Knock off Cronut

I’m not usually one for blatant knock offs —the only thing you’ll find me buying in Chinatown are dumplings and noodles (aaand egg custard tarts and pork buns and egg rolls and wontons and, well, you get it!)— but I made an exception this week when I found myself at Dunkin Donuts ordering a Croissant Donut i.e. the not-so-cleverly named Cronut knock off.

Like a Cronut... kinda

Like a Cronut… kinda

I’m at DD a lot because in my mostly cash-only Brooklyn neighborhood, it’s the only place where I can pay for a morning coffee with a credit card. At first I scoffed at the Croissant Donut— after all, I’m a BIG fan of the original Cronut— but each time I saw it, I got a little more curious. It was only a couple bucks and at the ungodly hour that I’m usually there each morning, there was none of the infamous Cronut line, so I thought why not, let’s see what this knock off has to offer.

DD’s Croissant Donut is basically the Cronut’s less attractive, slightly messy second cousin. Instead of the elegant gold box there’s a square, white Dunkin box with a cellophane window. The pastry itself lacks the glittery dusting of sugar, the rich, seasonal flavors, which change monthly for the Cronut, and the overall air of a fancy pants pastry you might want spend two hours waiting in line for.

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

That being said though, it’s not that bad. The glaze on the outside is maybe a bit too thick, and sweet to the point that it almost makes your teeth hurt, but gluttonously good in the same way as say, Twinkies or fried Oreos. The inside, layered in croissant-like layers similar to the Cronut but not as delicate, is thick and moist (sorry, gross word, I know, but the most appropriate) like the whole thing had been injected with cream.

It’s an over the top, low brow counterpart to the Cronut, something that like a fake Louis or Gucci, wouldn’t be out of place at a county fair.  But really, I’m ok with the knock off this time.




Soup dumplings will make everything ok

A feast to say screw you, cold weather!

A feast to say screw you, cold weather!

Ok, no one freak out buuuuut, yes, winter is indeed coming. But as long as there are soup dumplings to be had, winter can go on and make itself right at home cause I, for one, will be just fine.

Yesterday, a day so ugly, drizzly and cold that it really should have been declared a city wide “Stay in bed” Day, marked the first soup dumpling outing of the season for me. I had the winning combo of not wearing a warm enough coat and then getting stuck in the rain, so when I showed up at Shanghai Café, I was shivering and wet. My good hair day from earlier in the day? Gone.

But let me tell you, even just rattling off menu items to the waitress made me feel better. “Ok, right, so, uhm we’ll have the soup dumplings, the steamed pork dumplings, an order of scallion pancakes, the beef tendon noodle soup, pork fried rice, fish ball noodle soup, and uhm, yea I think that’s it. Oh wait, an some lo mein.” Insert sheepish smile that you hope conveys “I’m not a fat ass, I swear. It’s just cold outside.”

One bite into those steaming hot soup dumplings and it didn’t matter one bit what was happening outside. Tons of hot, delicious food, a few good friends, and enough hearty laughs over terrible dating stories, and it could have been a full blown blizzard for all I cared. Winter, I’m ready for ya.