To start at the beginning it is 6.10am when I find myself hailing a cab because I am running late! If you don't make it to the line before 6.30; forget about it! You will NEVER get a cronut! Ever! And since I am on Grand and Essex I am on the wrong side of the Island and there is no way I will make it over West in less than 20 minutes. I NEED a cab!
I am in luck and by 6.28 sharp I am in the line. It is LOOOOONG! There are too many people to count; there is an elusive number of Cronuts made everyday; and I don't know how many people will get only one and how many will get the maximum two. I feel like I am back in algebra class - but there are too many unknowns! In my head there is no way I will get one. But on the other hand it says 6.30am; if you get there before 6.30am you have a chance! I got up at 6am for this one. I better get one. So I make my two feet comfortable on the ground and engage in waiting mode. With this starts a spectacle of inefficiency and suspense.
The Line AT 6.28am:
Within about 30 minutes I start chatting to the people around me. The guy just in front of me is called David. He came in from Hoboken and is in comfy sneakers and training gear. This is his second time in the line: the first time he didn't get one - but he only came at 7. He says he is not really into deserts but he is no doubt a foodie and felt like he had to try one ASAP to claim the badge. Basically we are there for the same reason. As a team we make friends with Bobby and Dan. They are long time besties and every year on Dans birthday they have a tradition to go around the city and eat weird stuff; like cereal flavoured milkshake, and pancake burritos. Today is Dans Birthday and its CRONUT time. Their presence just in front of me brings me hope as 8 am approaches and the door opens for the first group of 10 to enter the Dominique Ansel Bakery. Of course the guy on his birthday will get one; and I am only 2 behind him so chances are: I ll get one too!
Bobby and Dan: Happy Birthday!
At about 8.30 two friendly ladies in turkous come around with filter coffee and a few minutes later one of the pastry chefs come around with tiny madeleines. It's all pretty average but it's approaching 9 and I haven't eaten anything yet and the line is still LOONG! And basically NOT moving!!!
Friendly Coffee Ladies:
The reason it is not moving is painful inefficiency. The way it works is; they only let people in, in groups of 10; there is only one cashier and she takes ALL the orders one after the other; no rush; take your sweet time; you want sugar with that coffee? And the place is TINY!!!!
In the meantime the rest of us schmocks at the back of the line (the snoozers as Bobby has renamed us) just have to wait! No bathroom break, no food, no water, just wait. That is if you want to keep our spot in THE LINE. The line to beat all lines. So as we are standing there we realise that the group in front of Dan and Bobby have an imposter; Dan calls her Liz (because of her slight resemblance to Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, I suspect). It is their friend who decidedly was NOT in the line as 6.30 but rather joint later and now spends most of her time in a naughty giggle. We all agree this kind of behaviour is UNACCEPTABLE. We may have snoozed, but we were there. And we were committed!
Finally, just before 10 we approach. A spokesperson has been around once to inform us that there are now 4 trays left; but how big is a tray? How many Cronuts? What does that mean? We have been told that when they let in their last official group of 10 they will tell us we are on the last tray; and after that all bets are off; you might get one, but you might not! We are in the next group of 10 and they didn't say anything! We all get giddy! Holy mother of all that is good in this world; we are having Cronuts for lunch!!!! I almost want to jump with pure glee. The excitement is palatable.
And then the moment happens; a man comes out and with his arm parts the group; just behind me and tells me that I can proceed. As I enter I hear him tell the rest of the group that we are now on the last tray. I made it: but only JUST!
If you want a cronutTM do not follow this advice - it takes commitment, endurance and strength:
Inside the line freaking continues forever. I wait another 25 minutes inside to order my little golden box of two coconut flavoured cronuts. Everyone gets two! That's what you do when you stand in line for something for 4 1/2 hours! You get the MAXIMUM amount: TWO! But I also got the Icecream S'more and I learned that if you are not there for the Cronut you can walk straight in the front door and order their other cakes (which look yum), general foods and coffees from their second counter! I also learn that it is actually more like a conditorie and you can actually sit in the back and eat said cakes and general foods while drinking your Dominique Ansel coffee. To sum it up; inside it is all actually much better than I anticipated.
The other cakes; which also look delicious and you don't have to wait for them:
I can't actually eat my cronut right there and then. I have an icecream s'more in my hand which honestly looks to die!!! I bring it outside and sit on a little bench by the basketball courts next to the Bakery. Wow! It is incredible; flambe vanilla icecream wrapped around a chocolate marshmallow cookie on a stick! It is honestly one of the most phenomenal things I have ever tastes. But this wasn't even why I came here!!!
This is the reason you should go to Dominique Ansel; flambé icecream on a stick!
I am so full after the S'more that I take my golden cronut box as I cabbie up town. They will be devoured following a brisk walk with the Cowboy; who comveniently has now joined me; no way he was ever gonna stand in line, let alone for 4 1/2 hours, for a pastry! He is too cool.
In Central Park we sit down on another bench by the conservatory water and excitedly and, might I add, finally open the golden box.
Cronuts; they look like donuts; but the pastry is croissant; but like in a donuthole they have cream inside (the croissant layers) - in this case coconut flavoured cream - and last icing has artisanly been whipped around the top of the bun for enhanced look and sweetened just crunchy feel.
Golden Nuggets for Two:
We bite into them; honestly the cream is so liquidy it goes everywhere. The coconut flavour makes it particularly sweet and rich: but it is the dough that is particularly delicious! The layers of croissant adds a light texture which results in a much finer delight than just your regular donut. I am not gonna lie to you. It is good. As I finish it I kinda want more but also fear that I would then combust from sugar rush. It pretty much immediately feels like this cronut had just the right size relative to the richness of the experience.
It is certainly good pastry. It is delicious. Most pastry is. But was it worth the 4 1/2 hours in a line? Has it revolutionised my conception of bakeries? No & No. I will gladly have another in 10 years when Dominique Ansel is a franchise and they have multiple flavour options and I don't have to stand in line. Like cup cakes, or cream pies. But very few things in life are worth spending 4 1/2 hours on. Cronuts; probably not one of them.
That said; wow I would go back again and stand in line for possibly 4 1/2 hours for that S'more Icecream! It is really one of the best concoctions I have ever had! Luckily I don't have to though, they sell that at the other counter! The one without the line!
Also I will say this; if you are from out of town and you want that; you snooze you lose, dieheart NYC experience and meet some quirky cool people while nerding out over random foods for a few hours; the cronut line is definitely worth it. I hope we meet again me and my fellow food-splorer friends - that was a really good time!
Enough with the exclamation marks! Here is to going nuts and taking part in the Cronominon! Congratulations me! There is 4 1/2 hours of my life I am never getting back! You snooze you loose! But holy wow; that s'more icecream!!!! Sooooo good!!!!!