Evolution + Balboa Park = Chocolate Champ

Meet Balboa Park. It's practically a human entity. For years, I've spent an excessive amount of time here. Some parts are touristy, but some are almost completely abandoned. I come here to peace out with a book or paint or a snack or all of the above. It is one of my San Diego loves.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I grabbed some dessert on my way out of Evolution a couple weeks ago.  Yes, it has taken me this long to finish writing about this.  I was told by a vegan dear that Evolution’s brownie bites and green tea followed by a walk in the park amounts to pure bliss, so I thought it best to indulge and see what I could experience for myself.  Foregoing the tea, I scanned the dessert section, located near the register.  No brownie bites, but quite the selection of sweet treats nonetheless.  Naturally, I was drawn to all items chocolate.  I grabbed a fudge brownie and cacao tart.  I hoped they would taste as fantastic as they looked.

In keeping with park associations and experiential eating, I went across the street and plopped myself down on the grass.  I was cold and only wanted a taste, full from my lunch, but I’ve been known to go on more extravagant journeys all for the sake of a slight, but meaningful, nibble.

I started with the brownie.  I am not typically into nuts in my brownies, but this one did not have them incorporated into the brownie itself; although, they were liberally spread over the top.  They were lovely, actually, because they were toasted, bringing the richness of the nut out and leaving that slightly dusty crisp on the edges of each walnut.  And speaking of richness, you will not want for any when eating this brownie.  It is decadent and chocolatey.  The texture is that of any quality brownie, chewy on the inside, and flakey on top with the welcome addition of the walnut crunch.  The brownie is not overly sweet, but it is sweet, like a brownie should be, meaning it does not just taste like cocoa powder or bitter chocolate, which, let’s be real, sometimes happens with vegan chocolate desserts.

Aside – I’m reminded of the first time I tried a vegan chocolate dessert before I was even a vegetarian.  I ordered the vegan chocolate cake at Heaven Sent in North Park.  It tasted like grass and sticks.  And the kid behind the counter told me it was his favorite!  I can only assume he was lying.  Happy ending: my girlfriends and I made friends with a delightful married couple (“We live in different houses because our pets don’t get along, and we need our space.”  Yup, but delightful and married regardless), and when they realized I did not like my selection, one of the gentlemen literally snapped his fingers to get the attention of a waiter (which really does not exist at Heaven Sent), whom he promptly told to get me a brownie and ice cream, and his demand was granted.  I traded out my nasty vegan cake for the new delicious dessert.  I did have to give him a bite though.  Aside – fin.

The second dessert I got was a slice of cacao tart, topped with shaved coconut and dried goji berries, all over a nutty crumble crust.  This was so delicious.  I wish I had a slice right now.  You should all know that I love chocolate.  I would and often do eat it everyday.  This was a sophisticated and complex stroke of chocolate brilliance.  It is ridiculously rich, and there is no way one can finish it in one sitting without your taste buds punching you in the mouth, unable to handle the overload of flavor and decadence.  Texturally, the chocolate part is melt-in-your-mouth creamy, and the crust is crunchy, sticky, and chewy all at the same time.  The coconut flakes are sparse but add an additional texture and sweetness, while the goji berries offer a fresh element.  There are layers packed into the flavor of this dish, complemented by the actual layers in the tart.  The crust is thick and cleverly mixes walnut and coconut.  The star, though, is the chocolate, which is just sweet enough to pull it away from being weirdly savory.  It has a clean taste and while not overpoweringly sweet at all, it definitely does still register as a dessert.  I  had plenty left over to snack on the next day during my lunch and after school.  After hanging out with a bunch of eighth graders on a rainy Friday, this was a welcome treat.

Together, these desserts cost me under $10, and while I was neither impressed or turned off by the veggie burger I ate for lunch, I found the desserts incredible.  I would recommend Evolution for desserts to anyone, vegan and meat-eaters alike.  A far cry from the vegan cake of old.  Once again, Evolution is located at 2965 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, on the corner of Quince.

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One Response to Evolution + Balboa Park = Chocolate Champ

  1. I ❤ Balboa Park so much, and that rainbow just magnifies the park about a hundred times in beauty.
    We need to go to the Burger Lounge. 😀

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