Chocolate Festival!

We attended the 9th annual Chocolate Festival in the Belmont Shore neighborhood in the city of Long Beach. Many of the restaurants on the main street had tables on the sidewalk with food samples for $1 or $2. We expected this event might be silly, but we were both surprised at how much we enjoyed everything. We shared one $10 book of tickets, and that was plenty of chocolate!
White Mole Chicken Enchilada
Chocolate Marble Cake
Our favorite overall was the White Mole Chicken Enchilada. (“Mole” is a chocolate-based sauce used in Mexican cooking, but this version was based on white chocolate.) The chocolate-covered bacon was also remarkably good:  the combination of sweet, salty, and chocolate tastes was perfect.
Chocolate-covered bacon
By far, the most creative and tasty item was the chocolate porter (i.e. dark beer) bread pudding with caramelized bacon and a stout (dark beer) chocolate sauce. And vanilla ice cream. As you can imagine, it was pretty amazing to find this being served from a little table on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Chocolate porter bread pudding with caramelized bacon and stout chocolate sauce

Vanilla ice cream
The Brown Butter Orange Cake with Lebanese Kefir Cheese frosting and mint leaves was probably the most attractive item!
Brown Butter Orange Cake
Chocolate Kefir Cheese Frosting and
Cardomon Crunch Topping
S'mores with homemade graham crackers
These items were entries from local residents in a chocolate dessert contest that was separate from the tastings. We went to the contest area after the judging was over and the participants were giving away all the leftover samples they prepared for the judges, so we unexpectedly got to try many of the contest entries for free.
Chocolate Fruit Tarts
Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Chocolate Chip Mocha Cupcakes
Chocolate Violet Mousse