Last weekend, Audrey visited Molly in New York City. We essentially spent the weekend roving from one end of the city to the other (literally...on Saturday we walked from top to bottom of Central Park, over 5 miles), bouncing from bakery to ice cream shop to bakery with some salad and falafel thrown in for good measure. In three days, I'd estimate we walked over 20 miles. Not exaggerating. Audrey used her Run Tracker app to log our walking on Sunday, and we covered well over 10 miles that day alone, traversing Brooklyn from the Baked Bakery (home of our favorite brownie recipe) in Red Hook to the famous foodie market Smorgasburg and all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Of course any food tour of NYC with The Batter Thickens was going to include a Cronut pilgrimage. That was a given.
On Sundays, the cronut's home at Ansel Dominique Bakery opens at 9 instead of 8, so our quest started at the leisurely hour of 6:15am.
Do I look tired in that picture to you? Because I was.
We made a pitstop on the way to the subway to fortify ourselves for the wait ahead with some Starbucks.
We arrived to Ansel Dominique around 7:15am and were pleased to find we were among the early birds, snagging a choice spot in line.
There weren't nearly as many people as I expected (because we were overly paranoid, in our typical fashion), and it never seemed like the line got as long as I imagined it would (because I was way over imagining it), but by the time we left the bakery, they were out of cronuts!
We were early enough that we even got bench seating for our wait.
Although we were then asked to get up by a worker about five minutes later, and we relocated so as to maintain our prime spot in line. You can't always trust people when there are cronuts involved.
At one point, we were propositioned by a professional queuer (to borrow the British terminology), who kindly left us his business card.
(If you want to use New York terminology, you could say that he offered to stay "on line" for us.)
But we had no need of his services, and in fact found waiting an enjoyable experience. We had books and conversation for entertainment, and there are perks to lingering by a bakery in the early morning...
Dominique Ansel knows how to keep their crowds happy, too. A coffee cart came out to supply cronut hopefuls with caffeine, and we were even treated to a free snack of freshly baked mini madelines - still warm!
All told, we had plenty to keep our spirits high - and we only got more excited as opening time drew closer!
The line wasn't even moving, but it was so exciting that I could barely focus on my book. I probably read like two pages.
Not even a little rain could dampen our spirits (heh).
The rain only lasted a little, and it honestly made it more exciting. Now we can say, "We waited an hour and half for cronuts, in the rain," sounds better than "We waited an hour and half for cronuts in the beautiful sunny weather and were completely comfortable the whole time."
Of course, while we had a choice spot in line, the line only kept growing behind us....
Line in front of us:
Just noticing this now, but that man behind us was TALL
Line behind us:
And then it was time! They let groups into the bakery 20 at a time. We didn't make it into the first group, but we were at the front of the line for the second group, which gave us extra time for the anticipation to build.
Enjoy this picture of Audrey leaning away and looking slightly standoffish, but that's really just the excitement:
Inside, there was a short line at the counter, giving us a chance to scope out Ansel Dominique's many other delectable treats... If you ever go on your own cronut quest, don't make the mistake of overlooking their other offerings! We got one cronut, a Nutella milk bread (brioche filled with Nutella...yes, as amazing as it sounds), and something called a kougin amann (sort of like a croissant...but sweeter...and different...hard to explain, but delicious), and they were all exquisite, some of the very best baked goods we've ever had. Which, as you may guess, we don't say lightly.
I would come back in a heartbeat for these goodies at a non-breakfast time. Like an afternoon snack of literally everything in this case:
Three hours after waking up, our cronut quest culminated in success.
Without further ado, I present to you:
Our table was right by an observation window where we could watch the magic happen.
It was so cool to watch them work while we ate. Slightly awkward and I kind of wished it was like a one-way mirror, but definitely very cool. They do so much work!
After such a quest, we of course had to document our first bites:
...and our last:
The cronut comes in a different flavor each month. July's flavor was Morello Cherry with Toasted Almond Cream. I have to tell you, I was a little worried that the cronut would disappoint the hype. But that was not the case. It was every bit as delicious and special as I hoped it would be. The only disappointment came as I licked the last granules of sugar from my sticky fingers. But it was worth it.
I was fully prepared for the cronut to be boring and disappointing. Because I was so worried that we would wait and anticipate for so long and they wouldn't be good. But they were SO. GOOD. If they went to Hogwarts, they would earn and EE for Exceeds Expectations. Or an O for Outstanding. Definitely an O.