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Food & Drink

I Had the Best Muffin of My Life

The Heiruspecs bassist/Jazz 88.FM personality/Trivia Mafia co-owner shares an elite pistachio muffin recommendation.

Sean McPherson|

Look at that badboy.

I used to live across from the Minnesota Historical Society, and I used to enjoy drinking on weekdays. This would often result in me booking ass to my gig at McNally Smith College of Music bright 'n' early in the morning. But I rarely felt bright and I certainly wasn’t ever early. I was always a man in need of a muffin.

At the time, the muffin of choice was at the Minnesota Historical Society's café. This pistachio muffin was crusty, nutty, with actual pistachios involved, and the coffee was stellar. Get one of those going while you hit the steps by St. Joe’s Hospital and, by the time I got to McNally, I was ready to work on promoting Heiruspecs at my desk. What a treat! It sparked a lifelong love affair with pistachio muffins.

After MNHS switched food vendors, I had to scratch my itch with the only OK pistachio muffins from Dunn Brothers. They’re green, they taste a bit like pistachios, and they’re usually available. But they pack no actual pistachio action, and they're kinda disproportionate. You get a lot of muffin bottom, not much muffin top. Solid, but a B-grade baked good at best.

Flash-forward to late 2022. I had started filing away CDs for Jazz88.FM in a storage area of North High in Minneapolis. The radio station had already re-located to St. Louis Park, so I’d sneak out of our studios usually once every two weeks to put in four hours of filing. Generally, I was getting through about three letters of the alphabet at a time—Armstrong, Louis through Coleman, Ornette. And pretty much every time I finished up a shift, I’d stop at Cuppa Java in Bryn Mawr for a goddamn pistachio muffin. Love a coffee shop reward after a job done decently. Also shout out to Alexei Casselle aka Crescent Moon. Whenever I am in Bryn Mawr I think of him; he’s basically the only person I know from there, and his childhood home is maybe 300 steps from this soon-to-be-discovered majestic muffin.

Now listen, I didn’t expect there to be pistachio muffins at Cuppa Java. Once or twice they didn’t have pistachio muffins at all, and once I wanted an egg salad sandwich instead. But I’ve since probably gotten five of these muffins from 400 Penn Ave. S. What makes them the best? They are moist with pistachio oil or some other kind of oily thing. But it’s not overbearing. These $3 muffins have all been excellent. Thank you, Cuppa Java.

I’m in line the other day in need of true muffin satisfaction. Probably 11:20 a.m. on a Wednesday, and my packed meal is scheduled to be eaten around 4 p.m. during my afternoon shift. I needed that muffin-snack satisfaction. Waiting in line on this particular day, I didn’t see the subtle green tint emanating from any of the pastries they were hawking. But when I got to the front, I sheepishly asked if they had pistachio muffins, already starting to tell myself that the egg salad sandwich would suffice.

When this tall, I-bought-a-coffee-shop-in-my-forties-looking man sauntered back and brought out a muffin, I could already tell it was hot. Just the way he was holding it. He asked, “Do you want a bag?” To which I wanted to say, “I am going to eat in the alley and then probably tear the wrapping into small pieces and try and digest it." Instead I said, “No." This was the best muffin of my life. It’s all downhill from here and I’m totally OK with that.

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