Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Well, by now, I’d imagine you’re well aware of the Cronut, and heard a lot about the Cookie Shot. If you haven’t, well…how is that possible? Dominique Ansel’s Cronut creation is almost 2 years old, and, I still haven’t tried one. Yeah, I know, I live in NYC, not that far from his SoHo bakery location, and I haven’t been until now. Well, I finally went, but, sorry, still didn’t get the Cronut or Cookie Shot. What’s wrong with me, you might ask? Well, Cronut lines start early in the morning (yes, there are still massive lines this long after it’s launch), selling out before 9:30am. That doesn’t work with my schedule. Then, Cookie Shots aren’t served until 3pm, and sell out not long after. Again, not in my schedule (perhaps at some point I’ll hire a TaskRabbit to wait in line and pick one up for me). But, there are plenty of other delicious, unique treats to be enjoyed, whatever time you’re able to make it there. 

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Inside the narrow bakery, you can pick up your items to-go, or, travel to the very back, past the glass windowed kitchen, where you can watch the masters at work, and take a seat at a cafe table in their indoor patio. Items vary from savory to sweet, including their Frozen S’Mores and Coco little cat pastry.

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I ordered one of the classic items, the DKA (“Dominique’s Kouign Amann” flaky, croissant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust). Shaped somewhere between a muffin meets a turnover, this pastry is really amazing. Now, I will say that it is pretty rich, with a creamy, buttery flavor. But the texture is dynamic, both tender and soft, and light and flaky, all at the same time. 

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It’s presented with the caramelized crunchy crust on the top, but if you flip the pastry over, you can also notice the lovely detail, topped with large granules of sugar.

The Shorts:
Name: Dominique Ansel Bakery
Location: 189 Spring Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. Hell, I might even find some time one day to finally get a Cronut or Cookie Shot.
Would I recommend it? Yes, the items are delicious, whether you’re there for novelty or to enjoy a pastry or baked good, you won’t be disappointed.  

The Cupcake Controversy

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Alright, so, by now, everyone should be up to speed with the closing of all of the Crumbs Bakeshop cupcake stores across the nation, right? With the abrupt ending of this cupcake empire, many people and publications have chimed in to express their excitement toward the end of the “cupcake craze”. And, there are definitely lots of haters, like these guys, these guys, and these guys too. For whatever reason, I feel really conflicted about the whole celebration of killing off cupcakes and trying to make another baked good the “next new thing”. So, I decided to put out my thoughts on the whole topic.

I get it, in the past 10 years, the cupcake game has been pretty over saturated. Hell, there’s a show, “Cupcake Wars”, and every other person or aspiring baker is opening up a cupcake shop every other days it seems. So, yes, I get that it’s become a beast of it’s own and there’s now a surplus of cupcake shops. But when did we decide who can open up a shop if they want to? It’s their venture, and we can just make it our choice to be a customer, or not.

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Well, I’ll be the first one to admit, there are some $hi!!y cupcake shops out there. I know, I’ve tried some of them. But, I don’t think it’s fair to say, “down with all cupcake stores”, since, there are some bakeshops who are doing an amazing job at crafting some tasty cuppies. I’ve written about a couple of my favorite spots, Butter Lane and Sugar Sweet Sunshine, which, I truly hope don’t disappear with all of this cupcake bashing. I know, this sounds dramatic, it’s really lighthearted, but, it just saddens my heart to see awesome places bulked into a trendy, fad-type of dessert hate-fest.

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The other thing that’s pretty annoying is, all of these sources and people talking about the end of the cupcake trend, and the new trend of the next big dessert. I get it, it’s all about marketing. I mean, no one knew what the hell a Cronut was before Dominique Ansel made one. And then, it was like the second coming of Christ. But, I think innovation is cool, and reinventing something is cool too. But, it’s kind of funny when people say that the next big thing is doughnuts (which, presumably date back to the 19th century…doesn’t sound too “new” to me…but, they’re still ridiculously delicious), or macarons (which were possibly created in 791. 791! Does that sound “new”??). Believe me, I’d celebrate and encourage both, I love them and visited a number of doughnut (or donut) spots and macaron shops.

So, what’s my main gripe? I guess it’s the whole hype about ending one type of business and going full throttle into another. Isn’t there enough room in the dessert space for everyone? Even I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut in the sweets space. And, I mean, quality of the product will hopefully always have the influence over what stays and what closes up shop. Unfortunately, I know that’s not always the case. There are plenty of crappy companies and products out there that have their hype-men (and women), and paid-off publications to promote their sub-par stuff. And so, we as the consumer then listen to them and follow the Pied Piper. This isn’t revolutionary, it’s the whole world of PR and marketing, and, it’s reality.

So, instead of celebrating the end of cupcakes, I want to still embrace them, and welcome the new, interesting goods to come. I mean, let’s be honest…if someone gave you a delightful, delicious cupcake today, would you smash it and say “f#@k you, cupcake craze!”, or, would you shut up and enjoy it?

So, RIP, Crumbs. I’ll remember you best when I was surprised with one of your Giant Cupcakes for my birthday a couple years ago.

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And I wasn’t saying “ughhh this stupid cupcake craze”…I was thinking:

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