Cronots, eh?

Of course you’ve heard about the Cronuts from New York.  If you haven’t, then LMGTFY!  I figured it was only a matter of time before it spread, and I was right.

Thus, the Cronots.

Cronots

Cronots

Seeing that I’m not in NY, I haven’t had a chance to try the original Cronut.

As soon as I found out alternatives were available in San Francisco at Lee’s Deli in Financial District, made by Posh Bakery, I sought them out and easily returned with two.  No lines, and plenty in stock!  I chose ones I thought would be solid choices.  I tend to like fairly normal donuts, so I decided to skip the Chocolate and the Strawberry options; I picked up a glazed and cinnamon sugar Cronots.

I opened the first box with eager anticipation!

Cronot in open box (Glazed w/ filling)

Cronot in open box (Glazed w/ filling)

Already, it looked like an unusual donut shape.

Cronot (Glazed w/ filling)

Cronot (Glazed w/ filling)

It looked more like a cylinder, with straight and vertical sides.  It looked similar to the original in this way.

I cut it open to see the inside:

Cronot cut-away (Glazed w/ filling)

Cronot cut-away (Glazed w/ filling)

First, the label was wrong.  There was no check mark nor X next to the “_Filled” label.  Here, I was surprised to find a cream filling.  My second surprise was that it looks more like dough instead of layered croissant despite its textured exterior; just look at it!  This is not like the Cronut.

But was it good?

I quickly cut several pieces and shared with those around me.  I took a bite and realized that I had a slightly stale Cronot that was somewhat doughy, perhaps because I had purchased this around 1pm.  No part of this Cronot was crispy, savory, or buttery (as a croissant would be); I was a little disappointed because of these expectations I had.

But… was it good?

Expectations aside, I actually liked it.  The outside wasn’t rot-your-teeth-sweet, but rather an appropriate sweetness suitable for a donut of its size.  The cream inside was pleasantly smooth, with a lightly sweet vanilla flavor.  It worked.

Then it hit me!  I neglected to warm the Cronot!  IMHO, most pastries will taste better if reheated slightly in a toaster oven.  Fortunately, I had another Cronot to prove this right.

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar)

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar)

Similar to the glazed Cronot, the cinnamon sugar Cronot looks like it has the expected layers one may find in a croissant.

I first put it in a toaster oven at 400˚F for approximately 4 minutes.  Then I cut it open to examine:

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar) cut-away

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar) cut-away

The moment the knife touched the Cronot, I discovered I had actually toasted its outside layer (rather than simply reheat it)!  4 minutes was perfect!  It was crisp, smelled freshly baked, with both a sweet (from the sugar) and savory (like a croissant) aroma.  I salivated with anticipation.  I like warmed pastries!

Clearly, it was layered like a croissant.  Expectations were met, given its exterior appearance!

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar) cut-away

Cronot (Cinnamon Sugar) cut-away

But was it good?  Oh, god, yes!

Not only was its smell mouth-watering, but it looked, felt and tasted as if it was freshly made.  The exterior was crisp, yet the interior was soft, layered and fluffy.  I don’t know that fresh croissants should be crisp, but the contrasting texture worked well in this case.  The cinnamon and sugar were in good ratio, and they were in tasteful proportion to complement the tall Cronot.  Overall, the entire experience was awesome!

As with the prior Cronot, I shared with those around me.  This time, eyes lit up, heads nodded, and tongues were delighted.  This is what I was looking for!

This was a compelling product.  In fact, I became upset that earlier reviewers dismissed the Cronots.  I felt like I had been let down!  Not only were reviews that I came across lacking in food photography, but I hadn’t had a sufficient explanation of others’ expectations nor experiences, and others’ reviews were unsatisfyingly brief.  Perhaps their disappointment was due to inconsistent Cronut production.  Only time will tell.

The toasted cinnamon sugar Cronot made my expedition all worth it.  I would get this again, and I recommend it!

Stable Cafe, San Francisco

I recently ventured out to Stable Cafe as part of my systematic attempt in trying coffee shops that are recommended for one reason or another… usually for good coffee, sometimes for its appearance.  Fortunately, Stable Cafe was both.  And they were kind enough to reserve a table for me and mine (turned out I was rollin’ 6 deep) outdoors since the weather was nice.

So I came prepared intestinally (stomach on empty) and mentally (researched the beans they serve), with my trigger finger ready on the camera shutter.

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - a wandering child

When I walked in, I noticed that the line was about 8-long.  Not because of slow operations, but because it was a busy, bustling cafe with almost all indoor tables occupied.  While waiting in line I noticed a wandering child whose dress appeared to be from a century past.  I was glad they reserved a large table for me and my crew.  Their courtyard felt like a bit of an escape from the busy streets of The Mission in San Francisco.  I liked it.

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - outdoor patio

Knowing that this was an entirely new brand of bean for me (De La Paz), I asked in advance what is recommended; each recommendation was espresso based (latte, cortado, cappuccino).  Since I typically have drip coffee, I decided I would order that and a cortado.  🙂

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - drip coffee

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – drip coffee

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - cortado

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – cortado

My evaluation: a solid recommendation.  If I were in the neighborhood I would totally go back.  But I wouldn’t make an effort to go back specifically.  Not because anything was wrong, in fact it is all good.  I just think there is better for coffee.  Stable Cafe provides a solid, well-rounded experience: good customer service, a cute setting, good coffee and good food.

  • The drip coffee resembled somewhat of a blend of Ritual / Barefoot / FourBarrel in its brighter & lighter overall flavor and mouthfeel with a smooth finish.  It tasted pleasant and I felt I didn’t need sugar or cream to enjoy it; a sign that it is really good coffee!  Speaking of mouth feel, it resembled the texture you get when using a french press, though I didn’t see any grit at the bottom of my cup when I finished it.
  • The cortado was really good.  Like a cappuccino in size, but with a different sweetness in the milk (cappuccino has steamed milk while the cortado has warmed milk).  I liked it and this is what I would order on my next visit.
SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - croissant

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – croissant

I also got myself a croissant with cheese and ham, while others got the Pomba (toast, bacon, brie, egg in the hole).  The croissant was good, as expected.  I mean, it’s a buttery, carby, cheesy, savory bundle of warming goodness.  However, I wondered if I missed out by not ordering the Pomba that everyone else got (but not because they have tried it previously; it was just happenstance).

SF - Stable Cafe (Mission) - Pomba

SF – Stable Cafe (Mission) – Pomba

Also, there was parking directly across the street.  In San Francisco.  In The Mission.  During the peak brunch hour.  Imagine that!  Fortune smiled upon me that day.