Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., April 28
Cheapskate Me: Eclipse Chocolat
Last week, I found a coupon that I thought I had lost. Yes, I can be a real cheapskate, and I use coupons and online deals sometimes. It allows me to eat out more often, and at more pricey places than I might otherwise. I thought I put it in my wallet, but alas, it disappeared. When it reappeared under my car mat, the victim of "stopping short", I couldn't wait to use it. It was a coupon for Eclipse Chocolat, 2121 El Cajon Boulevard.
Eclipse Chocolat has been reviewed on Feast! before, and I certainly can't add any superlatives to what's already been said about their wonderful chocolates. But my dealio wasn't for chocolate, it was for brunch. We've been meaning to go for ages. No time like the present.
Eclipse Chocolat's Sunday Chocolate Brunch is held from 9:00 am till 2:00 pm weekly. The menu changes seasonally, roughly every three months or so. It's a three course ($14) or four course ($16) tasting menu that incorporates chocolate, vanilla bean, or caramel in each plating.
The bacon's not burned, that's cocoa.
I chose the cocoa glazed bacon (with toast and orange vanilla bean butter), apple cinnamon stuffed french toast and the dark chocolate salted croissant. The bacon is thick cut and smoky, with a liberal dusting of unsweetened cocoa. The slightly bitter edge cuts through the rich, porky flavor. Nice. The french toast is not a soggy, heavy standard issue stuffed type. It relies instead on the juiciness of the tart green apples, the lightly sweet caramel cream cheese, and the maple syrup for moisture. Much lighter and more flavorful. I can only manage a couple of bites of my croissant, but it's very flaky, very crispy and has wonderful dark chocolate and crunchy salt inside. The accompanying vanilla creme fraiche adds a great tangy touch.
Halfway through the meal we switch plates.
John got the rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, eggs in a basket, and the chili burnt caramel cinnaroll. The potatoes actually are roasted, not fried, with a healthy dose of rosemary and smokey, spicy serrano sea salt. They're tender and fragrant. The eggs in a basket are nicely cooked, with just a hint of white truffle and a coating of crisply browned parmesan, and lots of chives. The chile-burnt caramel hollandaise works surprisingly well, the chile and "brownness" of the caramel keep it from going into too-sweet territory. Yum. Again, I'm only able to manage a bite or two of the cinnaroll, but it's great. The cinnamon/chile filling has a real kick to it, and the muscovado/caramel cream cheese frosting is whipped into a light, fluffy, not-too-sweet complement.
The desserts go home and enjoy another life as a late afternoon snack with coffee.
We both got espresso lungos ($2.50), made with local Caffe Calabria coffee. Good, strong and hot. I don't like weak coffee, and it's nice to get a well made one at such a reasonable price.
On top of that, we found out that Eclipse Chocolat takes 10% off any retail chocolate or pastry purchase when you have a meal there. A nice "thanks for the business" gesture that we're happy to take advantage of. After all, it's the holidays, and who doesn't like chocolate gifts?
Eclipse Chocolat also hosts monthly three course tasting dinners ($30) as well as weekly Friday Night Threesomes ($12) from 6 to 10 pm, where you can enjoy one small savory item, one small sweet item, and one half glass of wine.
2121 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92104
Cafe Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-10pm • Friday 9am-11pm • Saturday 10am-11pm • Sunday 9am-6pm
Free street parking, free wifi.
If you use a coupon or discount from an online deal, be nice, tip on the whole amount, before the discount.
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