Think about what Pinkberry did for frozen yogurt. Or how Sprinkles started a cupcake craze. Is the Cronut the next big thing? Or is it The Harlem Shake of deep-fried confections?
It all started a few months ago at The Dominique Ansel Bakery in lower Manhattan. The bakery was making a donut-croissant hybrid that was gaining serious notoriety not only for its deliciousness, but also for how difficult it was to get.
Ridiculous lines stretched around the block and captured the attention of national food sites, news outlets and social media. Word spread and instantly other bakeries around the globe started coming up with Cronut knockoffs.
DK’s Donuts, right here in Santa Monica, not so long ago came up with their own spin on the Cronut, but DK’s doesn’t really see themselves as imitators, rather more as innovators.
“You can’t copyright a donut. I feel the same way about the Cronut,” said Mayly Tao, co-owner of DK’s Donuts, as she worked the counter during a not-so-surprising mid-evening rush. “We put our own spin on it and came up with the DKronut (pronounced Dee-Cronut).”
While the Cronut name is indeed trademarked, cooking one remains public domain.
A standard DK’s Donut costs a little under a buck, whereas a DKronut costs $5. The original Cronut in Manhattan also sells for $5, but the prolific pastry can go for $40 and up when scalped. Apparently you can scalp anything, even fancy fried dough.
The basics of making a Cronut involve layers of croissant dough formed into a donut shape and carefully deep fried. The process is tedious and weeks of research and development went into making the DKronut. When Mayly and her brother Sean were satisfied with the taste, texture and consistency of the DKronut, they were ready to unleash it upon DK fans.
The result is a flaky pastry with a pliable inside and a gently fried exterior. The meld of contrasting textures lends the DKronut to a plethora of ways to be dressed up.
Initially the DKronut came in three different flavors; a cream filled one, a strawberry cream version and one filled with Nutella. The trio of flavors spelled success.
“They’re doing really well. We go through about three trays a day and more than a dozen fill a tray” said Mayly as she was instantaneously interrupted by a customer phoning in an order of DKronuts.
Jenn Albano of West Hollywood and DK’s die-hard lays claim to one of its latest DKronut creations.
“DK’s is awesome because they listen to their customers and pretty much give them what they want, including the glazed covered [DKronut],” said Albano.
She was calling in special glazed DKronut orders. Mayly liked the idea so much that she quickly made the glazed variety a regular menu item.
I too was special ordering DKronuts, requesting them plain, taking them home and making bacon, egg and cheese DKronut sandwiches. All it took was an Instagram picture of my creation to get back to DK’s. Now they have a DKronut breakfast sandwich on the menu too.
“Every aspect of this sandwich is amazing,” J.C. Babas of Mid-City said as he chowed down on the newfangled breakfast sandwich in DK’s tiny dining area. “They’ve taken everything that is great with a breakfast sandwich and made it that much better by putting it between a [DKronut]. I mean come on!”
Completely unlike the Cronut, which has one flavor a month, DK’s variation is a listing of fan favorites and DK’s originals. As of now here’s the rundown: DKronut with cream, DKronut with strawberry and cream, DKronut with blueberry and cream, DKronut with pineapple and toasted coconut, DKronut with Nutella, Famous Glazed, Cinnamon-Sugar, DKronut breakfast sandwiches and cream-filled DKronut holes!
Not only is the selection ridiculous, but the fact they are open 24 hours a day means you can have your DKronut whenever you desire (pending they are still in stock). Following them on Instagram (@DKSDONUTS) or simply calling them are both ways to know when a fresh batch is ready.
Is the Cronut a food fad? Probably, but we might as well enjoy it while it’s here. A proverbial “summer of love” with DK’s being the corner of Haight and Ashbury. We may all be on the elliptical in the fall reminiscing on how delicious the summer of ’13 was here in Santa Monica.
If you go
1614 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, Calif.
Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food, or on CityTV hosting his own show, “Tour de Feast.” To reach him visit his website at tourdefeast.net or follow him on Twitter @TourDeFeastSM. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org