Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Muffin Man Caribbean Cafe Coming to Bowie

by Mimi

When I was a kid in Bowie in the 70s and 80s, if you wanted ethnic food in Bowie, pizza (Happy Italian) or Chinese (Golden Pavilion) was about as exciting as it got. But that was then.

Three decades later, we have Thai (East Moon); Japanese (Sakura); Mexican (Mi Hacienda) and great barbecue (KBQ). We can even get tandoori at the Bowie Town Center food court (White Tiger).

And this summer, our culinary options in Bowie will be expanded further with the addition of the Muffin Man Caribbean Cafe, which is slated to open in Hilltop Plaza later this year. The original “Muffin Man” is in a strip shopping center on Lanham-Severn Road in Seabrook. We decided to check it out this weekend.

Recognized as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s “Cheap Eats,” Muffin Man serves up two dozen varieties of muffins – from the exotic (guava, mango, tropical lime) to the more familiar (blueberry, chocolate chip, banana nut) – and spicy Jamaican fare.

We had originally thought we’d go by in the morning to grab a muffin, but oddly, the place doesn’t open until 11 a.m. – a little late for breakfast. I don’t often feel like a blueberry muffin for lunch. But maybe that’s just me.

The place is decorated like you’d think a Jamaican joint would be – cool Island colors, the requisite Bob Marley mural on the wall, and reggae singer Shaggy tunes blaring.

If you go for lunch, be prepared. Like the softball-sized muffins, the portions are huge.

Unfortunately, when it comes to eating, our kids are typical kids. We aren’t like those pretentious Montgomery County types who brag about their kids’ adventurous palettes and eschew high fructose corn syrup. Without any familiar kid favorites on the menu, our kids ate chocolate chip muffins for lunch (bad parents).

We shared the ziggy (honey glazed) wings and jerk wings served with rice and peas and cabbage. While I’m not fond of chicken that isn’t white or boneless (I know. I hate me too), the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the jerk wings had a nice peppery bite. The cabbage and rice and peas were nice accompaniments.

We washed down our meal with sweet Jamaican pineapple sodas and limeades.

The dense muffins were so heavy; they were almost leaden, but moist and fresh. We’d definitely go back for those. But for one meal, sodas and three muffins, our meal came to about 30 bucks – not really a “cheap eat” for fairly simple fare at lunchtime.

We'll definitely give it a try when it comes to Bowie. Next time we'll bring our appetites and leave the kids at home.


  1. Ruffled in RockvilleJuly 9, 2010 at 5:30 AM

    I must be one of those "pretentious Montgomery County types" because I live in Montgomery County AND I know that it's spelled "palate," not "palette."

    Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from your neighbors, both in D.C. and in MD - there's a little thing called the childhood obesity epidemic. Feeding your children enormous muffins isn't exactly responsible, no matter the time of day.

  2. LOL. Thanks for carping on my spelling mistake and also, the helpful lecture on childhood obesity. I had no idea! Now, if you'll excuse me...my kids need breakfast and that bag of Pork Rinds isn't exactly going to open itself.

  3. Ruffled in RockvilleJuly 9, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    Any time. At least you have a sharp sense of humor... and you know those dreary PG County types, they can dish it out but they can't always take it. :)

  4. Ruffled, I happen to know the author pretty well, and her kids are unlikely to be the next childhood obesity poster children. They are physically very active, and I've seen them eat their share of fruits, vegetables and even organic food. I also happen to know that the Montgomery County comments were said tongue-in-cheek, or at least partially so. I can tell you first hand that the author does like to ruffle a few feathers, but her comments were meant to be funny more than anything else.

    Although I've never heard PG County residents described as "dreary," we do have a love/hate relationship with our Montgomery County friends. We love your schools, we love the jobs, we hate the traffic, we hate the funny looks we get when we tell people we're from Bowie, and yes, we do see a bit of pretension from time to time. Maybe we see it a little more in our friends from Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac, but we do see it. And yes, probably the people from District Heights see the same pretension in people from Bowie. That's just how our society works in general, and of course there are many exceptions to the rule.

  5. We are Bowie residents and absolutely love Muffin Man Caribbean Café. We actually make the trip to Lanham about once per month and think it will be a welcomed addition to the Bowie community.

    Just to state a fact, Caribbean food is made with much less saturated fat, preservative and additives than many other popular dishes. While the muffins are just that--muffins, Caribbean fare is laden with fresh fruit, vegetables and other fine ingredients. We welcome you, Muffin Man...

  6. Anonymous, that's great to hear. We're looking forward to seeing them in town as well.

  7. First & last visit
    Shocked by the service
    & lack of muffins & food
    We arrived around 7:15 pm
    They had just lost someone elses
    Order. Customer service is a must! Even if a mistake has happen! The people working tonight thumbs down!
    August 4, 20014