Every time I go to New York City, I have a list of my favorite places I want to visit. High on my list is Saluggi's for pizza, Joe's Shanghai for soup dumplings and Luke's for lobster rolls.The list is usually too extensive for me to visit all of my favorite restaurants in a single visit.
Last October, I was walking through SoHo and came upon a sign on the sidewalk with morning line-up instructions for the Cronut™. I haven't been living under a rock (or bridge) so I immediately realized I had stumbled on Dominique Ansel Bakery. I'm not a huge sweets fan but I love a good pastry or cookie now and then so I was very curious.
Of course, the Cronut™ was sold out because I didn't get in line at 6am for the 8am opening. But Dominique Ansel won the James Beard award and other Best New Bakery awards before the Cronut™ went viral so I figured I could find something else I would enjoy.
That's when I discovered the DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann). If the Cronut™ is better than that delightful pastry, then the (over)hype is well-deserved. So far, everything I've tried in this bakery has been nothing short of amazing.
Around the time I discovered his bakery, Dominique released his first book, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes. Contained within are the recipes for the DKA and the Cronut™, along with a myriad of other recipes rated from beginner to advanced. The photography is not a prominent as many cookbooks but it is very beautifully shot.
One would think, after a couple of years of Cronut™ craze, and a book giving away the secret recipe, that it would have played out. But Dominique is as smart as he is creative. Each month, the bakery features a new flavor for the filling and icing. This month it was strawberry rhubarb and thyme. As you can see from the Instagram screenshot above, people are still lining up starting at 6am to get a taste of the new flavor.
When I popped in to the bakery on my latest visit to NYC last weekend to get my usual 4-pack of DKAs, they had some seasonal Easter treats I had to try out. While not a sugar cookie aficionado, the Easter Bunny cookies with a mock bite already taken out needed to come with me. They were beautifully decorated with frosting on the front with an amazingly delicious cherry filling. I only got two bites because my girlfriend got to them first.
I'd seen the marshmallow chicks on Instagram so I knew I wanted some of those. They are an elevated take on the Peeps that are so popular this time of year. The marshmallow is piped into a real egg shell with a salted caramel filling. The top is dusted with yellow sugar crystals and some eyes. The tip of the piping is supposed to resemble a little beak but mine ended up looking more like a yellow Snuffleupagus. They come in a box of six. Unless you are a hard-core sweet-tooth, you'd probably get sick if you ate more than one in a sitting.
After two visits to the bakery, it looks like I have another place to add pretty high on my list of must-visit places in NYC. Thanks, Dominique. No... really. Thank you.