If you want to get technical about it, any sandwich consumed first thing in the morning is a "breakfast sandwich," but we know what you're really after as you roll groggily out of bed: oozing, melted cheese, fluffy scrambled or fried eggs, optional (but not really) meat of choice, all encased by sweet, glorious carbohydrates. Whether to cure your hangover woes or simply start the day off heartily in ideal proportions of fat, protein, and carbs, here are the our five favorite breakfast sandwiches in the city.
5. 4505 Meats
The famous "Best Damn Cheeseburger" helped get 4505 Meats on the map, but the Bacon Maple Breakfast Sausage Sandwich is another farmers' market staple not to be missed. This heavenly, fatty sausage patty is studded with sage and red pepper flakes to give it a hint of a kick, drips with sweet maple syrup flavor, is topped with griddled egg and a fistful of greens, and served on a toasted buttered and sesame seed-dotted brioche roll that soaks up all of the excess grease. And by "excess," we mean perfect amount. 4505meats.com.
4. Devil's Teeth Baking Co.
Sure, 45th and Noriega is way out there for most, but make the trek to this surfer's paradise and reward yourself with one humongous buttermilk biscuitwich stuffed with two scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. Remember that Burger King commercial featuring the man with tiny hands? That's how you'll feel holding this bad boy. Wrapped to go in foil, enjoy it in the adorable parklet or walk four blocks to the beach for breakfast with a view, and don't worry about eating again until dinner. 3876 Noriega St., 683-5533. devilsteethbakingcompany.com.
3. The Station
Reach for the aptly named egg croissant at this North Beach café: fluffy, organic eggs are cooked inside of a circular mold so that the resulting "omelette" sits symmetrically between the two halves of the rounded, toasted, flaky croissant from GoodyGoody. Imported manchego cheese sticks to the bottom, and we added on Spanish jamón for a salty switch from the norm (Nueske's bacon is available as well). Pro tip: Ask for a bigger plate. Bits of croissant are likely to fly across the table toward innocent diners. 596 Pacific Ave., 291-0690. thestationsf.com.
2. Universal Cafe
During the week, this Mission hot spot serves up the fried egg sandwich on a poppy seed kaiser roll, but if you can make it through to the weekend, grab one at brunch instead. A homemade English muffin is toasted until its edges are cracker-crisp, while the center remains soft and fluffy. Cheddar and a generous portion of local-cured ham are lightened up with a chervil vinaigrette-dressed avocado and endive salad, all of which is served with a side of greens. It's on the pricey side at $14, but the organic and sustainable quality of each and every ingredient makes it worth every penny. 2814 19th St., 821-4608. universalcafe.net.
Occasionally, prematurely popped yolks or excess fats in sandwiches cause a soggy bun to separate and break even before we bite in. Here, a protective base coat is layered with thick-cut bacon, kale, leeks and gruyere cheese on the bottom slice of toasted Della Fattoria levain. The top is served toad-in-the-hole style, with a cracked egg sitting atop voided center, sprinkled with sea salt, calling to us with a "come-hither" wink from that golden cyclops of a yolk-eye and keeping the bottom crisp and toasty. 200 Columbus Ave., 789-6258. reveillecoffee.com.