This is not a very long review, but I wanted to alert people to my newest favorite hangout - Coupa Cafe. With one location in Venezuela, the Coupa family has children going to Stanford, so they opened their second location in Palo Alto a year ago. A friend alerted me to it, and I've been there once or twice a week ever since.
The atmosphere is nice. The front room has warm yellow walls, and the back room has rich red walls, a fireplace, couch, and alcoved seating spaces to curl up with pillows. Both rooms are decorated with huge photos of South American coffee plantations.
This is more of a coffeehouse type place, but they also have a full menu and wine list, as well as beautiful desserts and handmade chocolates for serving and for packaged sale. My favorite item on the menu is their goat cheese omelette, served with a generous filling of goat cheese and chives, with bread and fruit on the side. They also have very good salads, sandwiches, and arepas, a South American specialty that's sort of like a sandwich in a thick white cornmeal bun.
Their coffee is good, and one of the reasons I keep coming back is the little shaker of rich dark cacao on the table with the cinnamon, sugar, and milk. This isn't the pale ground chocolate other places have, this is gorgeous redblack cacao, and it's wonderful. They also have a spicy Maya hot chocolate (not spicy hot, but has pepper and other spices in it) that my friends rave about.
They sell choclates that they have made for them in San Diego. They're a little expensive at $1.50 for a little piece, but they're unique and very good. Some memorable ones include the chevre - goat cheese and pear truffle, the zen - ginger truffle, the cardamom truffle, and the honey truffle. They also sell chocolate bars, including an Earl Grey one that might entice some of you.
The service is very personable, and with free wireless, there's always a number of people with laptops spending hours there. This is the sort of place you can sit for five or six hours, starting with coffee and lunch and ending with dessert after a round of hard studying.
Even better, they're open until 11pm every night of the week.
Anyways, this is my new favorite place to sit and read or talk for a while, and I wanted to share it with you all.