2907 Shelter Island Drive #101, Shelter Island
I had to ask her to repeat it, because she was telling me Marvelous Muffins had been open in Shelter Island for 50 years, and she’s owned it for 20 of them. That seemed like a long time for a muffin-centric shop to be around.
I mean, it’s not like hipster muffin shops have been a thing yet. The only dedicated muffin-maker I ever heard of was fictitious — Seinfeld’s “Top of the Muffin to You!” The nearest to the concept I can think of in San Diego is the Mystic Mocha coffee shop in University Heights. They don’t exclusively make muffins, but they do excel.
It turns out Marvelous is strictly muffin in name only. Upon entering the small, low-key shop I found a display case filled with donuts, croissants, and cinnamon rolls and other breakfast pastries in addition to the cupcake-wrapped namesake. There was also a menu behind the counter offering bagel sandwiches. There are 16 different types on hand. I’ve never seen a bigger muffin selection.
On hand when they open, that is. I sauntered in around 10:20 a.m. Blueberry sells out first on a daily basis, no surprise there, and I’d wager triple berry and blueberry bran go soon after that. The poppy seed flavors were gone too, which hit me hard because almond poppy sounded ideal and just uncommon enough to make visiting a muffin specialist feel elevated or important.
Seinfield Muffin Tops
I could have gone cranberry, but tangy fruitcakes are not my thing. I considered banana walnut or cinnamon apple, and I would go for the former if I had to do it over again. But for a moment the voice of eight-year-old Ian rose from the deep recesses of my memory to remind me that a muffin is kind of like a cupcake you eat for breakfast. Chocolate chip for the win.
Adult me immediately responded by adding a spinach croissant for a sense of balance, but my inner child doesn’t lose gracefully and ordered a cinnamon roll and maple-glazed twist when I wasn’t looking.
Chocolate chip is an easy muffin to get right, and it was buttery, crumbly, not too heavy or sweet. More impressive was that the croissant and roll were different levels of flaky but also buttery. The donut…well, good luck having a problem with that.
I can’t vouch that everything was made on site, but the muffins remain the draw here, and they’re obviously good enough to keep the place going. People in the Point Loma area apparently love muffins, and I suppose it doesn’t matter whether anyone else in San Diego feels the same.