The hottest local spots for hot chocolate enthusiasts

I t’s not uncommon for students to travel off campus during lunch to grab a cup of coffee, most likely in hopes of the caffeine fueling them for the rest of the day.

But then again, there’s alway the teens that despise the bitter taste of coffee, the ones that can go without that energy boost from the beverage.

Hot chocolate is an extremely popular go-to drink among people of all ages. Here are the top local shops selling the popular go-to caffeine free drink:


Starbucks is the most popular out of all of the hot chocolate locations. Their specialty drink contains a dark chocolate taste, and is on the less richer side. However, the sweetness levels are made up for by the whipped cream topping the drink.

Rating: 3/5

Philz Coffee

Although it is not pasted on the menu, if you ask your barista at Philz to make you a hot chocolate, they won’t think twice. This beverage is definitely unique in comparison to the others. You can modify the sweetness and creaminess levels similar to the other items they sell. The hot chocolate itself is rich, thick and foamy.

Rating: 5/5

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out burger recently began selling hot chocolate as the newest addition to their menu. This originally became a topic of discussion as it was the first new item added to their menu in over a decade. The fast-food chain’s Ghirardelli hot cocoa is sweet and simple. The beverage was moreover topped with mini marshmallows, which was nice touch to the experience.

Rating: 4/5

Peet’s Coffee

The hot chocolate sold at Peet’s is similar in taste to the drink sold at Starbucks. Although it is slightly sweeter, it still possesses the lack of richness. However, it is additionally topped with whipped cream, which is a subtle but comforting addition to the drink.

Rating: 3.5/5

The newest addition to the boba community

Surprise surprise, another shop was added to the chain of bubble tea establishments around the Silicon Valley.

Mr. Green Bubble, a restaurant specializing in boba tea, held their soft opening on Dec. 1 in their location of the Westmoor Village Shopping Center.

The interior of the cafe has a trendy environment with a light atmosphere. The store is overall completed with an aesthetically pleasing layout,  clean looking decor, a clear space to the order line and plenty of seating options including two comfortable large swinging chairs open to all customers.

Additionally, the products of Mr. Green Bubble extend to larger categories than bubble tea. Their menu offers a variety of ice cream, coffee, smoothies and other snacks, enabling the chain to appeal to more people.

Customers are given the option to modify the sweetness and ice level of any tea. This small ability to customize my drink gave me a sense of control and reassurance of the product I was purchasing.

The overall customer service was adequate, as employees were polite and offered me multiple samples.

This cafe is a must for a hangout with friends, family or just a quick boba tea run.

Newest movie is truly a ‘Wonder’

A few months back, I stumbled upon a random movie trailer on Instagram as most of us do. After finding myself an emotional mess from only watching the trailer, I knew I had to see the full film.

“Wonder”, released on Nov. 17, bases its story on a boy named Auggie Pullman, played by Jacob Tremblay, and all the people involved in his life. Auggie was born with problems concerning his hearing, vision and normal facial features. As a result, he underwent a multitude of surgeries and was left with a face full of scars and a unique physical appearance. The movie details his struggles facing the norms and expectations of society as he enters public school for the first time.

This film took characterization to an entirely new level. I originally thought that the plot would only follow Auggie’s story. However, I was completely wrong.

“Wonder” told the stories of many other characters and applied equal if not more emphasis on their journeys compared to Auggie’s. The audience was taken into the lives of Auggie’s sister, fellow classmates and parents. We were pushed to see everyone’s perspectives and experiences, in order to understand that although Auggie faced major conflicts, he wasn’t the only one with problems.

The theater echoed with laughter and then complete silence as the film took the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions through witty comments made by Auggie and serious occasions addressing bullying.

Although the popular actors including Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson starring as Auggie’s parents might have triggered the attention of the film before release, the impeccable acting, significant themes and heartwarming story of “Wonder” are what makes the film truly inspiring.

Cafe Stop is worth stopping by

Out of the countless times I’ve driven past the local Falafel Stop, I never fail to see the restaurant swamped with a crowd of people happily munching on or attentively waiting for their Mediterranean food.

The popular eatery extended their food options by introducing their newest addition to their branch next door, the Cafe Stop. However, in constructing the coffee shop next to the Falafel Stop, the old and adored Dairy Belle was replaced in the process.

With a minimalistic light chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a sign clearly stating “Love Lives Here,” I immediately felt welcome in the Cafe Stop as soon as I walked through the entrance. The simple decor related aspects of the restaurant only further contributed to the clean and aesthetic environment.

The service of the restaurant was outstanding, with employees maintaining a friendly and outgoing personality and offering to answer any possible questions about products.

The Cafe Stop’s menu includes a variety of unique food items, ranging from pastries and coffee to breakfast and brunch items. However, the pastries and coffee products were limited in comparison to the other full meals offered.

My vanilla latte surprisingly came with a vanilla biscotti-like cookie, which was a delightful addition to my coffee.

The coffee shop provides a welcoming atmosphere that accommodates the products