If Dominique Ansel, creator of the one and only Cronut starts a new venture- you bet I am intrigued …. nay obsessed to give it a try. Indeed I was totally obsessed with the Cronut a year and half ago – constantly scheming for a way to try this highly elusive treat. Getting in line at 6-7AM for a chance to get two – just two Cronuts wasn’t an option. Their online system for pre-orders every Monday at 11 am (where you can order upto 6 cronuts) is a nightmare as the system freezes constantly – and cronuts get sold out within seconds anyway. For large orders – the bakery accept emails at the stroke of midnight on the first of each month for orders in the following month. But that too is a first come first serve system. So good luck on that one! Yet I kept on trying.
I finally got lucky and snagged 50 Cronuts pre-ordered for a set date last January. I then invited some the most die-hard foodie friends demo Connecticut to share this treat with me at my Cronuts & Champagne party. Oh! what a fun evening it was!!!
When Dominique Ansel opened his second Bakery in NYC, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, where one can go and enjoy breakfast or lunch as well as a huge selection of incredibly delicious sweet treats most of which are made to order – you bet I was there! Here, they fold your chocolate mousse to order – so what you get is a super fresh and fluffy treat. I love the Matcha beignets and DKA (Kouign Amann) here as well. In fact, I can pretty much order anything on this menu – and its sure to excite my taste buds.
About 5-6 months ago, Dominique Ansel launched a cool new venture – UP (Unlimited Possibilities) – an 8-course dessert tasting menu inside his kitchen at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. I was DYING to try it out. With only 8 seats available at each of the 2 seatings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, to be booked 7 weeks in advance – can you imagine how hard it is to get into?
Well! I GOT IN!!! I managed to snag two seats for last Saturday night. This tasting was to be themed after diners’ “first memories” – like our first word, our first kiss, our first time living on our own, our first heartbreak and so on.
I could not believe how much thought and passion went into creating this menu. A couple of weeks before the reservation, diners were asked what their first words were. It resulted in a highly personalized and unique first course which was almost childlike in its nature – but don’t be fooled by appearances as this dish held beautiful and gentle melody of flavors and textures. The sweet pea rice milk was downright addictive and felt like totally guilt-free eating. The yogurt meringues spelled each of our first words – so adorable, so symbolic of our early years. The first course put a smile on my face and I kept on smiling throughout this whimsical, super-creative and absolutely delicious dessert tasting.
I LOVED that this dessert tasting happens in the middle of their teeny tiny kitchen. This little kitchen is producing thousands of delicious treats each day – upwards of 50 different kinds. Can you believe it? The table we sat on – literally had to pulled down from the ceiling – because during the hustle bustle of the day – there is no room for it. As we were seated we started to notice all the heavy duty, high-volume equipment surrounding us. It was absolutely fascinating. e were encouraged to ask questions about anything we spotted in the kitchen. The small space also allowed for an intimate conversation between the pastry chef, the staff and the diners. It was very very special.
The courses bounced between sophistication and whimsy. The menu allowed for a lot of hands on experiences for the diners – which made each person connect even more intimately with the food they were being served. Like the First Kiss course which forced us to sip in a yummy raspberry and roasted peanut water from a cup which required us to involve some tongue-action to take in all the delightful surprises hidden within. The First Dance, an elderflower, strawberries and mascarpone sorbet was “handed” to us in a real orchid – no cutlery provided. Heck! the First Heartbreak required us to set fire to our dessert – symbolic of the fire we feel within during our first breakup. So utterly cool!!!
The First Memories menu will be served until Valentine’s day and all those reservations are already booked. A new menu will be introduced at the beginning of March and I can’t wait to see what Dominique Ansel has “Up” his sleeve! 🙂
UP | Dominique Ansel Kitchen | http://dominiqueanselkitchen.com/up/