For the first time in a long time, Mike and I had a day off together. We had no plans for Good Friday besides going to dinner with my cousins, and we figured we may wander the city and possibly take in a museum.
But then luck took a turn. Now first, to preface, we are HUGE Dominique Ansel fans (inventor of the Cronut) and have been since we had his jaw dropping desserts when he was the pastry chef for Daniel. I absolutely love his DKA, macarons, and the frozen s’more at his pastry shop in SoHo.
Any time I have a visitor, I try to bring them to the shop for amazing pastries… even my (now 100 year old, as of yesterday) awesome Aunt Dinah.
So where did luck come in to play on this Good Friday? I was sitting on the couch lazily scrolling through Instagram when I happened upon this post from @dominiqueansel:
It was about 10:40am and the first video posted indicated that they would be handing out a free Cronut and Cookie Shot to a few people near the Flatiron at 11am… and then would continue to post clues on Instagram and Twitter throughout the day under the hashtag #followtherabbit. They would be doing this until 5:30 with 7 locations throughout the city in celebration of the upcoming first cookbook from Dominique Ansel.
By 10:55, we were out the door and on our way… but where to?
We figured that by the time we got down to Flatiron (about a 25 minute walk), they would be gone. But I provided the driving school philosophy that if there is something in the road, you don’t know which way it’s going to move, so your best bet is to steer right towards it, figuring it will go SOME way to get out of the way (and you don’t want to guess wrong).
So we begin wandering in that direction, however, by about 11:20 we noticed in the comments that they were all out (and the internet trolls were very upset that the video was the clue to the exact location and the location mentioned was slightly off… people are so damn rude online!) We decided to pass by Flatiron and head down to Union Square, since it’s central and has lots of subways. As we strolled, we noticed that the next video was posted, saying they were now in China Town. So we decided “why not!” and jumped on the subway down to China Town and booked it to Confucius Plaza (a place we had never been), arriving about 20 minutes after the video posted. We couldn’t quite find them, and then we saw the mystical Dominque Ansel yellow pastry box and approached the people with the prize to ask how it went. They informed us we missed them by mere moments.
Dammit! But we were getting closer.
It seemed that they were posting every hour on the hour now, so we had some time to kill before the next post. We decided to take advantage of our day off and do something touristy we had always wanted to do, so we jumped on the 6 train and headed south below the Brooklyn Bridge Stop to get a gander at the abandoned subway station (the train turns around and heads back uptown at the end of the line).
We swung around the turn-around in the abandoned subway station (it was cool but I sure wish we could see a bit more!) and headed back uptown. I was thinking we should go to Union Square again for the same reason as last time (lots of subways there and centrally located) but Mike suggested we get off at Astor Place, so we went for it.
Cell phone service kicked back on right on the top of the hour, and that’s when we realized… They were in Union Square!
I am not embarrassed to say we bolted the 5 blocks there.
And we got there just in time… to watch the very last one be given away.
But now we knew what to look for! White bags and a bunny with an orange balloon.
It was sure a rascally rabbit! But we were having a blast running all over the city on a big treasure hunt.
So now we had another 50 minutes or so to kill. So we went around the Union Square Market, stopped in my favorite bathroom break hotel (the W at the north east corner of Union Square… just go right up the white spiraly staircase and you’re set). It was now 1:30 and we had a choice to make… where to now?
We started doing some total guess work, that we called “hunches.” They were hopping around mostly in squares. It was only a matter of time before they hit Washington Square Park, right? Or maybe they would go to Gramercy Park? Could they totally switch it up and head up to Central Park? We went with our first gut instinct and went to Washington Square Park.
And then as we rounded the corner toward the arch, we saw a magic thing. Before it was even posted, there were two lovely women with big white bags and a small furry bunny tied to an orange balloon. SCORE!
We were second on line and I Instagrammed a not-so-secret picture a full 25 minutes before the clue was posted.
I was so damn excited that we found them!
The video was posted at 2pm on the dot and then the prize was in hand.
They gave us our prized box and a couple special towels, and then were kind enough to take a picture of us with the bunny.
They even took a picture of us that they put on their site.
We hung out and watched the mayhem happen, as some people spotted the line and ran over with wonder in their eyes… and some tourists happened upon it and smartly jumped on the line just to see what it was (I hope they appreciated it!)
They were gone in less than 15 minutes.
So what was in the beautiful yellow box of fun?
Top left is a Passion Fruit Caramelia Chocolate (with cocoa nib sugar) cronut. Top right is a bottle of the Tahitian vanilla flavored milk. And on the bottom is a chocolate chip cookie shot, which is like a firm (but somehow still soft) cookie lined with a delicious chocolate icing that you then pour the milk into.
As I sampled and sipped, I couldn’t help but feel like the luckiest person on earth (or at least in NYC). We had an adventure all over the city, on a beautiful day, saw some great things, and now ended our tour by magically happening upon the exact right spot to get a special treat.
I thought it hysterical that we wouldn’t wait on the line for 2 hours for the pastry, however, we had no problem spending all day on a scavenger hunt around the city to get ourselves the famous cronut. Would it be worth a 2 hour wait at 6am in the morning? Come on… is anything? But it was quite delicious. I am not a huge donut fan, but to have one that had flaky layers filled with a passion fruit (but not too sweet) sauce and topped with a damn good icing was pretty awesome.
And the cookie shot? Really loved that! Novel and fun. By the end of the shot, the icing had come off a bit and had made the milk into chocolate milk. Delicious. (Though I would still probably go back for my original favorites)
What a day!
I can’t help but be grateful for the fun, unexpected day we got from Dominque Ansel. A lot of people think the Cronut is overhyped (it is) and that Dominque Ansel uses it for marketing (he does, but what’s so wrong with that?) and there were a lot of people who didn’t think this scavenger hunt was very fair (it wasn’t)… but people need to relax. This was great fun. And let the haters hate. I’m just going to lick my lips and remember the day we magically got Cronuts.
Can’t wait for that cook book!