a great time together there.

Ginger Cafe is a little Japanese restaurant that is pretty comparable to the little Japanese restaurants you see littered all over New York City. Their lunch specials are on par with NYC's, as is the (great) food quality. Regardless, there are a few very specific things that make Ginger Cafe a slight notch better than all the others in my book. So read on!

1.  The Sushi Roll Combo Lunch Special

The 2 roll combo (at a standard, inexpensive $8.49) includes a side salad with that delicious ginger dressing we all know and love (seriously, what do they put in that stuff?!) AND a miso soup. Not to be confused with OR a miso soup. And. As in both. And to top it off? Lunch is served EVERY DAY. That means Saturdays and Sundays. Maybe this is completely normal for Houston, but it is very hard to wrap my fresh-off-the-NYC-boat brain around what is happening here.

2. The Hot Teas they serve you are GINORMOUS

Yes, I ordered hot tea in Houston in July. Guilty as charged! But you don't understand - I will literally die if I have sushi without hot tea or sake. And, as I was having an adult lunch in the suburbs, a small part of my brain managed to do its job and fire a signal to me that said No! Sake isn't a good option for 12:30 on a Sunday!! (Thanks brain!) So I went with tea. And it was the largest mug 'o tea I've ever seen in a Japanese restaurant. Mind blown. So even though their seaweed salads are minuscule (see below), the extra large teas definitely make up for it.

Smaller-than-average, but delicious seaweed salad

 3. Their Amazing Crunch Stuff

You know how when you ask the wait staff at a Japanese place to add "crunchy" to your sushi rolls, you get standard bits of fried stuff on top? Not so with Ginger Cafe! I have NO idea what it is they do that is so different, but their crunch stuff is incredible. It's crunchy, but moist, and so much more flavorful than the normal crispy stuff. It is a complete mystery to me, but believe me when I say it is pure magic in every bite.

4. Their peppered salmon

WHOA. This was the first time I noticed this on the menu (or any sushi menu for that matter), so I ordered 3 pieces of peppered salmon sushi. Ohmygodsogood. It was an absolute delectable party in my mouth. The next time I'm there, I'm ordering 27 pieces of it, promptly getting some sort of mercury poisoning, and never looking back.

Pictured counter-clockwise, from top left: Piece of octopus sushi, 3 pieces of peppered salmon sushi, and spicy tuna roll with crunchy stuff on top.

If you're a sushi fan, and you find yourself in the Humble area, Ginger Cafe is definitely a great place to go. Especially if you're wanting to catch up with a dear friend whom you haven't seen in a while. With all of the chain restaurants around (I mean, don't get me wrong, I could without a doubt live at Chili's if given the option and metabolism), this quiet, small, privately-owned establishment with a very friendly staff is definitely worth a visit.

And for God's sakes get the peppered salmon.


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