Bread pudding is a dessert that brings out strong emotions in many people. Folks that like it really like it, while the bread pudding haters out there will waste no time making a disgusted face at the mere mention of the delicacy. And sure, bread pudding in its most basic form is nothing special: take some old bread, soak it in eggs, milk, and spices, then bake. It's one of those recipes that obviously arose from having a lot of stale bread around and a need to make it palatable during lean times — not exactly haute cuisine.
Enter the Capital Bar and Grill. The bread pudding at CBG is a rich, tender mass of spicy pudding, cooked just between the consistency of actual pudding and a thick custard. The downtown eatery doesn't skimp on my favorite part about seasonal bread pudding, either: the hard sauce. It's a delightful dish that would be a wonderful warm treat on any of these cold winter days.
What takes the Capital Bar's bread pudding above and beyond, though, is the addition of a single scoop of ice cream that slowly melts over the pudding as you eat it. The ice cream in question is a house-made caramel flavor, smooth and luscious. Dotted throughout the ice cream are small bits of crunchiness, though, slightly sweet and slightly salty, which on further inspection turn out to be pieces of the internet's favorite food: bacon.
Now I'm not insane about bacon like many foodies, but I do like ingredients used in odd ways. There shouldn't be a way to put bacon into a bread pudding with ice cream dish and make it work, but the candied bacon here is subtle, and it adds just a hint of savoriness to the dessert to balance the sweetness of the pudding and the sharp tang of the hard sauce. It's a fantastic dessert, especially paired with a cup of the Capital's fine coffee.
Capital Bar and Grill is located in the Capital Hotel downtown, and they're open daily.