Versus: Which 'Wich?

What market makes the best breakfast muffin?

The Dish: What could be better than meat, egg, and cheese grilled on an English muffin? All that's required is a pair of hands to enjoy this winning combo. But when you don't want a breakfast sandwich delivered from a drive-through window, where can you go for this quick pick-me-up ? We chose two specialty grocery stores that give this fast-food item a gourmet touch. So which has the better 'wich?The Rivals: Metropolitan Market, 2320 42nd Ave. S.W., 937-0551, WEST SEATTLE. It sounds delicious enough: Hempler's bacon, Tillamook cheddar, and egg on an English muffin, grilled until golden and bubbly. Peering into the Metropolitan Market deli case, seeing rows of freshly grilled breakfast sandwiches lined up like newborns in a maternity ward, who can resist oozy cheese, bacon, and egg swaddled in toast? Not us. But after just one bite, we knew something was missing: seasoning. At $4.99, this sandwich isn't cheap, so there's no excuse for blandness. There was also a meager amount of bacon and an egg that stayed peculiarly square even after being pressed on the grill. The best thing about this breakfast sandwich is that it's available all day.Whole Foods, 2210 Westlake Ave., 621-9700, SOUTH LAKE UNION. The Market Muffin is served until 11 a.m. Mon.–Fri. and noon Sat.–Sun. If you want one on a weekend, you might have to wait about 15 minutes, as a brisk brunch crowd keeps the Market Cafe crew extra-busy with custom orders. Worth the wait? Absolutely. For the same price as the Met Market's muffin, you get two omelet-style eggs with bacon and a copious amount of cheddar-jack cheese on a toasted English muffin. The morning we went, they were out of cheddar-jack (yeah, we slept in), so we subbed provolone. What we got was a mountain of bacony, eggy, perfectly seasoned goodness that kept us full all afternoon.The Champ: If you're in a pinch, the Met Market breakfast sandwich will suffice. It's $5, but a healthier (arguably better-tasting) alternative to its fast-food doppelgänger. It lacks flavor and any real special quality, but scores points for being served hot off the grill and offered past dinnertime. Whole Foods' breakfast sandwiches are a little more elusive, served mornings only, but what they don't offer in availability they make up for in value. We crown Whole Foods the winner in this challenge, not only because their sandwiches are superior, but because they're made-to-order and look way better than you do first thing in the morning.jperry@seattleweekly.com

 
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