But while I was in New York City, on one of our group walks, I noticed there was a queue of people outside a bakery and looked up the sign to see which one it was. Lo and behold it was Dominique Ansel's Bakery! Imagine how surprised I was to find out that his bakery was literally half a block away from the hotel I was staying at, and even on the very same street, Spring Street.
Then through twitter I had confirmation from a fellow food blogger (thanks to the suz chef) who was in the Big Apple a week before that it was worth the queue to try out this food craze. So one morning, together with a few of my travel mates who were as curious as I was about the Cronuts, we rocked up at 7.00 am and to our horror, we encountered a queue that was a mile long.
Before I continue with this story, here are a few facts. What exactly is a Cronut? It is Dominique Ansel's creation and it is a cross between a croissant and a donut. It has the shape of a donut but with layers of flaky pastry (like a croissant). Currently, Dominique Ansel has set a quota on how many cronuts an individual can buy. It is 2 per person and he only bakes 200 Cronuts a day. Simple maths says that if a person buys the max, only 100 people in the queue will be able to get Cronuts on any day.
|My mates who joined me on day 1|
So on that morning, we did a quick count and realised we had missed the cut by quite a lot. We called it quits and stopped by a nearby cafe for coffee. But at the same time I decided to ask the first few people in the queue what time they were there by. The first guy was there at 4.40 am, the 2nd who was a lady was there at 5.20 am. By the way, I think the first guy in line was wanting to offer me his Cronuts for a princely sum. I heard through the food grapevine that these guys were selling their bought Cronuts for 50 bucks! But I ignored his hints and moved on.
More than ever, I was determined to queue up and buy these Cronuts! I couldn't stand the fact that I hadn't got them yet. So on Saturday morning, I got there at 5.50 am and this time I was travel mateless! Yes, I was on my own because the others just didn't have in them to crawl out of bed at that time in the morning. Suffice to say, at that time in the morning I was about the 15th in line but it was nice to know for certain that I was definitely getting Cronuts that morning! Yay!
A young couple arrived just after I did and we struck up a conversation and next thing you know it's almost 2 hours later. J and E were such a lovely young couple who was in NYC for the weekend. They were from Toronto and we are now connected via Instagram. So through our love of food and our willingness to queue up for Cronuts I made a lovely connection with 2 people who live on the other side of the world.
At 8.00 am, Dominique Ansel himself opened the main doors and welcomed a block of people at a time into his tiny bakery. I was so excited to finally get in and to actually meet the great patissier himself. He was so humble and thanked all of us for coming. I think there was a little rock star celebrity going on and as we queued up to place our orders, people were asking to take pictures with him. So I jumped on the bandwagon too! Why not! :-) So out came my camera and E was kind enough to take the pic! Yay!
The Cronuts were prepacked into a lovely gold box. Very upmarket and very exciting when I got to open up the box.
I also decided to buy some DKA's. These are Dominique's Kouign Amann and are made of flaky and tender bread with caramelised layers. The bellman at the hotel recommended that I buy these so I did! I am definitely not one to ignore a local's recommendation.
After saying a quick goodbye to J and E, I went back to my hotel room and obviously took pictures. Then it was tasting time. The Cronut's flavour for the month of June was Lemon Maple. It had a strong lemon flavour and had textures of a croissant. While I was eating it, thoughts of croissant were flashing through my mind. Then thoughts of a donut was flashing through my mind too. I did enjoy the taste and textures and I have no regrets queueing up for it.
Then I had the DKA. It is definitely not a pretty looking thing but looks can be deceiving! It was utterly delicious and the caramelised layers were so yummy! I loved it. As a matter of fact, I actually preferred the DKA to the Cronuts.
I saved a piece of each and met up with some of the travel mates at the breakfast cafe in the hotel and those who were there cut up the pastries. Suffice to say they enjoyed the delicacies. Their populate vote was for the Cronut. They loved it and none of them agreed with me when I said I liked the DKA more. So I was the lone ranger in this case but I still stand by my personal opinion.
So if any of you dear readers have had the experience of the Cronut and even the DKA, what did you think of the taste? If you did queue up, was it worth it for you?
Dominique Ansel, you rock! This experience was one I will never forget and it was truly enjoyable, queue and all!
Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street