I must admit, I was super psyched at the prospect of getting a cake from Bake Shoppe and devouring it for no reason other than it being voted the best cake. I’ve had their baked goods before and their cupcakes (from when they were still called Wedding Cake Shoppe). My excitement only grew when I saw that the vanilla buttercream cake was plastered with little rainbow sprinkles.
I was supposed to sit through an entire dinner at Bar Isabel with this cake, awaiting my bites, just siting beside me? Oh boy, I had my work cut out for me. I (half) joked about Ubering home after dinner.
Bar Isabel had been voted best bone marrow. Not exactly a foodstuff that is at the forefront of my mind nor something I would actively seek out. We’ve had it multiple times in the past and yes it was delicious. But what makes bone marrow delicious is moreso the seasonings and all of the accouterments. Not the bone marrow itself.
Bar Isabel was busy, as would be expected. But the service was exceptionally slow. Oddly though it did not bother me too much, as the drink service was not as slow. By the time I had finished my first drink our server was back to take our food order. And an order for a second round of drinks. I had enough time to really thoroughly read over the drinks menu. I settled on drink #1 being a house cocktail, drink #2 being a seasonal (in this case winter) cocktail and if there was time drink #3 would be a featured sherry. It made perfect sense. I was initially tempted by a fruity sour beer but when I had Brent look up the label for me I recognized it as one I’d had before.
We started out with the cheese and meat plate. The winner of the four was clearly the manchego cheese. We were voraciously hungry, and needless to say the dish did not last very long. Nor did my drink. By the time our server came around to clear the plates I ordered a glass of the sherry, making that drink #3 when only one of the three dishes we had ordered came out.
The bone marrow was alright but nowhere near the calibre of what we had at Pinky’s Ca Phe or at Ici Bistro. Towards the end it just became too much for my poor recovering teeth, having to chomp through all that sourdough bread. I was about ready to give up on Bar Isabel when our final dish, the pork jowl came out. Sweetmotherofgod, it was up there as one of the top pork dishes I have ever had. It was spicy and so flavourful and moist and perfectly seasoned. Everything about it was outstanding, so much so that I claimed as taking both first and second place- it was that good.
We transited home as it was getting late (dinner took longer than expected) and it was awkward to carry a cake so far. Yet all along the way I got so many compliments on our pretty cake. I bit into it with very high expectations- which promptly crashed down around me. Yes there were speckles of real vanilla. But that’s about where the positive aspects end. The cake itself was dense which did not pair well with the oh-so-heavy buttercream. How could anyone think that was better than Bakerbots?! I am bewildered.