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Emporio Rulli's Caramelized Brioche Is No Cronut and That's Alright

Carolyn Alburger | July 18, 2013 | Story Restaurants

Emporio Rulli’s new caramelized brioche is no cronut. Which is to say, this treat is not going viral any time soon. Neither will it be trademarked nor develop a fan base in Singapore. It's too humble looking for that. But while the cronut draws two-hour-long lines in New York for it’s mindf*** of a croissant-donut hybrid, I dare say that the new caramelized brioche of San Francisco is an equally exciting exercise in contrast: a crunchy, slightly gooey, crystallized sugar-coated top; layers of soft, buttery, yet light baked dough in the middle; and a thrifty level of sugar that teases the line with savory.

Unassumingly monochromatic from the outside, the caramelized brioche looks like it might be dry or sponge-like upon eating. But once you pull it apart and take a bite, its glorious chameleon nature takes shape. It’s part popover, part sticky bun, and part pull-apart Pillsbury Crescent roll. The play among buttery and eggy layers, air pockets, and sugary browned top makes every bite different from the last. Needless to say, I'm a fan.

Now, keep in mind that this is no crème-filled fat-kid bait. You can imagine French women working it into their French Women Don’t Get Fat diet. Or a pleasure-loving celeb like Sean Penn taking his attention-grabbing son to Bancarella (350 Powell Street) on Union Square to get one. Or even your favorite YogaTree instructor indulging from time to time. It's that kind of treat.

And the sweetest part? It’s our little secret. For now.

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