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A Better McMuffin? 

Wednesday, May 27 2015
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I'm in the "everything in moderation" camp when it comes to fast food. But I need to set parameters for myself, because I can't rely solely on willpower. In-N-Out? Only on road trips. Popeyes? Only when drunk on Thursdays after 9 p.m. Even with McDonald's, I have a rule: only breakfast, only at airports. Egg McMuffins are my guilty pleasure. I live within walking distance from not one but two McDonald's in the Mission — going unrestricted would put my health at serious risk. 

But a recent discovery at Craftsman and Wolves has quenched my Mickey D's morning menu hankerings. Behold, the glory that is the CAW breakfast sandwich! This beauty is a collaboration between chef/owner William Werner and his pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton (a James Beard Award-winning Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2011 and former executive pastry chef at Eleven Madison Park in NYC). 

The two chefs were thinking of ways to expand the breakfast menu and wanted something mobile that could be eaten on-the-go. Though McDonald's was never explicitly part of the conversation, you can't help but think the two chefs drew inspiration from the golden arches that lay deep in the back of their psyches — the sandwiches are too similar in construction and taste. The big difference, of course, is that CAW's version is far more technique- and ingredient-driven, and, as a result, far superior in taste.

CAW makes its English muffins in-house, dusting them with semolina then griddling in lots of clarified butter until they're crisp on the outside. Upon ordering, the breakfast sandwich is split, brushed with more butter (this time of the sriracha variety), then placed in the oven. After warmed through, one muffin half is topped with a disc of rich creamy frittata speckled with bits of dandelion greens (a component that changes with whatever leafy green is in season) and smoked ham from 4505 Meats. The egg puck is then topped with roasted onions and two slices of smoked cheddar, put back into the oven until melted, and married. (Pro-tip: Ask for a couple ketchup packets or Tabasco to cut the richness.) 

It's rich. It's buttery. It's delicious. You'll never crave another McDonald's breakfast sandwich again. That is, unless you happen to have a Pavlovian response to TSA agents and baggage carousels in the morning.

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Omar Mamoon

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