I had some free time, so recently decided to make an expedition downtown for the infamous cronets at Dominique Ansel.
First, the line. Got there around 6:30am, and I think I was handed my doughnut sometime after 10:00am. Which in my opinion is not a reasonable wait. I optimistically thought I'd be forking over my $10 around 8:30, and had I known the real wait-time, I don't think I would have done it. (A tip to anyone who wants to seize on an opportunity: someone who came around with a coffee cart could make a tidy sum, I think.)
Considering that D.A. knows about the craze, this seems poorly organized. I'm sure that a sizable number of people are there only to nab two doughnuts, as I was, and if they had any sense, they would set up something like an express line. For that matter, they should charge an odd basic number, like $9.15 or $10.10 or whatever it would be, so that, adding in tax, people could just zip along and hand over a $10, or $11.
On top of that, there was exactly one guy, working as both cashier and bagger, for a line of over 100 people, who was sauntering at a pace better suited to a small town in the midwest. I felt like telling him he should study the people behind the counter of any midtown shop where people pick up breakfast on the way to work, where the staff operates at top speed.
And then, I had to wonder...why all in the morning? They were baking other things while I was there, and I couldn't help but muse that it didn't seem like a great idea to have a product sold in a way that would exclude most working people.
As for the actual cronut, I didn't get to eat it right away, although I know that's ideal. But I was well within the time frame they warn you about. So I happily settled down to focus on what I expected to be a sublime experience with a cup of coffee. First, I tried to cut it. It was like leather. Even with the serrated knife that D.A. advises, it was still so stubborn that I had to keep hacking away at it until I gave up. Then, I had to admit that I found the dollop of icing on top rather off-putting. It reminds me of the worst kinds of doughnuts. Doughnuts, in my view, need a light glaze, not a slathering of thick icing. It was ostensibly the fig-and-mascarpone, but you never would have guessed. Hardly any fig flavor.
Now, was it any good? Absolutely. I ended up peeling the layers D.A.'s alternative suggestion), and I really enjoyed it. Subtle, interesting flavor, and nice inner texture, apart from the leathery outside. But was it worth all those hours standing in line? I doubt I'd do it again.
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