It’s a beautiful, clear day and for once the fog isn’t clamoring to be noticed on this particular San Francisco afternoon. I walked the few, gritty blocks past numerous taco stops and pawn shops admiring how little looks different to me. It seems all I ever hear about is how much the city has changed since I left. Nostalgic-gawking aside, I had a mission in The Mission: to find, consume, and document a popular, breakfast-themed muffin.
The second I walked into Craftsman & Wolves, I felt out of place in my colorful scarf and work-appropriate pencil skirt—it's a hipster haven. Even though the windows were open letting the bright sun in, the small dark space felt like a loft. Housing a couple rows of communal benches, a trove of “found” coffee cups each mismatched, and every patron and counter-person was sporting a black beanie as if it were a requirement to get in the door. After throwing my unhip shame away as quickly as it materialized, I gaped at the brioche loaves covered in strawberry powder and the almond joy eclairs behind the glass until I spotted it. Sitting small and unassuming on a wooden plank was a muffin much less opulent than the pastries and cakes surrounding it.
The Rebel Within is everything you didn’t know you needed in a compact, morning muffin but completely redefined -- unrecognizable from the rubbery, bland Egg McMuffins of my youth. Once I ordered ‘The Rebel’ not trying to hide my huge, hungry grin, the girl behind the counter grabbed it with a pair of tongs and shoved my prize into the oven to warm through as she rang me up.
Within minutes, a beautiful, bloated sausage muffin with Asiago cheese and green onions sat in front of me alongside a tiny vial of Tabasco-flavored salt. If I hadn’t already known what delicious treasure lurked inside, it would have sounded good enough as is. However, upon first cut, a soft cooked egg oozed a flood of warm yolk onto my plate. Although it is still only a muffin, The Rebel Within is not the type of quick breakfast many would opt to consume in a car or on the run; the messy afterglow requires it to be a series of bites worthy of sitting down to savor.
On the way back towards the train, I accidentally walked through an active movie set and not half a block later was yelled at by a homeless man in gibberish and I smiled. As comforting as my Rebel was to eat, it heightened the feeling of comfort that San Francisco always provides me, no matter how many storefronts change their names.