The Ultimate Muffin

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The muffin has to be one of the best case studies of successful marketing in history. Simply with a name change they managed to get the world to find it permissible to eat what is essentially cake for breakfast. Well, hats off to marketing and hats off to the best muffin I’ve ever had.

Clinton Street Bakery – New York, NY

Assuming the muffin isn’t dry, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a shitty muffin considering dryness seems to be the most common upending for muffin-kind. But moistness isn’t exactly the only thing that guarantees success either. Contrasting textures and flavors are a must for me. Soft through and through, while nice, also gets boring fast, that’s why Clinton’s Chocolate Chunk muffin excels, with its crunchy, crisp sugared top and soft, fluffy innards. But then it goes one better, moving further down the softness spectrum towards gooey, which the chocolate chunks bring in spades. Like the muffin version of City Bakery’s Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, if you should ever happen to be waiting for a table at this place, do yourself a solid and step up to the bakery case and get the Chocolate Chunk. In one bite you will forget all about the wait and find yourself lost in a chocolaty Calgon-like bliss.

Petite Abeille

44 W 17th St. New York, NY 10011(212) 727-2989petiteabeille.com

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For breakfast on a weekday, great options around the city drop off fast. Fortunately Petite Abeille picks up some of that slack. It’s cute, quaint, good and best of all, not too pricey.

It’s Belgian in case you’ve never been, so about 40% of the menu is devoted to waffle based dishes (which most people get). That said, unless you are nuts about waffles, I’d say skip ’em. I’ve had better at places that don’t specialize in waffles and that aren’t Belgian.

That said, the goat cheese omelet is great and the eggs come with a leek and potato mash that is out of this world! Up there with the likes of Cookshop or Clinton Street Baking Co.

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Jack’s Wife Freda

224 Lafayette St. New York, NY 10012(212) 510-8550jackswifefreda.com

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If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, than Jack’s Wife Freda just might be the most important restaurant in NYC. Okay, so that’s a colossal abuse of the colloquialism, but it’s fair to say that you’d be hard-pressed to find a better breakfast. Not taking anything away from Cookshop or Clinton Street Bakery. I love them both. But Clinton is impossible to get into and one can only eat at Cookshop so many times before one gets CFS (Cookshop Fatigue Syndrome).

Not that Jack’s is easy to get into either, but if you go right when it opens at 9am, you’ll stroll right in to this quaint, little, noisy-ass breakfast bonanza of originality. Things like rosewater waffles and Shakshuka (an Israeli egg dish pictured above) fill out a menu of variant classics with eccentric twists.

The only nit is service. They aren’t as bad as everyone says, but sterling they’re not. I’m guessing they are too busy rehearsing their lines for an upcoming audition to be bothered with the spilled creamer on your crotch.

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