Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tasty Tuesday/Cupcake Chronicles: Big City Cupcakes

Okay, let's take a break from Spain for a second, because this post is way overdue. Remember my mission to find the best cupcake in Toronto? Well, it wasn't going so well, so I decided to broaden my scope a little bit last summer, when I was in Vancouver for a few days...

Vancouver is one of the most wonderful places in the world if you love to eat. It's the next best thing to going to Japan and Hong Kong for Japanese and Chinese food respectively. There's everything I love to eat in Toronto, but way better in quality - and more expensive. I had such a blast eating my way through the city the best I can in three days.

So the day we arrived, I noticed that there was a cupcake store a short walk from our hotel. The storey-tall, sheer murals of cupcake close-ups on the store window just gripped me in the gut, and I knew I couldn't go home without trying one.

So the morning before we were about to fly to Anchorage (we were going on a cruise to Alaska), I managed to sneak ourwhile everyone else was packing up, and make a trip to Big City Cupcakes.

It wasn't to open for another 20 minutes or so, so I was turned away by the store keeper who was opening up shop, despite my pleas that I was from out of town and in a rush.  I walked up and down the street, and exactly 20 minutes after I left, I was back, knocking on the door, hopeful for a cupcake.

Apart from getting turned away, I can't remember much else about the service (this is exactly why I need to write experiences down right away!) but I do remember that the service generally was way, way better than at The Cupcake Shoppe in Toronto.  The service there was abominable, as I wrote earlier, which totally took away from the experience as a whole - that combined with the fact that their cupcakes aren't that good just killed it for me.

Anyway!  I couldn't resist picking out three cupcakes, because I knew I wouldn't be able to be back for a while, and it's the only way, really, to have a more holistic view of the quality of their products.  I chose After Dinner Mint, because I'm a sucker for all things mint chocolate, Strawberry Shortcake, because I love actual strawberry shortcake and because I'm a sucker for all things pink, and Blueberry Cheesecake - well, that one's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?

Now, because I was on vacay with my mum, aunts and grandparents at the time, I had to be stealthy.  One of my grandmother's favourite things to do (if frequency is any indication) is to tell me over and over, in as many creatively cruel ways as she can, how obscenely obese I am.  She just loooves to go on about my fatness.  It's as if she can't help herself.  I don't know a singly gay man who could beat her in backhand-complimenting, and that's saying something, because some of my boys are downright vicious when they want to be. 

So there was no way I could bring my cupcakes back to my family to enjoy slowly or to share - I had to inhale that sh!t as fast I could. 

I did, and I tried my best to catalogue every flavour and texture for future reference.  As a whole, it was better in quality than what I had at The Cupcake Shoppe - but that's almost a given, because everything I ate in Vancouver was better in quality than the same thing in Toronto, and the prices reflected that fact.

But these cupcakes weren't much to rave about, either.  I mean, it was great that I could actually taste and differentiate the flavours, unlike the ones at The Cupcake Shoppe.  But they were very, very sweet, even for me, and they were very heavy.  I kind of wanted to puke after the second one - but that was mainly my own doing.  Well, my own doing for having three at a time, but the cheesecake one especially was very heavy, because there were cheese cake clumps baked into the cupcake.

They were pretty enough, but I prefer cupcakes that are a little more ornate, and appearances are just as important as the taste of a cupcake, in my opinion.

What I was most disappointed about, however, was the fact that they were cold.  The store had JUST opened - so obviously, the products weren't freshly baked on location.  So, so disappointing - that should be the #1 prerequisite, right?  In fact, their texture kind of made me wonder if they were a day old, although they didn't look it.

So my quest for The Best Cupcake continues.  Originally, the quest was for Toronto's best cupcake, but I've decided that I need to expand my horizons.  I have three more cupcake places to write about from Madrid alone, so I'm planning to make this adventure global - I'm taking it with me wherever I go!

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