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Corn muffins in San Francisco

weem Sep 9, 2008 09:25 PM

A friend was visiting from NYC yesterday. We are both avid walkers, and walked all over downtown, the Financial District, North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square, etc. He visits maybe every three months, has friends all over the City, and loves to explore. At one point on our jaunt, he declared, "You just can't get a corn muffin in San Francisco." I asked what he meant. He said walk in to any bakery, any deli, etc., and you won't find a corn muffin. And apparently he's tried, since he loves corn muffins. Once he and a friend walked all over, walking into every bakery they came upon, and none had a corn muffin. The last one they tried dismissively said, "No, we only have regular ones." So as we walked along, I became obsessed with looking in windows in search of the prize. The closest we came was Cafe Honolulu on Stockton Street (a place I love if only for the glorious ceiling). We asked for corn muffins. She looked all through the display cases and warming oven and said, "I guess we're out." I pointed to what looked very much like a corn muffin in the window, and she said it was coconut.

Granted, I was only alerted to this yesterday, and I haven't made a thorough study of it. And it's entirely possible that the City's bakeries are rife with corn muffins, but he keeps stumbling into the wrong ones. Still, it would be delightful to be able to steer him towards a corn muffin next time he visits. So, can anyone point me towards a place that serves them? I don't mean a sit-down restaurant, I mean a bakery, a cafe, a deli, etc. Preferably someplace in San Francisco that we might encounter on our wanderings. Downtown (from the water to Civic Center), Hayes Valley, the Castro, Noe Valley, the Mission, places like that. Sorry if this seems silly and trivial, but it's really stuck in my mind now. Thanks in advance for any direction.

P.S. I asked him if he preferred southern-style unsweetened or northern-style sweetened. He said he didn't care.


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  1. Melanie Wong RE: weem Sep 9, 2008 09:29 PM

    I think you can find them at Memphis Minnie's.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      ChowFun_derek RE: Melanie Wong Sep 10, 2008 08:58 AM

      absolutely..ask them to griddle it New York Style.....the owner is from NY and he does it the way they did it in the Big Apple when he was growing up.......

      here's a link to the thread where they are mentioned...please note they do not do their brunch anymore unfortunately!


      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Robert Lauriston RE: Melanie Wong Sep 10, 2008 09:15 AM

        Memphis Minnie's are very good. Nice texture, good corn flavor, sweeter than I'd make them myself. 75 cents.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          ChowFun_derek RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 10, 2008 10:36 AM

          Yup...NY luncheonette style...usually griddled with coffee on the side for breakfast (in lieu of a donut I guess....

          1. re: ChowFun_derek
            Robert Lauriston RE: ChowFun_derek Sep 10, 2008 11:47 AM

            I didn't see any griddling going on, they just gave me a muffin.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              ChowFun_derek RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 10, 2008 02:19 PM

              ..at the brunch, when they had it ....it came griddled, now you have to ask for it that way....

      2. r
        Ron Rubia RE: weem Sep 9, 2008 09:56 PM

        I agree with Melanie but also try Hard Knox on Clement & 26th Ave in the Richmond District.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ron Rubia
          rdstargrl RE: Ron Rubia Sep 10, 2008 11:42 AM

          i love the corn muffin's at Hard Knox (I frequent the one in the dog patch) Not sure if they are the NYC style you are looking for, but these are yummy!

          1. re: rdstargrl
            Josh90004 RE: rdstargrl Nov 11, 2008 11:36 AM

            Seriously? They are Jiffy corn bread mix with absolutely nothing added. They are served warm which is nice but come on. The whole place (Clement site at least) was pretty lame.

            1. re: Josh90004
              Civil Bear RE: Josh90004 Nov 11, 2008 01:22 PM

              If that is the case, then Jiffy makes a pretty darn good muffin.

        2. x
          xanadude RE: weem Sep 10, 2008 11:07 AM

          whole foods often has them

          1. n
            Nina RE: weem Sep 10, 2008 01:55 PM

            Mollie Stone's does a nice corn muffin, usually as a muffin-top these days.

            1. l
              LAWoman RE: weem Sep 10, 2008 03:45 PM

              Try the corn and dried cherry scone at Arizmendi Bakery. Not exactly a muffin but more delicious than most corn muffins I've had.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LAWoman
                Atomica RE: LAWoman Sep 11, 2008 05:55 PM

                That corn and dried cherry scone is a great recommendation. Liberty Bakery (Bernal Hts, on Cortland St.) does a corn blueberry muffin, but their baked goods are terrible.

                1. re: LAWoman
                  EllaBoBella RE: LAWoman Sep 13, 2008 12:29 AM

                  I agree with LAWoman... the cherry corn scones are amazing!

                2. j
                  jane RE: weem Sep 10, 2008 07:59 PM

                  I've been struck by this as well - used to love my coffee & toasted corn muffin every morning. There's a shop on 2nd Street, the one with the terrier on the awning (address maybe 121 2nd - next to Tara), that sells them. Pretty good banh mi, too.

                  1. w
                    wontonsoup RE: weem Sep 11, 2008 09:25 PM

                    Joe at Desination Bakery in Glen Park makes a corn muffin.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wontonsoup
                      Atomica RE: wontonsoup Sep 12, 2008 03:40 PM

                      When is the last time you saw a corn muffin at Destination?

                    2. w
                      weem RE: weem Nov 11, 2008 03:40 PM

                      Thanks for the suggestions, everybody. He's in town again now, and we met yesterday to hang out. I suggested lunch at Memphis Minnie's, followed by a Haight Street stroll. Sadly, I didn't realize that Memphis Minnie's is closed on Mondays. Oh, well. It was still a nice afternoon. We'll just have to try again sometime.

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