Model Bakery's English muffins are all about anticipation and fulfillment. From the moment you take a light, thick disk out of its sleeve, the buttery touch on your fingers -- in stark contrast with the crisp, dry, dusted crust -- makes you want to take a bite. But you have to toast it, of course, and add even more butter.
So you slice it, drop it in the toaster, and wait. When it pops up, you're eager to get the butter on it before any heat is lost, to maximize melting. I keep a stick of butter at room temperature for just this sort of occasion (no, it doesn't melt in the dish).
Finally, it's that first bite. Oh yeah! The crust shatters beneath your teeth, yielding up that soft spongy center, that wonderful yeasty chew. Makes me want a cup of tea, a wicker chair, and a book. My wife prefers the preserves* I made last summer. Either way it's a perfect weekend morning meal.
If you're not heading to Napa County, where Model Bakery has shops in St. Helena and Oxbow Public Market in the city of Napa, you can now get the muffins delivered by Golden State Overnight.
Economics and minimums are such that you may want to split these with a neighbor: 12-piece minimum, $2 each, $9 for shipping. That's still less than $3 a muffin, which, if you freeze the ones you don't snarf down in the first few days, should provide you a special taste of a Napa getaway weekend for at least a month.
My muffins arrived fresh enough. I buy bagels by the dozen, so I don't eat them the day they're baked either. We ate the muffins over three days, with no meaningful staleness when stored at room temperature. If you're going longer you'll want to refrigerate them, and for an extended stay (as with bagels, bialys, and that half-loaf of bread you know you won't eat but really love) the freezer is great for midterm storage.
So I've got my favorite muffin checked off. Now if I could just find more than one place for a decent New York bagel ...