In the end, good chocolate conquers all.
I’m usually not a last-minute Christmas shopping guy. This past year, however, with the new baby taking over our lives, I was playing serious catch-up with the holidays. So there I was two days before Christmas, still trying to come up with one more gift for Lisa. Then it came to me: find a local place that made chocolate; it’s hard to argue with homemade chocolate as a gift.
To the internet!
Searching for places around Long Beach Island, because there are a number of places that make chocolate on LBI, I came across a place in Beach Haven called Chocolate Bar. I checked out the site, and was immediately intrigued…so many fun flavors wrapped in special artist-designed labels, and so many luscious-looking truffles. Their main area of operation is NYC, but they evidently had opened a place on LBI in 2007. Now I had a plan of action: head straight from work in Monmouth County to LBI and pick up a nice selection of yummies, and I would totally rock on Christmas Day.
Well, the plan worked perfectly, except for the part where the location would be open for me to buy the aforementioned yummies. According to the website, their Beach Haven location should have been open, but that wasn’t the reality.
The next day, which would make it Christmas Eve if you’re paying attention at home, I called the main NYC number to find out about the LBI location. The first time I called, the woman I talked to had no idea about whether the Beach Haven store was open or not; the second person said that the LBI location was not open anymore. I was bummed, but not deterred. A Plan B came right to mind; I would order some yummies online, make a little gift certificate to have something for Lisa to open, then I would totally rock the following week.
That plan worked perfectly as well, except for the part where the chocolate gets delivered to the house the following week. Even though I received a confirm about my order right away, it wasn’t until early January that I got an email from a Meghan that they were getting new stock and my order would be going out soon. I asked Meghan about the LBI location, and she said that the store was indeed open, but just on weekends in the off-season. I was glad to hear that, at least.
Meghan sent another email a couple of days later to inform me that everything was now in stock with one exception, and would I want what was available now or wait until everything was there. I figured another week was no big deal at this point, so I said to send it all together.
Two weeks later, and still no chocolate, I sent Meghan an email looking for an update. The one item was still not in stock, and then I was notified that another one of my requested items was out and would I want to substitute something else. Now I am a patient man, but even I was getting pretty frustrated. That being said, Meghan could not have been nicer and more apologetic in her emails, so it was hard to get too upset. So I agreed to the switch so that Lisa could finally get her present.
Thankfully, the chocolate finally arrived, and it was delicious! Rich truffles, funky retro bars, cool graffiti bars…all very good. Faith in humanity had been restored! We were now looking forward to actually going there to enjoy more chocolate goodness.
Well, that opportunity presented itself last Saturday. We took a little family outing down to the Manahawkin area and decided to go over the bridge and check out Chocolate Bar. As soon as you step inside, there’s a little bit of NYC chic mixed in with LBI attitude; the walls were bright orange with white displays and lots of brown leather sofas on which to hang out and relax.
It was a chilly day, so we were definitely in the mood for some hot chocolate. We ordered some hot chocolate for Julian, raspberry hot chocolate for Lisa and spicy hot chocolate for myself (no – Lizzie’s still a little too young for hot chocolate). In addition, we also picked up a couple of candy bars (caramel apple and salty pwetzel, erm, pretzel) and a peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie treat.
As it turned out, the woman behind the counter that was serving us was none other than…Meghan! It was nice to meet her and chat for a little while. As I mentioned before, she had been so very nice in our email exchanges and at this point I really didn’t harbor any bad feelings. In fact, the visit to Chocolate Bar made me very excited about coming back in the summer – especially when I saw a menu on the wall that mentioned gelato shakes. Oh my does THAT ever sound good!
So, if you’re ever on LBI and you’re looking for a place to grab a little chocolate, a little coffee and hang out, you’ll do well by going to Chocolate Bar. And if Meghan’s there, you’ll be taken care of very nicely as well.
Chocolate Bar – 220 Centre Street, Beach Haven. 609.492.2577.