If you read my newsletter (and really, you should; subscribe here), you probably saw that this weekend we attended the L.A. Times Taste festival which was a terrific event–despite the heat–and had the coolest venue of any such festival I’ve ever been to, being hosted, as it was, at Paramount Studios. Here’s a picture so you get the idea.


Here’s another picture, to show how festive it was:


We ate lots of good things at the festival and, more importantly, I finally got to meet Jonathan Gold whose columns made my move from New York to L.A. a reason to celebrate.

I also met my first riff on a Cronut. Let’s see it again:


In case you’ve been living under a rock, Cronuts are to the pastry world what The Beatles were to the music world 50 years ago. Interestingly enough, the event had a Beatles cover band:


That’s neither here nor there.

Cronuts are croissant dough that’s shaped into a circle, deep-fried and filled with a flavored buttercream. They’re the brainchild of Dominique Ansel who, to his credit, hasn’t expanded or commercialized his enterprise beyond what he did at the start. People line up early in the morning to get a taste of Cronuts in New York. Anyone who attempts to sell Cronuts as Cronuts anywhere else gets a phonecall from Ansel’s lawyers.

So these copycat Cronuts weren’t called Cronuts, they were called…


(The spelling of “raspberry” as “rasberry” should’ve been my first clue.)

So let me tell you about this “Rodeo Cronet.” The restaurant that made it was a restaurant I’d never heard of, but I’m pretty sure it had “Wilshire” in its title. Rodeo Cronets were set out on a table decoratively and we were encouraged to take whichever flavor we wanted with a pair of tongs. I chose rasberry (sic).

Craig scored us a table and sitting down, I eagerly took my first bite.

Let’s cut to the chase: it was disgusting. Like greasy, wet croissant dough that had been fried hours earlier, filled with wet, gooey raspberry cream. It was so bad, that I immediately pushed it away and wasn’t even remotely tempted to take another bite.

Does this reflect at all on the real Cronut? Absolutely cro-not. I bet the real thing is worth all the hype (have any of you had one?), mostly because I bet the time that passes from fryer to mouth is minimal. Also, I think Dominique Ansel knows how to spell raspberry.

Interesting, though, how food trends can travel thousands of miles so quickly, and how–like a game of telephone–something gets lost in translation. Ansel is right to go after the impostors; when it comes to Cronuts, I want the real thing.