Eclipse Chocolate (South Park)
We first heard of Eclipse Chocolate from their booth at the Escondido Chocolate Festival 2014. The coupons they passed out tempted me to try them. Then, Faye of Faye's Fork pointed out a better offer through Travelzoo (2 tasting trios, 2 drinks, and $20 worth of chocolate for $39) which sealed the deal. We picked a date night and drove down to South Park, which we don't visit too often. I especially love how my GPS took us down all the narrow side streets instead of a main road like 30th street. Guess it was all part of the fun of exploring a new neighborhood! Once there, we easily found parking right across the street. There were two women working that night and after waiting a bit, one of them seated us.
Each trio came with one main and two other choices. You can pick two from any of the three other categories (sides, soup & salad, or dessert). We ordered drinks first while looking through the menu.
Dennis decided to order the Vanilla Bean Sangria. It was infused with pineapple and grapefruit and was very light for a sangria. It was pretty good and easy to drink with your meal. I claimed the blueberry inside!
I wanted to go for a signature drink, namely one of their Drinking Chocolate specialties. Unfortunately I don't remember the exact flavor but I'm leaning toward sea salt caramel or whatever their most popular flavor is. Yea, that definitely tasted like a drink made with melted chocolate, good quality chocolate at that! It was thicker like chocolate milk rather than a watery hot chocolate packet. I also really loved that it came with two giant marshmellows, perfect for soaking and consuming afterwards. Hello Godiva of Hot Chocolate! It had a price tag of $5 to match. Maybe that's not much for the Starbucks lovers out there but I usually drink just water!
We started out by picking the Soup Du Jour, which was italian sausage with kale and white beans that day. It was a really delicious soup, very hearty and thick and one of the best soups I've had at a restaurant this year. It also came with focaccia crostini which we dipped into the soup. This soup was satisfying enough that we'd order it as a standalone meal on a cold winter's day. I would love to find a recipe similar to this!
We ordered the Frites and Leeks as well. I was really curious how leeks would come into play. It turns out they were pan fried a bit and sprinkled throughout so nothing as fancy as I thought. The fries themselves were crisp and reasonably flavored with a nice blend of sea salt. This was also a bit generous in portion size, especially when you are getting the tasting trio. Since we had a couple other dishes to try, we held back on scarfing down the rest of the plate.
I saw Bacon Wrapped Dates on the menu and couldn't resist ordering them. These were more on the firm side and after a little push through, you reached the internal soft sweet spots. I was happy that the dark cocoa brown sugar glaze was mellow and didn't compete with the sweetness of the dates. It was tasty but of course, a very small portion for $7.
For one of our main courses, we chose the Grilled Panini with roasted chicken, sundried tomato pesto and greens. The Focaccia bread was very nice because it was soft, thin and lightly toasted on the tops and bottoms. Inside was a flavorful chicken salad type filling but not too mayo-creamy. The lettuce was busting out all over the place! I really liked dipping it in the housemade sauce and ended up eating most of it before Dennis got to his half of the sandwich. I'm so good at sharing sometimes! Overall a very decent sandwich to have here.
Our other main was the Roasted Chicken Pot Pie. We were expecting a bowl but it came out ON THE PLATE! This was a pastry container that was overflowing with pot pie goodies and topped with a crunchy parmesan chip.
Here's another view of the pot pie sans the parmesan lid! This pot pie was very delicious as well and was a decent amount of food between the pastry and the fillings.
Last but not least, we had to pick at least one dessert to finish our tasting trios. We grabbed the Chocolate Brownie Sundae with chili burnt caramel & marcona almonds. The brownie had a fresh baked feel to it and was the texture of a thick lava cake. The almonds were new for us and were softer than the normal ones. You can never go wrong with vanilla ice cream. The most memorable part was actually the caramel, which wasn't as sweet as usual due to the spice factor. It's not a crazy spicy but you could definitely feel it burning a tad after tasting this dessert. Very unique.
To end the night, as stuffed as we were, we got to take home $20 worth of truffles. The pre-boxed ones were all gone so we choose our own 10 from the 14-15 available. We were able to chit-chat with the manager there and she seemed to know everything in and out. I like that about an establishment. After tax and tip though, I realized we had spent about $50 for dinner, which wasn't so cheap after all even with coupon.
*a few days later*
We slowly ate the truffles over a number of days. There were a few that I liked but the rest were just a bit strong and out there in taste for me. I think I'd prefer to stick with Godiva truffles, especially when you can sample once a month for free to find your favorites! These are beautiful and creative though.
Eclipse Chocolate Bar and Bistro
2145 Fern Street
San Diego CA 92104
I was waiting for this post! It looks like you got your $39 worth :)
$5 seems like a lot for hot chocolate but I think I'd be ok paying that if it was gourmet hot chocolate served w/ big fluffy marshmallows. The pot pie looked weird at first - I thought there were two butt ends of a napa cabbage in that first pic. I was shaking my head thinking 'wow, that's a *bit* too nouveaux for me'.
I'm a fan of marcona almonds but I can't imagine them just sprinkled on top of a dessert. The marcona almonds I've had are pretty hard. I can't believe they let you choose your 10 truffles! That's so awesome - I thought they'd just send ppl home with the 'whatever' truffles that didn't sell well that week or something.
I'm glad we got to pick out our own. There were several 'caramel' ones which I didn't want in my box. The boxes are normally preselected (all different flavors I would think). There's also a picture guidebook in the box so you know what you are trying! I remember liking the one with green crystals on top.
Agreed that $50 is kind of not that cheap. Their pot pie looked intriguing especially with that huge parmesan crisp. Sad the chocolates weren't amazing! I looked at their website and they do have some interesting flavors...I think when you have weirder flavors you have to be very good at matching it with the right chocolate, complementary flavor, how strong you want the flavors to be, etc. for it to work out.
Yea, we've been spending a lot of money on food these days. I gotta get back into cooking a little more again. I think it was mainly the truffle fillings that started getting too weird. The last few I just remember thinking "omg what is in this?! eww!" Or I was all truffled out... that's hard to believe because we'd only eat 1, maybe 2 a day!
I haven't gone here for "regular" food in quite awhile - I usually pop in for some chocolate or one of the drinking chocolates (or a cupcake). I like that nothing is "overly" sweet here - it's a good balance of flavor + sweetness. That pot pie is really unique - I haven't seen one presented quite that like before - very pretty! Need to come back in to try their "real" food. I've had brunch here but that was a long time ago.
we were pretty happy with our savory dishes overall. during cold weather, i think that gourmet chocolate would be super duper. i usually prefer to spend my money on food over drinks though!