Research following introduction of the MDCK model system to study epithelial polarity (1978) led to an initial paradigm that posited independent roles of the trans Golgi network (TGN) and recycling endosomes (RE) in the generation of, respectively, biosynthetic and recycling routes of plasma membrane (PM) proteins to apical and basolateral PM domains. This model dominated the field for 20 years. However, studies over the past decade and the discovery of the involvement of clathrin and clathrin adaptors in protein trafficking to the basolateral PM has led to a new paradigm. TGN and RE are now believed to cooperate closely in both biosynthetic and recycling trafficking routes. Here, we critically review these recent advances and the questions that remain unanswered.