I’m in the “everything in moderation” camp when it comes to fast food. But I need to set parameters for myself — I can’t rely solely on willpower. In-N-Out? Only on road trips. Popeye’s? Only when drunk on Thursdays after 9 p.m. Even McDonald’s has a rule: only breakfast, only at airports. Egg McMuffins are my guilty pleasure. I live walking distance from not one but two McDonald's locations 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 the result of a collaboration between chef/owner William Werner and his pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton (a James Beard Award-winning Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2011 Chef 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 construct and taste. The big difference, of course, is that CAW’s version is far more technique- and ingredient-driven, and resultantly far more superior in taste.
CAW makes its English muffins in house, dusting with semolina then griddling in lots of clarified butter until crisp on the outside. Upon order, it’s split, brushed with more butter (this time of the sriracha varietal), 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.
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 airports in the morning.
*Pro Tip: ask for a couple ketchup packets and/or Tabasco sauce to help cut the richness of it all.