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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > In search of the perfect blueberry muffin (which fancy grocery chain is the best?)

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message 1: by Félix (last edited Jan 11, 2009 08:10AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Having lived in The Republic of Texas is both a curse and a blessing. H-E-B supermarkets ("Here everything's better!") make the best goddamn blueberry muffins on the face of the planet. After moving away, I have not been able to find a suitable replacement anywhere! OK, I admit they are not good for maintaining my svelte profile (ehem), but I miss them just the same.

Markets in Omaha really suck when it comes to muffins. The items they call muffins are all really dry and tasteless, like bad little mix cake cupcakes with a few blueberries in them. Yes, I know. It's because they don't have enough FAT in them ....

Anybody else have this problem? Tell me I'm not alone in this.

So now I realize that anyone who hasn't had an H-E-B muffin won't have a proper reference point here. Anyways ....

message 2: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments One of my favorite "Seinfeld"s was the one about the muffin tops and stumps.

Sorry, that's all I got.

message 3: by Jessica (last edited Jan 11, 2009 09:05AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) best are homemade Larry...w/ hand-picked blueberries from Maine or Nova Scotia.... Made by mom, or...um, me. If I make any this summer I'll be sure to send you some.

message 4: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Oh yes. No doubt. You take it to a whole new level when you talk about homemade.

I just may have to travel to Texas in the interim.

message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) My own weakness is a fresh croissant, warm from the oven, no butter or jam allowed...

message 6: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) No butter? Really?

message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) If it's fresh from the oven, or fresh & heated in the micro, it's so full of butter already in how it's made, any more would be de trop!

message 8: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I guess I am right there with you on that. I gotta have some good coffee to go with it though.

message 9: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17333 comments Mod
I don't have a Texas standard for blueberry muffins. I like the kind from a box with the super-sweet batter and canned berries.

message 10: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) If you ever get to an H-E-B, don't try theirs -- or you'll be spoiled for life.

message 11: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I like blueberry muffins both with butter and without them. Either way.

Larry, I go through this same thing with burritos and pizza. I miss Chicago's Taco and Burrito House SOOOO much. Eating there is a combination of nostalgia and spiritual experience. I also can't get good stuffed pizza in Wisconsin, but there's a place right on the Illinois border, about an hour away, and if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll stop there.

message 12: by Félix (last edited Jan 11, 2009 10:24AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Yup. It's those non-chain specialties that really get you. I mean, there's a Cheesecake Factory and a P. F. Chang's in every city.

But there's a Tex-Mex place in Austin (Antonio's) that I've never been able to find a match for anywhere I've ever been. I have to say I miss it more than I do the family members who still live in the Austin area. :(

Well .. actually I have found a Mexican place that comes pretty close. It's The Blue Iguana on North Temple in Salt Lake City. It's a very small place, always with a line out the door waiting for a table.

message 13: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17333 comments Mod
I knew your pain for the short era when I moved away, Larry. The Mexican food was all different.

message 14: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) In most places it's far too bland. And you can't fix it with Tabasco, either.

I remember once having tamales in a place on the square in Sonoma. The tears were streaming down my face from the heat. Loved it! Most people don't like that, I guess.

message 15: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Here's a pretty good approximation for Antonio's of Austin, in Boulder and Longmont, CO:


message 16: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17333 comments Mod
That location in Longmont is where I once went when it was La Cocina. My favorite. They have this amazing quasi-Italian side dish called Vermacelli, short little angel hair noodles in a spicy tomato sauce. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Larry, all this talk about blueberry muffins propelled me to make a batch. From scratch. I had to go to the store to get sour cream, but now they are almost done, in two minutes. mmmmmmm-hmmmmm.

message 17: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Oh man! Enjoy.

I've only been to the original Ephrain's. I can't think of the town it's in. It's on the road between Boulder and I-25. What's the name of that town, Sally?

message 18: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Lafayette. That's it.

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

RA - are you talking stuffed crust pizza or deep dish pizza?

message 20: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments sally - i also like the boxed muffing mix. partly bacause, like chocolate chip cookie dough, you don't really have to bake it. taste pretty dag-gone good right offa the spoon.

message 21: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Deep dish. Giordano's, Jim. There's one right by Gurnee Mills...

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll have to try it if I get down that far in the near future. We have a Pizzeria Uno's that I consider excellent deep dish pizza.

message 23: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Giordano's is the best I've ever had.

message 24: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 06:18AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Larry, I feel the same way about tortillas. Weird, I know... but after eating H.E.B.'s tortillas, I can't stand to eat them anywhere else, even when they're being churned out fresh for diners at a Mexican restaurant.

message 25: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Yeah, Jim, we have an Uno's too, out by the zoo...they're not bad, but I agree with Larry on Giordano's. Isn't there an Uno's up by the Dells, too? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

message 26: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Yes, Heidi, H-E-B makes them fresh right in front of you in some of the new stores.

Yes, RA, UNO is everywhere. I went to my first one in Philadelphia of all places. I don't think it measures up to the big G.

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

We don't have Uno's or HEB. I've never heard of either. I want fresh tortillas now, though.

message 28: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Let's have a moment of silence to reflect on that.

message 29: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 347 comments Mmmm... fresh tortillas. So warm and fluffy. Sure they've got lard in them, but that just makes them tastier! Dang, now I want some. To the tortilleria!

message 30: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I don't know that I've ever had fresh tortillas. Now I'm afraid to have them lest they ruin regular tortillas for me forever.

message 31: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Better to leave well enough alone, I say. Unless you just need to write sad poetry the rest of your days.

message 32: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:16AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments H.E.B. doesn't just ruin tortillas for a person. They also ruin grocery shopping for a person. GAH! They're heaven. And as if that wasn't bad enough, H.E.B. Central Market Stores ruin H.E.B. for a person, too.

message 33: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Oh yes, Heidi, the Central Market in Austin is to die for.

message 34: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:27AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I've only visited the one in Houston, and, well... my family plans outings to Central Market. It's recreation for us - like spending the day at DisneyWorld... even my 7 YOA nephew LOVES Central Market. He gets sooo excited when we go there. I usually walk away from a day there with a bottle of fresh squeezed juice (the carrot apple is a fave), some exotic fruit, a box of tea, and a stack of tortillas or a loaf of fresh bread or some yummy homebrewed cheese... or something from the olive bar. And then I hoard what I can. The juice never lasts through the ride home, though.

message 35: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) See -- there ARE benefits to living in Houston.

message 36: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Oh, you don't have to convince me... I like visiting Houston, esp. the MidTown area (my sister works there). It's largely pedestrian, lots of beautiful trees and mom and pop shops everywhere. And people can take their dogs out with them while enjoying a beer with friends.

message 37: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Actually, I guess I was convincing myself. :)

shellyindallas I hate Central Market. They set it up like a maze, forcing you to go down aisles you have no interest in. When they opened their idea was to copy Whole Foods but also have some junk like coke and cheetos, then they decided to go straight all natural like Whole Foods but they still have some random crap (no rhyme or reason). Their sweets suck. And then you have to get the codes to all the produce and label them yourself on those super nasty machines.

message 39: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 08:24AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Shelly, if you lived here and had to do your grocery shopping here, you wouldn't complain.

We don't have any super nasty machines to label the produce. Grocery store customers have to wait for a grocer to enter the produce pricing at the checkout... and then they weigh them on the super nasty scanners.

BTW, we do have Whole Foods here. We also have a Fresh Market. Trust me when I say that Central Grocery and HEB (exception would be Trader Joe's... and we don't have one) are both considerably better than the grocery stores in most other places, specifically here. The quality of the food and produce is what makes them better, hands down. If I want good quality produce at a decent price around here, I have to wait until summertime when the farmers' market is open. Otherwise, I'm left with the option of crappy produce at an affordable price or decent produce at a ridiculously jacked up price.

shellyindallas Never heard of Fresh Market, and we don't have a Trader Joe's here. I went to one once in Portland, though, and there was a roach in my bulk cereal.

I'm a Whole Foods person.

message 41: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I hate the produce code machines. I'm always worried I'm going to fuck up the code or whatever and look like I'm trying to rip off the store on my purchase of bananas.

message 42: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 08:27AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I like Whole Foods. The one here jacks up their prices, though.

On to more important things... you found a roach in your bulk cereal?!! GROSS! EWWW!

::marks Trader Joe's off list of fave grocery stores::

message 43: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Trader Joe's is the bomb. I make a trip there at least once a week, even if I don't have to. I would even have my mail forwarded there, if I could.

message 44: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) All I've ever purchased at Trader Joe's is wine or liquor. When I lived in St. George Utah, we would drive the hour and a half to Las Vegas just to hit Joe's and B&N. Two-buck-Chuck!

message 45: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Two-Buck Chuck rules! Seriously, for a $2 bottle of wine, the Charles Shaw Red is very good.

message 46: by Heidi (last edited Jan 12, 2009 08:37AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments ::considers adding Trader Joe's back on the list::

::will watch for roaches::

message 47: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) In some areas the price is as high as $3.49, but still ....


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I love Trader Joes. It's so inexpensive for the quality! It's like Winco for hipsters and vegetarians!

I like Whole Foods, but it's too expensive for regular grocery shopping.

message 49: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) TJ's remains inexpensive because they cut out the middle man. They negotiate their contracts directly with the producer. Most importantly, they're all about quality.

message 50: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Trader Joe's tofu is cheap and excellent. Their coffee is awesome, too. Still, their selection isn't as good as Whole Foods, so I tend to visit both.

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