My Friends

Arrow Up

Arrow Up
Arrow Down
,
  • Fri
    24
  • Sat
    25
  • Sun
    26
  • Mon
    27
  • Tue
    28
  • Wed
    29
  • Thu
    30
HauntFest on Main Oct 24, 2014 The third annual, family friendly event in Downtown El Cajon features two stages of live music, a carnival rides and games area, a Kidz Zone with outdoor movies, magic shows, pumpkin patches and more. 70 other events on Friday, October 24
 
Film
Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
Theater
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays
News
City’s contract tweaks both tighten and loosen requirements
Theater
A review of Cygnet Theatre’s production of Sam Shepard drama tops our coverage of local plays
Editorial
From San Diego City Council and Congress to Secretary of State and all the proposition, we have your ballot covered

 

 
Log in to use your Facebook account with
San Diego CityBeat

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on San Diego CityBeat
 
Home / Articles / Eats / Wandering Appetite /  Wonka ...
. . . .
Friday, Feb 08, 2013

Wonka realized at Eclipse Chocolat’s new spot

Wonka realized at Eclipse Chocolat’s new spot

By Marie Tran-McCaslin
appetiteweb Photo by Marie Tran-McCaslin

Valentine's Day is upon us. Whatever your feelings are about Feb. 14, it's usually a good time to chat about chocolate. Sure, chocolate makes for a good gift in February, but what about a visit to a real chocolate factory? Craft beer and chocolate-infused savory dishes at a South Park location make it a little more earthly than Willy Wonka's factory.

Eclipse Chocolat moved from its original location on El Cajon Boulevard to South Park (2145 Fern St.) with plenty of fanfare and a lifetime supply of chocolate to a lucky contest winner. No, the winner won't get the chocolate factory itself—it's been too much a labor of love for owner Will Gustwiller, who greeted chocolate enthusiasts during the new location's opening in a Wonka-esque oversized top hat. He looked much happier (and saner) than Gene Wilder's vague and loopy Wonka or Johnny Depp's slightly sinister version of Roald Dahl's reclusive chocolatier.

There's plenty to be happy about, with a café four times larger than the former location. The centerpiece of the room is an expansive, glossy wooden bar where customers can enjoy coffee, beer or Eclipse's lovely drinking chocolate. It's certainly nothing like an average cup of hot chocolate with a watery base and plenty of grit; rather, it's a thick, silky brew that reminds me of a trip to Paris and the hearty French chocolat chaud

The new space is warmly lit and comfortable for drinks, confections and pastries. Like the previous location, the usual cupcakes, brownies, bread pudding and spicy cinnamon rolls are available every day. I will happily sit all day with drinking chocolate and one of the cinnamon rolls, which sport an elusive heat from cayenne pepper.

The walls are lined with windows offering a view into the kitchen, which goes along with Gustwiller's desire to make transparency a priority. Everyone sees how the chocolates are made and where the ingredients come from. Education is another priority; a giant display of the process from cacao bean to confection is plastered on a wall near the bar. Perhaps he'll eventually show us how to put chocolate in almost everything, as evidenced by the sweet and savory brunch menu. Starting March 4, the brunch will be offered daily, but until then, it's weekends only. The menu is full of dishes with chocolate and caramel integrated in inventive ways. Garlic and white chocolate show up a few times, along with a cocoa nib vinaigrette, while more classic uses include cocoa mole served on pulled pork. On the sweeter side, the panini with sea-salted peanut butter and roasted banana with dark chocolate ganache is not to be ignored.

Eclipse still hosts special dining events, and there's one slated for Valentine's Day. If you're determined to do something for the 14th, call and inquire about possible last-minute seatings. Otherwise, tell your date that dining out that night is overrated and a relaxed weekend brunch is a perfect way to celebrate romance.

Or buy a big box of chocolates and caramels. Can't really go wrong with those.


Write to marietm@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Marie blogs at meanderingeats.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @MeanderingEats.




 
 
 
 
 
 
Close
Close
Close