Today was the day I was to get up at 6AM and take the subway down to Dominique Ansel’s Bakery in SoHo, to line up for two hours for a taste of a Cronut from the place they were invented. If you haven’t heard of them, Cronuts are a worldwide sensation at the moment – they are basically a donut, filled and topped with assorted creams, made from a croissant pastry. Moist but flaky and covered in sugar, they have been replicated all around the world, but it is here at Dominique’s that they originated.
This months flavour was Raspberry and Lychee. I was pretty excited. But I’d had a pretty late night the night before, and before I knew it, it was 7:15 and I had no chance of making it down there in time to line up. So I went down anyway, and joined the non-cronut line which was only three people deep.
I had read online that a number of people recommend getting the DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann), a caramelised ball of croissant pastry, that people say is quite similar. I’ve had a cronut before, however, and the DKA while delicious was very different. It was like a round croissant, puffy and tender on the inside.
For savoury, I went the Little Egg Sandwich, a square of omelette, herbs and gruyere cheese tucked inside a fresh brioche bun.
And I couldn’t go past their Frozen S’more. I know I had already had sweet AND savoury, but this was a one-of-a-kind experience. The frozen s’mores are ‘our signature honey marshmallow wrapped around a Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps, served on a smoked willow wood branch and torched to order.’ And while it was sticky, sickly sweet, and had to be eaten immediately, it was seriously good.
I finished up my breakfast in the courtyard garden out the back, and a group of women were sitting next to me. Next thing, Dominique Ansel himself, a minor celebrity in town, appeared and sat down to an interview with the people at the table next to me. Listening in, I heard him tell them that the DKA is the New Yorker’s favourite item – he makes them for the locals. They all tasted and agreed it was very different to the cronut, even though it was made with the exact same dough.
After I finished, and after I’d finished my eavesdropping, I then made my way to the front of the store to leave. I walked past the bakers in the window, filling and topping dozens and dozens of cronuts, walked past trays being brought out to the front cabinet. I walked out the front door – and the line had cleared. Everyone had been served and there were still cronuts…. I tentatively made my way back in, joined the line, and asked for a cronut. I waited perhaps 1 minute, and then I was walking out the front door with my cronut in my hand.
Bottom line is – don’t line up. Go in at about 8:45-9, join what is left of the line, and you should be out of there within 5-10 minutes with a cronut in your hot little hands. I think because people line up, everyone else assumes they have to. But with current ramped up cronut production, it is in the bakeries interests to over supply. They will always sell them all.
And so ends the story of the day I ate $32 worth of pastries for breakfast..