Hundreds of new recipes are added to restaurant menus every day across New York City. But every once in a while, THE recipe is added to a menu–a dish or an item that hits the city’s hungry clientele in the just the right way, and becomes the next high-demand food item. Dominique Ansel hit gold with their cronut, a donut/croissant phenomenon that’s been around for almost a year and still sells out within an hour of the bakery opening every morning.
My partner-in-crime Maia and I decided to brave the line and get our hands on a couple a few Saturdays ago. This is how it went down:
6am: Our alarms sounded. There was no grumbling or complaining, in fact neither of us even hit the snooze button. We were foodie guerillas, ready to take on Mission: Cronut.
6:47am: We boarded the Manhattan-bound N train and listened to classy rap music during the commute. We are officially amped up. It was like Black Friday shopping, but much tastier.
7:28am: The streets of Manhattan were empty on this Saturday morning; in fact I realized it was the first time I had ever explored Manhattan during such a sleepy hour. But then we rounded the corner near Dominique Ansel bakery, and there was a line half a block long. We got in it, and braced ourselves. All we could think was, “Will we get a cronut before they sell out?”
8am: The bakery opened, but only twenty people were let inside at a time. After the third and fourth groups go in ahead of us, we start to get stir crazy, anxious, and hungry.
8:57am: We were fifth in line, and allowed to enter the bakery the next time the line moved! It didn’t matter that we were at the back of a line that stretched the entire length of the store, we were in! We made it! Cronuts rested in the bakery case just ten feet away from us!
9:16am: “Hi, yes, we’d like two cronuts please!” Five seconds later, they were in our hands.
9:30am: We must have said a prayer or a blessing or something before we consumed, but I can tell you the 14 minutes that somehow passed between holding a cronut and actually eating it were the most painful minutes of the morning for me. What if I dropped my cronut? What if someone stole it out of my hands? What if my eager taste buds exploded?! And then, finally, the first bite.
It was worth it. For a once- in-a-lifetime type of thing, it was worth it. I’m not a connoisseur of either donuts or croissants, but I knew instantly that this pastry was not just a funky dough circle with a crazy name, it was an skillfully-mastered baked good. The buttery, flaky texture worked perfectly with the sugar-dusted exterior, and the passionfruit glaze was bright but not too sweet.
I can think of many other ways I’d spend $5 and three and a half hours in the future. None of them involve long lines or a pastry that doesn’t even begin to fill me up. But every penny and every minute spent on Mission: Cronut was well worth it. Now, to see about that ramen burger craze…