June 19, 2014

US excursion 2014: Cronut run

Pin It

Last day in the US, and I’m standing in line for food again. This time around I’m waiting to get my hands on some of them world-famous Cronuts.

I first met Dominique Ansel a few years ago when he visited Hong Kong. Our mutual friends arranged a dinner together, and the evening progressed into a very fun karaoke session afterwards. Fast forward a couple of years and he’s opened up Dominique Ansel Bakery with the help of my friends. I watched from afar as they gradually made a name for themselves.

Then came the Cronut craze, and the ensuing trademark controversy. Lots of people around the world were trying to emulate the product, and Dominique and my friends fought to defend the product name as their trademark applications were pending approval in various jurisdictions around the world. At dinner a few nights ago, some people brought up the fact that Swissbeck Bakery in Hong Kong had rolled out a version they had called the “Cronut”. I casually mentioned that I was the person who had alerted the people at Dominique Ansel Bakery to this, since I knew that the application to trademark the name “Cronut” had already been submitted at the time. Of course I needed to look out for the interests of my friends.

Now I was finally back in New York City, and there was no way I was leaving without visiting the bakery – both for Cronuts as well as a number of other creations. I emailed my friends in advance to let them know I was coming, and it was suggested that I get in the line before 7 a.m. Yes, despite being friends with the owners of the bakery, my friend Jay Essu and I lined up just like everyone else. And I was in line around 6:40 a.m. – a full 80 minutes before the bakery opened.

The nice thing about the bakery is that just before opening time, the staff would come out and pass out goodies to people who were patiently waiting in line. First came the madeleines, which were hot from the oven. Then came little cups of lemonade. A nice touch to show some appreciation to their customers.

When we finally got in, we each took our allocations of two Cronuts, and I got myself a few other things as well. Dominique and my friend were pretty excited to see us, and we sat down in the garden at the back to catch up. Dominique also arranged to send a few extra things for us to taste.

Magic Soufflé - Dominique sent this out, with orders to eat it right away while it was still warm.  So cool to see a soufflé rise and stays up inside a brioche.

Nice chocolatey center with a hint of orange.  Inhaled immediately.

Dominique also sent out some more of the madeleines, and had to eat them while they were still warm.

Strawberry balsamic and mascarpone Cronut with basil sugar - FINALLY!  After more than an hour and a half, we finally got to taste one!

I don't know what I was expecting... maybe a little bit crispier and closer to a croissant?  But this was also a donut after all, and donuts are softer and chewier.  So this was kinda the best of both.  The strawberry filling was very sweet, while the marscapone was less intense.  Definitely some balsamic flavors here.  Inhaled.  Soooo good.

Banana bread tiramisu - Dominique wanted us to try this.  I sometimes find banana bread to be a little dense for my liking, but this one was pretty good.

Interesting that the light, almost ethereal marscapone would be paired with a dense base.  Pretty good.

The giant peach - how could I, of all people, come here and not try this summer special out?!  Jay Essu commented that this wouldn't look out of place at a Japanese pâtisserie, and I would have to agree.  It just looked so cute...

I absolutely loved this!  The lychee cream studded with Champagne-poached peach was so fruity and delicious I didn't even care about the financier at the bottom.  I'd take a couple more of this any day.

DKA - well, if there was one item I was looking forward to more than the Cronut, it was the kougin amann.  Its one of my favorite French pastries, and it's so hard to find a decent one outside of France.  In fact, I only know of one place where I can get a good one in Hong Kong, and I don't get the opportunity that often...

This was just wonderful.  I looooove this folded collection of flour, butter and sugar.  This is something I would travel far and wide for.  Dominique himself confesses that this is his favorite item, and this is as good as they come.

Canelé - they made these with the large molds, and I just had to grab one of these.

This is another one of my favorites, and here they are very, very good.  Gobble gobble gobble.

Jay Essu and I were absolutely stuffed.  I can't begin to count the amount of sugar, butter and cream we had just consumed for breakfast, and it was all totally satisfying!  We also had a good time catching up with Dominique, and I think Jay Essu was glad that she got up early this morning for this...  I'm sure that the people in her office were glad, too... when they saw her collection of Cronuts and DKAs.

This was a perfect ending to my trip.  I had planned to hop over to the New York Public Library, but I was running out of time.  Patience and Fortitude would have to wait.

P.S. I grabbed a few more DKAs and canelés on the way out to take on the plane with me.  I needed more than half of each for my fix!  As it turns out, I needed 3½ Cronuts and 4½ canelés...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map