Cheap Eats 2008: Muffin Man Caribbean Cafe

Why go: This electric-colored cafe—formerly a takeout operation, now with 50 seats—dishes out the area’s best Caribbean cooking plus 20 to 30 kinds of muffins baked daily.

What to get
: From the muffin case, rum-raisin, carrot-cake, cranberry-nut. At the table: goat roti, the thick, well-curried hunks of meat bundled in a soft, eggy crepe; a lively jerk shrimp, the tangy, peppery crustaceans supported by a nest of julienne carrots and water chestnuts; a decidedly non-Jamaican crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp with coleslaw and fries that would be the envy of Crisfield's.

Best for
: A quick, portable breakfast; a gut-busting weekend lunch to carry you through the night.

Insider tip
: The carrot-cake muffins are a local legend, and longtime patrons tend to gobble them up early.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.