South Park has always been one of my favorite San Diego neighborhoods, and has managed to keep its charm despite recent growth (to include a Target Express). It also has some of the best local boutiques to get your shopping on. One of the best times to visit South Park is during a free, quarterly Walkabout event when all the neighborhood businesses stay open late to offer special treats, discounts or live entertainment. It feels like a big, family-friendly block party where you sip & stroll from place to place with a group of friends. Make sure you stop in to these shops: Gold Leaf, Graffiti Beach and Junc.Life; these restaurants: Buona Forchetta, Piacere Mio and Eclipse Chocolate; and these bars: Hamiltons Tavern, Kindred and Whistle Stop Bar. Mark your calendar for the next Walkabout nights on July 22, October 7 and December 2.

If you need a break from strolling the neighborhood, head to Eclipse Chocolate for a sit-down meal. Yes it has chocolate in the name, but Eclipse is a full-service restaurant open daily for brunch and dinner. It’s a great place to grab a pastry and a hot chocolate, but I also recommend their brunch entrees like the avocado benedict and blueberry lemon French toast. You can add-on yummy sides including bacon & buttermilk toast or garlic parmesan biscuits. Their thick-cut maple muscovado glazed bacon is a must-have.

Avocado benedict with bacon and buttermilk toast

I don’t normally order hot chocolate, but that’s what everyone should have here. You can choose between 10 different flavors (I love the sea salt caramel), select what type of milk you like, and add vanilla bean marshmallows if you’re so inclined. It’s so rich and delicious that you won’t need dessert afterward. They also serve craft beer, cocktails and wine for those who prefer a boozy brunch.

Speaking of, during my last visit to Eclipse I enjoyed a craft beer and chocolate truffle pairing. Think passion fruit avocado, salted coconut caramel, and pomegranate sage truffles – YUM! Owner Will Gustwiller certainly knows his chocolate and also how to cook with it, which he proved during a recent win on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” chocolate-themed episode.

Craft beer and chocolate truffle pairing at Eclipse

Eclipse often holds special events like Build-A-Bar workshops (where you can choose between 30+ ingredients to build your own chocolate bars) and themed multi-course supper club nights. Go get your chocolate fix!