We've been covering Dominique Ansel and his famous Cronuts  for months now. The time finally came for us to travel trans-America to visit the New York City bakery. The questions on everyone's mind like "How long is the wait?," "Should you order his other pastries?," and "Is the Cronut really worth all the hype?" are answered within the slideshow.
All Is Quiet
Prepare to arrive by 6 a.m. to a fairly short line. Some early birds (aka sketchy-looking scalpers) will have already lined up with lawn chairs. Security guards will walk up and down the line and if they don't recognize you might get in your face and hound you. Don't be afraid, but do wait in line with a friend, and don't leave the line to go for coffee. BYOC before getting in line. Inside the bakery, the lights will be shut off and there will be no sign of activity.
Once the sun has risen, around 7:30 a.m., when you think you can't possibly wait any longer, a baker will bring out fresh, piping-hot, free madeleines for your enjoyment. Meanwhile, another baker will kindly share the bakery's rules with you. "There is no original Cronut flavor. There is only one seasonal flavor! You are only allowed two Cronuts!"
After being awake for two hours with no breakfast, the spongy, lemony madeleine will taste like a bit of heaven. The amuse-bouche is just prepping your palate for the main event.
The Line Inside
When it's 8 a.m. on the dot, Dominique Ansel will open the doors. At this point in time, customers literally jump up and down, unable to contain their excitement. If you're in the first wave, a media outlet with a camera may stop you and ask you the typical questions. "How long have you been waiting? Why would you wait two hours for a pastry?" Psh. Obviously, they don't get it.
Dominique Ansel Spotting!
Behind the counters, the chef himself, Dominique Ansel, carefully pries out the Magic Soufflés from the rectangular molds. Take photos! Tag them #Cronut @DominiqueAnsel. Make all your friends super jealous.
After months of Cronut-mania, the workers behind the counter look visibly beat. Don't expect them to offer smiles and "good mornings," but the service is fast and flawless. Yes, the bakery case is colorful and will make you salivate, but don't hold up the line! Order one of everything and be on with it!
The bakery case is stunning, even if none of the items sound totally delicious for an 8 a.m. pastry run. It's worth returning in the afternoon for a sampling.
Boxing the Cronuts
To make service faster, bakers box Cronuts, two per box. If you order just one Cronut, the cashier may look at you funny. And then a girl next to you might say quite audibly, "If you're not going to buy a second Cronut, will you buy it for me then? I seriously need a third Cronut." Whatever happened to discretion?
More Display Candy
Everything in the bakery looks whimsical and tempting.
Canelés in the Oven
The bakery itself is teeny tiny. Inches from the line are a set of ovens. After standing in the cold for hours, feel free to warm your hands nearish the open oven doors.
Apples, plums, and pumpkin made appearances in the seasonal pastries.
When asked what his favorite item in the bakery  was, Dominique Ansel revealed it's the DKA, which stands for Dominique's Kouign-Amann  (a croissant-like dough with a caramelized exterior). This was his signature prior to the Cronut.
Every French bakery must have macarons! While colorful and cute, it's unlikely you'll see or hear anyone ordering them at 8 a.m.
In photos, the golden box looks so big, but in reality, these boxes are quite small, like mini lunchboxes.
Those who don't necessarily love rich baked goods will appreciate the light, flaky DKA. It has just a hint of sweetness and pairs well with earl grey tea or coffee.
The Frozen S'more has a vanilla bean ice cream core, is wrapped in chocolate feuilletine  (a wafer-like cookie), and is enrobed in marshmallow. Each s'more has a smoked wooden stick and is toasted to order .
Frozen S'more Interior
The toasted marshmallow cracks like crème brulée, revealing a foamy frozen marshmallow. Despite being frozen, it remains fluffy and soft. Unfortunately, the interior vanilla bean ice cream tastes icy as if it has freezer burn. However, the ice cream flavor improves once it melts a little and the ice crystals disappear.
The crunchy canelé has a creamy, custardy center. Order this if the Cronut runs out.
The Magic Soufflé is a chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé, wrapped in orange brioche dough, so it never collapses.
Breaking It Open
The Magic Soufflé comes warm right out of the oven. The best part is breaking it open . . .
Magic Soufflé Taste Test
The dense, orangey brioche paves the way to a light, fluffy chocolate soufflé. The best part is definitely the fudgy center. While it's a small pastry, split it with a friend due to its richness. Save room for the Cronut!
The October Cronut flavor is caramelized apple crème fraîche. The Cronut layers are piped with caramelized apple compote and a crème fraîche filling. The cronut is rolled in rose sugar, topped with a cinnamon glaze, and garnished with a dried apple chip.
Inside the Cronut
There is so much anticipation for the first bite of the Cronut. You are told so many things by your friends, by social media outlets, by other publications, but it's the first time you get to hold the precious little Cronut in your hands, take a glorious bite, and decide for yourself if it's worth the hype or not. Some say it's too rich, others say it's too sweet. Some want to split it, while others hoard the whole thing. Some report disappointment while others are willing to get up again at 6 a.m. the next month for a new flavor.
My Cronut Opinion
I was expecting the best but preparing for the worst. After having tried four pastries, I was only going to take a bite of the Cronut and pass it off as too rich. But one bite of the Cronut, and I became a true Cronut believer. The dough tastes just as light and flaky as a croissant. The apple compote and a crème fraîche filling aren't too sweet or rich, but rather add a tart, complementary flavor to the whole package.
The rose in the sugar granule coating is apparent without overwhelming the caramelized apple. The cinnamon glaze tastes the most familiar — just like the glaze you love on a standard doughnut. Look at that dimpled smile. I couldn't have been more pleased. All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend the Cronut.
A Messy Parting
The last bite oozed all the amazing fillings and made me so sad to say goodbye. I should have ordered that second Cronut, darn it!