Cocola | Santana Row – San Jose, CA [Best Coffee Spot in San Jose]

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Cocola is my favorite coffee shop and bakery to go to in the South Bay! On the weekdays, I love coming here because it is quiet enough to study from. In the evenings and weekends, I love coming here to people watch and for the lively vibe. I am currently typing this review as I sit inside Cocola at their beautiful marble tables.

There are so many drinks that I recommend from Cocola. On a hot day, my go to is the iced Chai. It is not overly spiced but not underdone. They do a wonderful job with the chai. On a cold day, I recommend anything from a chai latte to a hot tea. Since the coffee shop is open so late, I recommend drinking their decaf teas in the evening so you are not up all night.

My favorite thing to eat from Cocola is Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil sandwich. The sandwich is served on a crispy but soft little baguette and is drizzled with vinegar. The side salad along with the sandwich is enough to fill you up for lunch.

For dessert, you can honestly eat anything here and be happy. The macarons are delicious, the tarts are mind numbing, and the cakes are fluffy. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied when you get dessert here.

Cocola can get extremely busy at times which can irritate a person like me. Finding the right time to go is key to your experience. There have been so many stressful school nights that I have gotten a decaf tea and walked around a deserted Santana Row to clear my mind. This place has been my savior during my 1L year at law school. So many of my friends and classmates rave about Cocola. I have never heard a bad thing about the coffee shop and bakery other than “I wish I was capable of eating all of these desserts and not getting fat”.

Cocola is bae.

Tacolicious | Santana Row – San Jose, CA

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This taco place is a rather new addition to Santana Row. So many of my friends have raved about the tacos here so I decided to give it a shot. While I was disappointed at first, I definitely ended the dinner on a good note.

As a lover of Mexican food, I was sad to see that the vegetarian options for tacos included asparagus and mushroom. Is this normal for a taco? Not in my experience. The tacos at Tacolicious suddenly became a hard no for me. Since I only eat halal meat, my limited food pallet was thrown off with the confusingly off vegetarian options.

Instead of tacos, I opted for the empanadas from the appetizer menu. First, I was irritated that I was not eating tacos at a restaurant that had ‘taco’ in the name and second, I was lucky I had just finished Ramadan and did not have a normal appetite.

The empanadas were delicious. They were stuffed with chard, sweet peppers, goat cheese, and covered in tomatillo salsa. My friends each had a meat filled taco that they were clearly satisfied with. Though I was salty that I didn’t eat the tacos, I’m glad that they at least would. Service was normal and nothing above the norm for a restaurant that was not busy.

I would not go again only because their vegetarian menu was depressing and odd to see. For those who are not vegetarian, I would recommend coming since all my meat-eating friends rave about the tacos. I cannot speak per se what they love exactly but my friends are at Tacolicious at least twice a month to eat.

Smitten | Santana Row – San Jose, CA [Cute Ice Cream Spot in San Jose]

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This cute ice cream shop is tucked behind the main row of shops at Santana Row and in its own little courtyard. The reason why I love this ice cream spot so much comes down to location, uniqueness, and flavor.

The location is perfect since its located in Santana Row. Not only is there ample parking, but the vibe is perfect for girls night, family outings, and dates. The ice cream shop is located outside so it forces you to enjoy the summer weather after you have been cooped up al day.

Smitten isn’t a normal ice cream shop. It is unique because the cold treats are made with liquid nitrogen. A technique that is not traditional and quite new. The glass panes around the shop give a chance for people to watch as the ice cream is made using this new technique. Not only does it look like a science experiment but you can taste the quality in the ice cream.

The flavors at Smitten are wonderful, my favorite being Earl Grey. Unlike many traditional ice cream shops, Smitten offers 3-4 ice cream flavors and a limited amount of toppings. For some this can be restrictive however, for someone who has trouble deciding what they want, this is perfect. My most recent trip to Smitten involved Early Grey ice-cream in a waffle cone with caramel sauce drizzled on top (pictured).

I would recommend Smitten to anyone who is craving a sweet treat but doesn’t want to go the normal route of choosing between 24923 flavors of ice cream and toppings from a shop in a run down strip mall. As a person who loves ice cream, I would recommend Smitten on a summer day and on a cold winter evening (yes, I love ice cream that much).