Here in San Francisco, there are some dishes that have been elevated to the level of iconic. They are lusted after, photographed, written about, craved, ranked on lists, and most of all celebrated. The Rebel Within muffin at Craftsman and Wolves is one of these dishes.
I had been seeking this particular muffin for quite some time. It’s not that it was particularly elusive in any way (so many craveable dishes are often made in limited quantities in order to increase anticipation and, often times, magnify disappointment, that whole “keep them wanting more” concept), in fact this muffin was always readily available and conveniently located in the heart of the Mission district. Yet for whatever reason, I had been dreaming of this savory breakfast treat for months before I actually tried it. It came to represent something to me, something of a San Franciscan right of passage, and something that I, apparently, was not ready for until last week.
As I approached the infamously hipster bakery, I saw tell-tale muffin remnants on various plates on the outdoor tables: next to abandoned coffee cups and crumpled napkins were bits of green scallions and fluffy little crumbs alongside knives slick with yellow stickiness. I walked into the artsy shop tingling with excitement and anticipation.
I marched up to the barista and declared: “One Rebel Within muffin, please, for here, nothing else, thank you so much.” Seven dollars later, I was sitting at the bar, staring at the muffin I had been fantasizing about for months, and suddenly the moment was upon me.
As I cut through it, the crunchy exterior gave way to a moist interior and the bright yolk flowed out of the muffin creating a yellow, liquid-gold puddle. The muffin itself was like a flavorful, savory foccaccia bread speckled with scallions, pepper, crème fraiche, and xx. I had to actively slow myself down and reminded myself to savor it, I wanted to gobble it all up in an instant. Using a fork and knife, I dismantled the bread into small pieces before dragging them through the viscous gravy the egg left behind. My only wish was that it was served warm, oh and that it never ended!
Moments later, having turned in my suspiciously clean, blue plate, I was back on the Mission streets. It was almost as if nothing had ever happened, but everything had changed. I had joined the club, selling my soul for a seven-dollar muffin. And yet, as I walked away I felt perfectly content with my new membership.