Muffins are what I call the ultimate comfort food--and what I like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thus, I went on the hunt for the best hunks of sweet bread around:
1) Grand Casino Bakery & Cafe
Looking for muffins in all the odd places--that is how I explain finding the best blueberry muffin at a place best known for their excellent and inexpensive empanadas. Upon walking in, I was a believer that the muffins might take a back seat to the other sweets by default; no one sees them amongst all of the other good stuff. But one bite into blueberry bliss, and I knew I was wrong.
For approximately $2, a wide variety of warm and sweet baked goods are available, including: apple turnovers, croissants, cookies and of course, empanadas.
A yummy muffin goes for just under $2.
Grand Casino Bakeries, 3826 Main St.; (310) 202-6969.
2) The Sensitive Baker
Give me a healthy treat to trick my sweet tooth, and I am sold. This gluten-free bakery had me at, well, "gluten-free"--and after tasting the carrot muffin.
One bite into the moist orange sweetness and I thought that I was in the middle of eating a carrot cake cupcake without the frosting. I didn't ask for the calorie count--why ruin it? The sweet, lingering carrot taste can't be anything but good for the soul.
Other cupcake flavors include: Chocolate-Zucchini, Blueberry, Banana Nut, Pumpkin, Cranberry Orange, and Vegan Morning Glory.
A yummy muffin goes for $2.
The Sensitive Baker, 10836 1/2 Washington Blvd.; (310) 815-1800.
3) The Spot Cafe & Lounge
I almost drove right past this cool cafe with a strong community feel. While appearances made it anonymous to passersby, as soon as I stepped inside, I was won over by the whiff of coffee and glimpse of the pretty pastry display.
By this time, I had already splurged on cake-like muffins, and decided to go with something that seemed to be healthy. My bran muffin pick was a perfect choice; it was light, fluffy and left me feel energized, not bogged down. Along with the $1.85 cup of coffee, my wallet was still heavy with change--a plus, considering my ticking meter close to the shop.
A yummy muffin goes for $2.50.
The Spot Cafe & Lounge, 4455 Overland Ave.; (310) 559-8868.
4) Conservatory For Coffee, Tea & Cocoa
Known as a coffee lovers' paradise, I wasn't expecting to find a muffin that quite matched the warm and fuzzy feeling that my Americano gives me every time.
Leave it to a display of muffins surrounded by scones and bagel bars to prove that assumptions are almost always a waste of time (and definitely a threat to expanding horizons). I almost missed out on my tastiest breakfast muffin to date--a jumbo sized banana nut muffin (see my picture and believe it).
The muffin was much cheaper than my Americano, too, making the warm coffee companion an even sweeter side deal.
A yummy muffin goes for approximately $2, varying by muffin.
Conservatory For Coffee, Tea & Cocoa, 10117 Washington Blvd., (310) 558-0436
5) Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
When my eyes went wide at this recommendation for a muffin place, my friend simply replied, "Oh ye of little faith." Yet again I am reminded that I need to trust more readily.
I dragged my feet when it came to visiting this place, which is known for its fried chicken. However, the blueberry muffin lived up to its hype.
It was sweet and full of actual fruit--a first for a restaurant blueberry for me. Sure, it was slightly greasy; after all, this is a soul food find.
I left full and with a rich blueberry taste on the tip of my tongue. Not only was the muffin one of the best blueberry ones I've had, it was also second only to their chicken combo's plain biscuit. Yum.
A yummy muffin goes for approximately $2 (though it was hard to tell the exact price after tax along with my three-piece chicken combo).
Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken, 9537 Culver Blvd.; (310) 202-5453