The Villa Diner, Then and Now: The Law Weekly Review

Jill Rubinger ‘19
Diner Aficionado

            When we arrived back to North Grounds for this semester not much had changed. The Law School is still always either really hot or really cold. Mandy is still stirring up caffeinated drinks in ScoCo, George Geis is still looking gooooood, and the 1Ls are still sitting four-to-a-table in the library. However, there was one huge change. The beloved Villa Diner, which closed briefly at the end of last school year, had reopened in a new location on US-29. As a consistent patron of Villa Diner and lover of breakfast food, I was nervous and excited about this big move.

The Villa’s former, unhurried location. Photo courtesy  The Cavalier Daily .

The Villa’s former, unhurried location. Photo courtesy The Cavalier Daily.

            The UVA Foundation owns the property where the Old Villa (hereinafter “OV”) was located and recently decided to terminate the diner’s lease to further development plans for the University. According to the Cavalier Daily, which interviewed Villa owner Ken Beachley, reported that Beachley and his wife were aware of the eventual demolition plans when they first purchased the diner back in June 2005, but were still upset by the news when the time finally came to relocate. So it is worth noting that the owners were perfectly content with the OV location. And so was I. My opinions about the big move stem from nostalgic tendencies and incurable impatience.

The Villa’s new location - featuring “cleaner vibes” but longer waits. Photo Jill Rubinger /  Virginia Law Weekly.

The Villa’s new location - featuring “cleaner vibes” but longer waits. Photo Jill Rubinger / Virginia Law Weekly.

            Excited to try New Villa (hereinafter “NV”), I pulled into the very crowded parking lot on a Sunday morning. The NV aesthetic factor is worth noting. It’s a good–looking diner, not gonna lie. The white brick exterior is clean and inviting. It definitely looks nicer than the OV exterior. But what gave OV some of its charm was its hidden–gem quality. At OV, there was never a wait. I would wait fifteen minutes maximum on a weekend. I also enjoyed the layout of OV. When you walked in you could see everything happening; None of the tables were hidden in any nooks and crannies of the building. If your friends were there, you’d spot them quickly. This made for some fun coincidental group breakfasts during my times at OV. Thomas Watson ’19, a Villa staple, notes the inconvenience of the new location. In lamenting the move, he remarked, “[OV] had a bigger parking lot with multiple points of entry and the new location is on the other side of that Barracks Road traffic light, which is always a nightmare.”

            At NV, the wait time has skyrocketed. I cannot tell if the new location has drawn a larger crowd or if there is simply less seating in the new building. If you’re going on a Sunday morning with a group of four, expect to wait thirty to forty-five minutes alongside the church crowd and the undergrads. Shanna Adler ’19 says she hopes to one day become such a regular that she can get a priority spot in the diner to avoid this hassle. There is a larger waiting area in NV, but that is simply because they need it now. Once seated, you can take in the ambiance of the new location. The tables are spread out and are more removed from the kitchen. This may be a positive feature to many people, but I kind of like it when I am seated close to the kitchen in a diner. This is probably why I enjoy Waffle House so much. There are definitely cleaner vibes at NV. According to Winnie McBride ’19, a Triple Hoo and Villa expert, the restaurant feels clean and has better natural lighting.  

            I would say that the biggest differences between OV and NV are procedural in character. The substantive stuff hasn’t changed. The food is still delicious and the staff still wears royal blue collared shirts sporting the diner’s logo. There are still paper place mats at the table featuring a fun-fact-filled illustrated map of the state of Virginia. The menus are the same, and I still order the Super Big Complete Breakfast every time I go. All in all, it’s still the best quick diner in Charlottesville. Just be sure to factor in a few extra minutes of wait time before your next trip.


Bubble Tea in C'ville: The Law Weekly Review

Grace Tang ‘21
Staff Editor

Christina Luk ‘21
Staff Editor

Dear readers, I invite you to take a moment from your busy day procrastinating from your increasingly pressing responsibilities to indulge in a meditative exercise. Clear your mind. Continue to breathe as you have been since birth. Picture a white space. Imagine in that space a clear cup before you, bobbing in the friendly manner that cups do. We’re going to fill the bottom-third of that cup with delicious, chewy tapioca pearls. (What’s a tapioca pearl? It’s a piece of happiness you can eat.) Next, we’ll add some ice, clink, clink, and your favorite tea. Add to that a bit of milk and honey, and we’ve got some bubble tea!

Two sweet, enticing glasses of Kung Fu Tea’s bubble tea. Photo courtesy Kung Fu Tea.

Two sweet, enticing glasses of Kung Fu Tea’s bubble tea. Photo courtesy Kung Fu Tea.

Bubble tea, boba tea, or 珍珠奶茶, is a popular tea-based drink, which originated in Taiwan during the 1980s. Over the past ten years, the popularity of this tasty beverage has skyrocketed and bubble tea shops have spread out from the island of Taiwan across the world. Bubble tea can be easily recognized by its distinctive tapioca balls, which rest gently at the bottom of the drink like friendly black pearls. Drinks can be grouped into three broad categories: (1) Classic tea-based flavors, such as jasmine, green, or black tea; (2) Flavored teas, which range from familiar (strawberry, mango, grape, etc.) to slightly more adventurous (lychee, guava, taro); and (3), slushie/smoothie blends, which are thicker and include flavors like Oreo, chocolate, and mocha. Aside from tapioca, other popular toppings include pudding, aloe, jelly, and red bean.  

There are two competing theories about the origin of the name “bubble tea.” The first theory is that the name refers to the tiny air-bubbles that form when the drink is shaken to mix its contents. The other theory is that “bubble” refers to the tapioca pearls at the bottom of the container.

In Taiwan, there is a bubble tea shop around every street corner. Here in Charlottesville, we’ve worked hard to find a couple of places where you can get your bubble-tea fix when the mood strikes. Remember, when the gunning gets tough, the tough get bubble tea.


Kung Fu Tea

1001 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Pros: Kung Fu Tea is the place to go for bubble tea! This franchise started in New York and has not lost traction as it expanded southward. With an incredible selection of flavors and toppings, this shop is your one-stop pick-me-up for that midweek hump. Not only can you select your own toppings, you can also adjust the ice and sugar levels in your drink to your own liking. The inside of the shop is trendy and inviting, featuring comfy sofas and board games for use. It’s a great place to go with friends and play a game of Taboo or Codename. Kung Fu Tea also has an app, which you can scan when you check out for special promotions and free drinks. The sheer array of drink options can be overwhelming, but you can’t go wrong with the basics like Kung Fu Milk Tea, or anything off of their Top 10 Drinks Menu.

Cons: Since this shop specializes in bubble tea, there isn’t a large selection of food options. The limited menu, which includes pork buns, shumai, and potstickers, is reasonably priced and pretty good. Although Kung Fu Tea is available for Grubhub delivery, they do occasionally mix up an order, which can be really disappointing at 10 p.m.


Got Dumplings?

1395 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Pros: Got Dumplings? sells dumplings, ramen, and other drool-worthy Asian snacks. This means that with just one trip inside, you can get a meal and bubble tea. The tea menu is extensive and contains traditional milk teas, fruit teas, and slushies. The bubble tea comes only in large, which means you don’t need to feel guilty about getting the bigger size. The flavor of the tea also tends to be milder, which may be good for a first time bubble-tea drinker.

Cons: The store is located on The Corner, which makes parking difficult. There is a parking garage on Wertland Street off of 14th Street NW. Got Dumplings? is on the small side and gets busy during lunch. Additionally, the quality of your drink depends on who makes it, so consistency leaves something to be desired. Overall, Got Dumplings? Is an amazing place for dumplings and noodles, but we’d recommend elsewhere if you’re looking specifically for a good cup of tea.

Mezeh vs Cava: The Great Debate

Jill Rubinger ‘19
Mezeh Enthusiast

Nick Prukop ‘19
Cava Enthusiast

For Mezeh

It is among the classic Law School debates: old ScoCo food or new ScoCo food? Risa or Leslie? Chex Mix or Goldfish in the snack office? Cava or Mezeh? This may be an unpopular opinion now that Cava has made its Charlottesville debut, but I am fully Team Mezeh. In the world of fast, casual Mediterranean fare, Mezeh gets it right. Because it is located in Stonefield shopping center, I love to get Mezeh before making a trip to Trader Joe’s. (Pro tip: Go to Mezeh before so you don’t overspend on weekly grocery shopping.) The Mezeh menu is simple, but that’s because they don’t need to get too fancy with the offerings for the food to be delicious. The line is sometimes almost out the door (hint hint: it’s popular), but the staff is a well-oiled machine that gets you your food in a timely fashion.

What’s on the menu, you ask? First, you can choose from a bowl, a pita pocket, or a wrap. I usually choose a bowl. I get half greens and half grains. Although you can get this at Cava, I find the greens at Mezeh to be fresher—in fact, I find the ingredients at Mezeh to be fresher generally. Next, you choose your protein. The seasoning on both the chicken and falafel tastes like it came from the outdoor markets in Israel. After choosing a protein, you get your unlimited choice of toppings. Here’s a quick rundown: The couscous is the perfect texture, the Turkish salad is a fresh combination of tomatoes and cucumbers, and the spicy feta dip adds a fantastic kick. You get your pick of multiple hummus flavors—OG hummus, cilantro, and spicy. There is one ingredient in particular that makes Mezeh the ultimate Mediterranean dining spot: the eggplant. It is delicious. The restaurant slices eggplant and bakes it to perfect caramelized perfection. They’re always pulling another batch out of the oven because it is such a crowd pleaser. It’s crisp but not too crisp and kind of sweet. Seriously, I could write this entire article about it, but I will refrain. After I ask for extra eggplant, I top off my bowl with sauces. Depending on how much of a kick I want, I either ask for Tzatziki or Harissa sauce—sometimes I get both if I’m feeling crazy. At the end of the ordering process, the magician who has put together your Mediterranean feast will ask you if you want some pita. You should absolutely answer “yes.” Now you’re ready to eat a fantastic meal from the far superior Mezeh.

I would like to admit to some personal reasons why I am not Cava’s biggest fan. First off, I hate bell peppers. So many things on the Cava menu have peppers in them that it keeps me away from a lot of toppings I may otherwise be into. Also, two times I ordered Cava on the app. And two times it was not ready when I got there. So that was kind of annoying. The parking is garbage and it is very difficult to get into the lot. For such a close a proximity to Barracks, it is incredibly difficult to get to. 

I know that my Cava-loving counterpart will sing the restaurant’s praises about proximity to his Pavilion apartment, but really he just likes to be able to get back to play another game of Fortnite. Such dedication to his PlayStation may be clouding his judgment and taste bud accuracy. All of this to say: Mezeh forever.


 For Cava

Cava is amazing.  Cava improves quality of life.  Cava is better than Mezeh.

Cava is short for California-Virginia, as its name pays homage to the two states that I have called home, an exceptional combination and sound business decision. Although far from the wonders of the Mediterranean Sea, Cava allows each of us to enjoy the rich flavors of its exquisite cuisine right here in C’ville, just minutes from school.

It all starts with its extremely convenient location just across Emmet street from the Barracks Road Shopping Center in a brand-new building complex, a huge upgrade from the abandoned field that occupied the area for the last two years. Immediately upon entering the finest fast-casual restaurant Charlottesville has to offer, the guest is welcomed with a wonderful aroma full of Mediterranean spices and warm pita bread. As you then walk through the tastefully decorated space and up to the counter, you are graciously greeted by the kind, talented Cava-ians, or as I like to call them, friends. These amazing people are with you every step of the way as you must make some tough choices on your journey to the perfect bowl, but their charm and generosity quickly erase any and all stress you might be carrying from Slaughter Hall. These people exemplify the significance of choosing such a quality establishment when it’s time to eat, but what sets Cava apart from its fake, lackluster competitors is the food.

After you have decided if the day calls for greens or grains as the base of your meal, you are blessed with the option of picking three different dips or spreads to begin the flavor explosion in what once was just an ordinary bowl made entirely from recycled material. Experimenting is key here as each choice has the potential to change the way you look at your sad homemade salads moving forward, and you cannot go wrong. You then select a protein to be heaped into the mix, and of course an endless supply of incredible toppings and dressings to finish it off. The Cava menu is always changing to match the flavors of the current szn, so go in today for a little taste of fall with their seasonal vegetables and red-pepper dressing.

Once you’ve finished coaching up your team of assembly-line workers and grabbed your free mini pita, whip out the Cava app to collect those points, thank your new homie for hooking you up with extra chicken, and go have a great rest of your day.  More Cava = More life.


Hidden Gems: Four Underappreciated Charlottesville Restaurants Reviewed

Winnie McBride ‘21
Guest Reviewer

Daniel Grill ‘21
Staff Writer

From Mas to Marco and Luca’s, we are lucky to have an eclectic food scene in Charlottesville. In fact, Charlottesville has far more to offer than many realize. Just a short drive from familiar restaurants on The Corner and the Downtown Mall are hidden gems such as Greenwood Grocery, Riverside Lunch, Doctor Ho’s Humble Pie, and La Flor Michoacana. These restaurants all boast the best of what Charlottesville has to offer: great food in a unique environment.  


Greenwood Grocery: Greenwood Grocery is an artisanal grocery store filled with local goods such as honey and meats. It has an amazing and eclectic selection of beers and wines. However, Greenwood Grocery is better known for their fresh and reimagined takes on basic sandwiches. 

We tried three different sandwiches and could not get enough. Winnie raved about the “Blue Slate,” calling it the most perfect turkey sandwich she has ever eaten. Daniel ate the “Landrance” and dreamt about it for a few days after. He is not usually a fan of tomatoes, but he loved the sun-dried tomato spread, delicate prosciutto, and light fresh mozzarella. Tom ordered the “Devon” and found the roast beef as fresh as the mountain air outside.  

Twenty minutes from the Law School and nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge, Greenwood Grocery is a hidden gem. Be warned though, as this artisanal grocery store (literally built on the foundation of a roadside fruit stand) is easily miss-able when you are on the road to the nearby Crozet wineries and Skyline Drive.  


Riverside Lunch: One word: BURGERS. It didn’t take long for our waitress to recommend the most popular item on the menu, and it did not disappoint. The double cheeseburger was very filling and delicious. The chef flattened the patties, a signature of Riverside, which added great “caramelization” to the burger. This burger is my favorite among Citizen Burger and Jack Brown’s Burger Joint. We also shared a basket of fries, which was more than enough for the three of us. The fries were solid. They were thin and crunchy, similar to fries you might get from a fast food restaurant.  

A homestyle burger from Riverside Lunch. Photo courtesy Riverside Lunch.

A homestyle burger from Riverside Lunch. Photo courtesy Riverside Lunch.

In addition to the food, Riverside Lunch has a pleasant diner atmosphere. The waitresses were happy to chat with us, and it seemed like every other patron had eaten there many times before. Even the tables scream local Charlottesville as they are covered with ads for nearby stores, many of which likely closed years ago.  

This was also the most affordable restaurant we tried. The most expensive item on the menu was $9.50, and most dishes were in the $4.00-$6.00 range. Riverside also sells beer for $3.00. Riverside is a must-try restaurant for anyone looking for a great diner style meal with local flavor. 


Doctor Ho’s Humble Pie: Doctor Ho’s Humble Pie: The Alternative Pizza is an unassuming restaurant located next to a gas station across the street from Pippin Hill Vineyard. Aside from the smell of freshly-baked pizza, the restaurant’s decor is the first thing we noticed when we entered. The dining room is adorned with old-school Americana signs and Grateful Dead memorabilia.  

The authors’ half/half Annie Oakley / Humble Pie at Dr. Ho’s.

The authors’ half/half Annie Oakley / Humble Pie at Dr. Ho’s.

The food was excellent as well. We enjoyed our Annie Oakley and Humble Pie specialty pizzas. The pizzas served at Dr. Ho’s are classic pizza, more similar to the style served at Christian’s (although much better) than they are to the thin crust style served at Lampo. They also have a wide variety of excellent appetizers, like wings. Dr. Ho’s is a great pizza spot, especially if you’re planning to eat before going to Pippin Hill or to sneak more substantial food into the vineyard known for its paltry food options.  


La Flor Michoacana: La Flor Michoacana is primarily a popsicle and ice cream shop, but they also sell Mexican food, candy, and snacks. We recommend the popsicles as they offer much more than your standard popsicle. Between the three of us, we tried the mango chile, strawberry and Oreo popsicles. The mango chile popsicle had tons of real mango in it, but beware; it was spicy. The strawberry popsicle was a true light delight filled with real strawberries. The Oreo popsicle was a traditional vanilla popsicle with two full Oreos and smaller Oreo pieces. Whether you prefer fruit or an ice cream popsicle, La Flor Michoacana is a delicious and fun way to cap off a great meal. 

We truly enjoyed exploring these restaurants in and around Charlottesville. Each brought unique flavors and vibes that we can’t wait to experience again. We hope that you will take the opportunity to try one of these restaurants. You won’t be disappointed! 

[L]elp! The Law Weekly Reviews Charlottesville Asian Eateries

Grace Tang ‘21
Staff Writer

Christina Luk ‘21
Staff Writer

Bang! - Asian Tapas 

213 2nd St. SW, Charlottesville, Va. 


Grace: I am biased toward Bang! since the restaurant offers two of my favorite things: tapas and staple Asian classics with a twist. The restaurant is conveniently located a few blocks from the Downtown Mall, and has the perfect atmosphere for a date or night out with friends. I visited Bang! for dinner and I was struck by the beautiful lights strung outside the cheerful two-story brick building. The service was fantastic, especially as the waiters knew their menu very well and gave great drink suggestions from their extensive list. My top choices include: scallops, any steamed buns, and tuna poke. Bonus points for the delicious variety of vegan and vegetarian options available. Rating: 4.2/5 


Christina: Bang! It’s trendy, it’s fun, it’s pretty much everything you expect from a restaurant with an exclamation point in its name. The small plates are a little pricey for my taste, but they taste. So. Good. And remember to order a classy cocktail to add to the atmosphere. Everyone at your table will thank you. This is a very good place to bring your friends or a date, maybe even back-to-back the same week because you can’t believe how tasty everything is. I recommend the Tuna Poke, Chickpea Spring Rolls, and seasonal Rockfish. Rating: 4.0/5 


Sushi King – All-You-Can-Eat Sushi 

2849, 171 Seminole Ct, Charlottesville, Va. 


Grace: VALUE and VARIETY are the two things that come to mind when I think of Sushi King. When a friend first informed me of $13 all-you-can-eat sushi in Charlottesville, I was very cautious. However, I was pleasantly blown away by how good the sushi was. Pro Tip: Order a bunch of rolls and ask for all of your sushi in a boatwith dry ice if you want to be extra fancy. TRUST ME, your Instagram and Snapchat will thank you later. Additionally, there is a self-serve appetizer and dessert bar to indulge in. My personal favorites include: Dragon Roll, Volcano Roll, and Steak Hibachi. Rating: 4.0/5 


Christina: There are days when you want something nice, and there are days when only sheer quantity will fill the void inside. For the latter, I recommend Sushi King. For the round number of $12.99, you can run the gambit of culinary delight. Get the spring rolls, get the shrimp tempura, get the fried rice, hibachi steak, and miso soup. Get all the sushi you want and then turn the menu over and get all the rolls. How many rolls, you wonder? Thirty, dear reader. One for each cold October day as we inch inexorably closer to the PILA auction and the beginning of the end. When you go, remember me, and order the Sea Angel Roll. Rating: 5/5 


Tara Thai and Silk Thai: The Thai-Thai Grudge Match 

Silk Thai: 2210 Fontaine Ave, Charlottesville, Va.  

Tara Thai: 1107 Emmet St. N, Charlottesville, Va. 


Grace: Silk Thai is phenomenal. A friend recommended the location for dinner after the OVaL hike last Friday, and it was a surprise gem. The restaurant is tucked away in a corner, and the inside is decorated with a funky assortment of art. As soon as we entered, the smell of delicious goodness hit us like a brick wall. I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the particularly good options include: soup (Tom Yum and Tom Ka), drunken noodles, crispy duck, and pineapple fried rice (that comes in a real pineapple). The value-to-price ratio is incredible since every dish is enough for two or three meals, so you can enjoy your food for meals to come. Rating: 4.5/5 

Christina: For those of you who have been looking for the perfect Thai restaurant to stress-eat your heart out, look no further than Barracks Road, because Tara Thai is the place for you! It’s close to school, decently priced, and generously portioned. Nothing strongly stood out when I walked in, but trust me when I say that the food here is delicious. I strongly recommend ordering the panang curry and your drink of choice while you settle in to professor-watch. I have it on good authority that this is the favorite haunt of Professors Bowers and Barzun. Do you have a particularly good question about legal history or theory? Keep it to yourself and take another bite of curry. Rating 4.5/5 

Crazy Rich Asians: Mixed Messages about Asian

Eric Hall ‘18
Editor Emeritus, Sr.

Barely ten minutes into watching Crazy Rich Asians, I caught myself tearing up. In the film’s prologue, a racist hotel manager dismisses Eleanor Sung-Young (played by the peerless Michelle Yeoh) and her bedraggled family. “Perhaps some place in Chinatown?” he suggests. Sung-Young’s wrath is swift and satisfying—she buys the luxury hotel outright and shows him the door.  Sitting next to my own Chinese mom in the theatre, I thought back to the times an airline employee or a repairman had dismissed her, and how she had fiercely made them regret it. Crazy Rich Asians is a breakthrough. I loved it for so many reasons. Its depiction of pride and expectation in Asian mother–son relationships felt familiar. The disapproving but envious treatment of ABCs (American-Born Chinese) was gut-wrenchingly accurate. Setting aside the “Crazy Rich” part, so many of the film’s most powerful moments could have happened in my own life. I never imagined scenes like these would play at my local Regal Cineplex. Asian journalists have praised the film’s victories—and fairly so: representation matters. But if Hollywood is going to make more movies with all-Asian cast (and I sincerely hope they do), we need to talk about this one’s shortcomings. As a mixed-race, half-white, half-Chinese male, I think casting Henry Golding in this role was a mistake.

Western culture has long emasculated Asian men. In movies and TV, they are depicted as awkward, and devoid of any sex appeal. Think of how rarely you see a movie that features an Asian guy who isn’t a martial arts master, a nerd, or the butt of a penis joke. My heroes growing up were Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Sam Neill, men who saved the day and got the girl but looked nothing like me (and even less like my Asian relatives). They starred in movies in which Asian men played the conniving villain, or the ethically bankrupt geneticist.  These depictions of desirable White men juxtaposed with undesirable Asian men seep into real life. They erode the confidence of Asian young men. They implant the idea that Whiteness—and only Whiteness—is masculine. As a teenager, I was certain my lot was to be brainy and behind the scenes. Talking to girls was unthinkable because I believed I was deeply undateable. That view is apparently widespread. In his book Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity, founder of OKCupid Christian Rudder compiled data from three popular dating sites. In the tens of thousands of anonymous responses, he found that women were 26 to 35 percent less likely to rate Asian males attractive. Asian females, by comparison, were actually more likely to be rated attractive than average. As Eddie Huang, writer of the ABC series Fresh Off the Boat, has written, “Asian men are told that they simply don't possess the ingredients to be considered masculine or attractive.” While these depictions have subsided in recent years, no Asian has yet ascended to leading man status. Those roles remain reserved for the chiseled White men I grew up watching. Where is our Asian Hugh Grant or Idris Elba? Where are the Asian actors notable not for their coding skills or karate chops but their sex appeal?

Here was the promise of Crazy Rich Asians: a movie with an Asian man worthy of desire. Finally, an idol to show young men with Asian heritage that they too deserve romance. Instead, we got Henry Golding; a message diluted by one-part Whiteness. To be sure, Golding was born in Malaysia to a Malaysian mother. He is a fine actor and excelled in the role. He was funny and charming, and looked great shirtless—prerequisites for any rom-com heartthrob. As a fellow Hapa male, of course I look forward to seeing him in more roles that might have gone to all White actors. More importantly, he depicted Asian-ness accurately. He spoke the language and smoothly respected his elders in a way that reflected his genuinely Asian upbringing. But my complaint isn’t with Golding’s cultural representation. My complaint is far more superficial. Cultural representation matters, yes. But so does physical representation. When minorities talk about representation in film or the White House or the Supreme Court, part of what we’re looking for is role models who look like us. Looks matter, especially in the romantic comedy genre where the themes only reach skin deep.

A week after watching Crazy Rich Asians, I saw BlacKkKlansman. One scene reenacts a striking speech from real-life activist Kwame Ture. He talks about growing up watching TV and rooting against the Black villains—the characters who shared his physical features. He describes his realization that Black men and women have to define for themselves what is beautiful, to “stop running away from being Black.” Those words, although directed at another people with a distinct experience, stirred a buried shame in me. For most of my life—and even in law school—I used my White half to escape my Chinese half. On my dating profile, when I had one, I described myself as only “vaguely Asian.” In college, I developed a canned response for the times someone would make an Asian dick joke and look to see if I was offended. I’d say, “Don’t worry, only my top half is Asian.” In middle school, when I moved to suburban Ohio, I let people believe I was Hawaiian so I wouldn’t be sorted with the Asian kids who played chess and joined math club. In elementary school, I tugged at the corners of my eyelids with everyone else chanting “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these!”

I am embarrassed that I acted this way, but—although it is no excuse—the Asian culture I grew up with never tried to correct me. On the contrary, much of Asian culture promotes Whiteness. Many K-Pop stars, for example, are distinctly “Hapa” or mixed race. My own mom had surgery to add folds to her eyelids. I’ve known many full-Asian friends who wear colored contacts to lighten their dark brown eyes, and get perms to tame their stiff black hair.

As much as my Asian family encouraged Whitewashing myself, my White friends let me get away with it. They laughed at my dick-joke rebuttal and peppered me with questions about which of my traits were White. I have memories from every stage of my life when a friend would mention a common stereotype about Asians, then seek to reassure me: “Oh, but I’m sure that doesn’t apply to you because you’re only half.” I dated girls who told me they would never date an Asian guy, but mercifully made an exception for me. It’s as if society carved out an exception for me because I am mixed with White. Again, the data plays this out. In the same analysis that found that Asian men are less likely to be rated attractive, Rudder found that men who check boxes for both Asian and White get a 32–48 percent boost over the average. As Rudder puts it, “When you add White, ratings go up, across the board.”

So what does casting Henry Golding do for the perception that Whiteness equals beauty? Absolutely nothing. If anything, his casting entrenches the status quo. Just as I have done my whole life, casting a mixed-race Asian man as a full Asian character gives the audience an excuse for his attractiveness. It lets them say, “Oh, but he’s just half.” Golding’s Whiteness allows the audience to reconcile its stereotypes about Asian men with what they’re seeing on screen. The implication is that he’s attractive and masculine because he is mixed with Whiteness. The message to young men watching is that a full-Asian male is not plausible—or, perhaps, palatable—as a sexy male lead.

After the movie came out but before I saw it, a family friend whom I consider especially woke commented that I might look good with a hairstyle like Henry Golding’s in the movie. When I finally saw it, I realized I could never have hair like that. I simply didn’t inherit that particular White gene. His hair is wavy and lays neatly on his head. Mine is distinctly Asian, bristly and usually cow-licked. I make a point of putting product in my hair daily to keep it under control. That comment stung where I didn’t have Whiteness to protect me. Here was supposed to be this modern symbol of Asian masculinity, and at least one of his attractive features has nothing to do with his Asian heritage. Which other parts of Henry Golding fit into the same mold that produced Zac Efron? George Clooney? Either Hemsworth?

I’m not the first person to grumble about Henry Golding’s halfness. When Entertainment Weekly asked him to respond, Golding said, “I was chosen because I came as close to the character as possible” Except that’s not true. Nick Young’s father and mother were Chinese, both in the book and the movie.“Where are the boundaries? Where are the lines drawn for saying that you cannot play this character because you’re not fully Asian?” Golding asked. His question was rhetorical but—at least for this movie—the answer is obvious: two Asian parents just like the character was written. If we want to stop running away from being Asian, we need to stop casting actors with distinctly White characteristics. Our eyes are slanted. Our hair is straight. We are Asian and beautiful.

The Daily Grind: MyLab Coffee Reviewed

Winnie McBride ‘19
Daniel Grill ‘19
Guest Reviewers

Whether you’re a 1L burning the midnight oil or a 3L trying to make it through your first class at noon, the coffee machines in MyLab are central to life at the Law School. This year, students were welcomed back to the library by two new coffee machines. The new Encore 29 machines offer a wider variety of coffee drinks, including cappuccinos and café lattes, than the old Keurig machines and have the added bonus of interactive screens. The new machines are also more environmentally friendly as they do not require the use of plastic K-cups (#savetheturtles). However, the ultimate measure of a coffee machine is the quality of its coffee and the time it takes to make each cup.

3L students, Daniel “What’s the Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino” Grill ’19 and Winnie “My Shenandoah Joe’s Order is Over $6” McBride’19, have provided a guide to the timing and flavor of the new coffee drinks.[1] Winnie is a renowned reviewer of coffee and all things luxury. Daniel, on the other hand, has a less discerning coffee palette. He does not mind the taste of K-Cups and typically drinks his coffee black.

The authors, pictured mid-tasting. On the left Daniel Grill on the right Winnie McBride (both ‘19).

The authors, pictured mid-tasting. On the left Daniel Grill on the right Winnie McBride (both ‘19).

1) House Blend (Time to prepare: 0:57): This was a decent dark roast coffee. Winnie detected a note of nail polish remover. It is not the best, but a good everyday coffee if you hate life and need something to get yourself through the day.

2) Major Dickason’s Blend (Time to prepare: 1:01): Winnie was quick to recognize a nutty flavor and thought it tasted similar to house blend. Daniel liked it but it was so hot he spit it out. He felt like the flavor was so strong it hit him across the face.

3) Segafredo Vivace (Time to prepare: 1:03): Daniel found the taste bitter and thin, but a less acidic aftertaste than other blends. Also, who is Segafredo Vivace?

4) 50/50 (Time to prepare: 0:59): This was the best of the straight-up coffees. It packed a punch despite being only half caffeinated.

5) Hot Chocolate (Time to prepare: 0:12): This was better than Swiss Miss hot chocolate. It was less sweet than expected and very tasty! We kept drinking the hot chocolate between the other drinks.

6) Mokachino (Time to prepare: 0:43): This drink was solid and we would recommend it if you like chocolate.

7) French Vanilla (Time to prepare: 0:41): THE RIGHT COFFEE MACHINE GAVE US HOT WATER INSTEAD OF FRENCH VANILLA! Once we got the drink from the left machine, it was a bit frothy and tasted like burnt sugar.

8) Vanilla Choco (Time to prepare: 0:59): VERY watered-down hot chocolate without the lasting taste of chocolate.

9) Vanilla Coffee (Time to prepare: 0:46): BEST COFFEE FLAVOR! We couldn’t really taste the artificial vanilla flavor. The drink was full-bodied without an after taste. A must try!

10) Vanilla Choco Coffee (Time to prepare: 0:44): This drink was unremarkable and forgettable.

11) Café Latte (Time to prepare: 0:48): Neither of us liked this drink. It was bitter with citrusy notes.

12) Cappuccino (Time to prepare: 0:44): This was an overall solid drink. It was kind of bitter, but good enough to take the place of purchasing a cappuccino from a café every once in a while.

13) Choco Latte (Time to prepare: 0:14): This drink was similar to hot chocolate, but less good.

14) Vanilla Choco Latte (Time to prepare: 0:14): This drink was gross and should be avoided. It tasted like melted Swiss Miss marshmallows.

15) Hot Water (Time to prepare: 0:09): There’s a reason this is the most popular drink on the machine. The water was hot.

In conclusion, the new machines make some coffee drinks very well, and some not so well. Our favorite was the Vanilla Coffee (not to be confused with the French Vanilla). We are a bit concerned with the time it takes to prepare each cup, as the traditional coffee blends take about one minute to brew. We will continue to monitor the line for the coffee machine as the semester continues and stay tuned for next week’s review: Left or Right: The Battle of the Coffee Machines.

[1] All coffees were 8 ounces and consumed black and at middle strength. Palette was cleansed in between drinks with Goldfish and Miss Vickie’s Salt and Vinny Chips.

Supplemental Reading

Madison Bush ’18
Guest Contributor

We all dread the search for the perfect supplement—whether fighting for the library reserve copy of a suggested text or hunting through the piles of hornbooks at the PILA Book Sale. Similarly, finding the perfect novel, while certainly more enjoyable, can be equally frustrating. Most law students love reading (or don’t and maybe should have thought the law school thing through a little better), but are too overcommitted and under-caffeinated to choose a book, much less read it. In this column, I’ll do the work for you, giving you that perfect title which will float around at the bottom of your to-read pile, waiting for the magical day when you find yourself with the elusive creature called free time. Reading this review is a short investment, which you can walk away from at the end (unlike your journal—good luck 1L’s).   

In a world of self-help books, hobby blogs and fake news, I am happy to see the growth of the online literary magazine.  The publishing world offers few paths for writers, and traditional publishing has killed as many careers as it creates. Meanwhile, the online self-publishing industry opened the floodgates for authors who could not get their work past the to-read pile of an editor’s desk. Of course, that is not always a good thing.  Editors are important and without them many works appear in an immature, unpolished form. Literary journals strike the happy medium between the stringent world of traditional publishing and the free-for-all of self-publishing—offering new writers and new editors room to grow. 

he Kava plant. Photo courtesy

he Kava plant.
Photo courtesy

Rumble Fish is a brand-new online literary magazine edited by Katie Sions, a University of Virginia graduate who puts her English degree to good use in this clever, curated collection of short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art.  The clean WordPress site—evergreen and cranberry, with a swampy cover photo—beckons visitors to enter a literary realm, one replete with (perhaps unintentionally) strong ties to Virginia.  The debut Winter 2017 Issue contains two poems, two short fictions and one non-fiction reflection, in addition to four black-and-white original drawings. The drawings complement the works, ranging from a cartoonish rat to an exercise in shading, followed by a pair of lovely cardinals and ending with a satellite tower, of all things. The Editor’s Note sets off the issue, an exuberant introduction disguised as a thoroughbred race (Editor’s Note, an actual horse, won the Belmont Stakes in 1996). 

The two short fictions are both contemporary pieces with the dark, pastoral flair of the Southern Gothic style of Faulkner and O’Connor. In “Routine Maintenance,” life, death, and rats intermingle.  Two men, Teddy and Isaiah, try to solve a rat problem they created in the first place. The delicate imagery of pet rats, rat poison, and a pregnant sister contribute to the reader’s unease, which carries the story through to a suitably uncertain end. “Appomattox, VA,” falls deeper into heavy themes, introducing us to a first-person narrator, “Winnie,” who spits and smokes and is “the meanest 19 year old” one will know. Readers familiar with old farmhouses and muddy creek beds will easily tromp along with Winnie and Andrew, all the way to a pair of hidden plastic chairs. Grief, growth, and poverty complete the portrait of life in one of the world’s small corners. 

Both poems complement the themes introduced by the short fictions. “Kava Kava” somehow manages to be insufferably hipster and wonderfully honest in fifteen short lines. Kava is a plant grown throughout the Pacific Islands, used traditionally by Pacific Ocean cultures for its medicinal properties. The poem captures the constant American hunt for new fads—a trend which creates cultural appropriation in its wake—while still celebrating the search for new experience. The Winter 2017 Issue ends with David Kunkel’s poem, “Dr. Frock Lectures a Company,” a thought experiment that overlays imagery with scientific formula, in a whimsical theory of grad student existence. 

Of all the pieces, however, I was most struck by B. Wilder’s “This is Me,” a non-fiction reflection on the struggles of living with bipolar disorder. “This is Me” takes the reader along with the author’s journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, traveling through Hawaii, South America, and Australia, on a series of backpacking adventures, misadventures, and workplace friendships. Some people in the author’s shoes may have been satisfied with learning to cope with bipolar disorder, but B. Wilder shows us how to thrive. 

Rumble Fish hits its mark with this debut issue. Like any first effort, there is room for improvement, from the overly metaphoric editor’s note to the scattered rhombuses filling the empty space. Despite a slight immaturity, however, the twenty-seven pages of the Winter Issue are amazingly balanced and coherent, carving out a place for young authors (with strong ties to Virginia) to celebrate and lament modern America through poetry, fiction, and artistic expression.  

You can find Rumble Fish here:


Finding the Best of the Worst Part 2: Rock the Kasbah

Nick Rutigliano ’18
Guest Columnist

I was having a very enjoyable Sunday. I spent most of the unseasonably idyllic seventy-degree afternoon with some good friends in Gordonsville, VA eating approximately ten pounds of barbecue at The Barbecue Exchange’s Seventh Annual Porkapolooza. I went bowling afterwards, and I even managed to roll better than my decidedly mediocre and inconsistent standard. I knew that I would have to sit through some pretty awful films during this little experiment of mine (reminder, I am only watching/reviewing movies on Netflix with a 20% or lower rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Regardless, I wanted to end this otherwise pleasant Sunday on a good note. This week, I really wanted to find a diamond in the rough. Rock the Kasbah (2015) seemed like it could have some potential, despite its 9% critic score. I also vaguely remembered seeing a preview for it at some point with Bill Murray singing “Smoke on the Water,” and that made me chuckle. With Murray as the lead actor and Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, and Danny McBride having prominent roles, I thought there was a decent chance that maybe – just maybe – the critics got this one wrong.

Bill Murray ‘s smug mug can’t salvage this rotten tomato. Photo

Bill Murray ‘s smug mug can’t salvage this rotten tomato.

Nope. The critics were right. This movie is terrible. 

Bill Murray plays Richie Lanz, an aging and failing music talent representative that lands an opportunity to take one of his singers, Ronnie (Deschanel), on a USO tour in Afghanistan. Ronnie is less than pleased with the plan. Shortly after arriving, Ronnie takes Richie’s money and passport and flees the country, and thus Deschanel is also to escape this movie early on. Richie then gets tangled up with international arms dealers (Scott Caan and Danny McBride) and agrees to help them out so he can get money and a passport. This leads him to discover that a young Pashtun girl in a village has a beautiful singing voice, and Richie then devotes his efforts and helping her win Afghan Star – Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. Oh, and along the way he meets a prostitute (Hudson) and mercenary (Willis) that both help and hurt his quest in various ways. 

If that summary made it seem like the movie was disjointed, well, it was. There were way too many moving parts, way too few laughs, and a futile attempt at sentimentality in the last half hour of the film. That being said, there were a few highlights. The soundtrack is great, despite not actually including the song “Rock the Casbah” or anything else by The Clash. Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and others provide a nice classic rock sampling, and renditions of their songs by Murray, Deschanel, and Leem Lubany were fun to hear. Speaking of Lubany, she turned in, by far, the strongest performance of the film. Lubany plays Salima Khan – the young girl attempting to break cultural and gender norms by appearing on Afghan Star. She was phenomenal, but was introduced far too late and not featured nearly enough. Her appearance on Afghan Star was ostensibly meant to be the focus of the plot, but the film meanders through strange subplots and side stories for the first half of film. As a result, Lubany’s character’s story feels like a rushed afterthought, despite it being the only captivating element. 

Ultimately, the lack of focus throughout the first half of the film is what does the film in. I just didn’t care about what was going on. Murray provides a characteristic deadpan performance that is sporadically effective for comedic effect, but also renders him a completely unsympathetic character. The guy is literally stranded in Afghanistan with no money or passport. He’s inexplicably apathetic through most of the weird developments prior to meeting Salima. It just wasn’t entertaining, and I found it incredibly difficult to pay attention. It might have been because I was still busy digesting all of that sweet, sweet barbecue from Porkopolooza, but I digress.

This film isn’t exciting enough to be an action movie and it isn’t funny enough to be a comedy. But worst of all, the actual portion of the plot dedicated to Salima and her attempt to win Afghan Star is too rushed and undeveloped to save the rest of the convoluted but uninteresting story. This isn’t like Yoga Hosers (my first reviewed film) where you could go in with low expectations and get some cheap laughs. All in all, not a great end to an otherwise great Sunday. That being said, nothing could have fully ruined the experience of Porkopolooza. Maybe I should have just written about that instead. 

Tomatometer: 9%
Audience Score: 28%
Nick Score: I guess I’ll just go with 9% as well. 

Nick can be reached at


Finding the Best of the Worst Part 1: Yoga Hosers

Nick Rutigliano '18
Guest Columnist

Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Smith, stars of Yoga HosersPhoto courtesy

Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Smith, stars of Yoga HosersPhoto courtesy

Each week I’ll be diving deep into the depths of Netflix and reviewing a movie that has a 20% or less rating on Rotten Tomatoes. To kick things off, I watched Yoga Hosers, a 2016 film that has already slipped into obscurity. This movie seemed like a natural place to start. The title itself is pretty ridiculous (“hoser” is a Canadian slang term that roughly means “loser” or “idiot”) and the premise is so nonsensical that it had to be that way by design. In a nutshell, two Canadian teenagers find themselves relying on their yoga training to defend themselves after the convenience store in which they both work is overtaken by genetically-engineered Nazi monsters made out of bratwurst. But, hey, I figured that this could be a Sharknado-type deal where the movie was so bad and ridiculous that it was kind of....good. 

But here’s the kicker – this is a Kevin Smith movie. Clerks is an all-time favorite, and if anyone can make a funny movie out of something absurd, Kevin Smith would be that guy. I mean, the guy basically made a name for himself by following exactly that model. And then I took a look at the cast. Johnny Depp, Justin Long, and Tony Hale (Buster from Arrested Development) have minor but visible roles in this movie. They essentially save the first half of the movie from being utterly unwatchable. Stan Lee also makes a cameo for some reason. So I fired up Netflix with a little bit of hope that Smith and a decent supporting cast could maybe salvage what should have been, by all other accounts, just an unadulterated disaster. 

There was really nothing redeeming in the first half of the movie. We meet Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), the aforementioned “yoga hosers.” They’re best friends and work together in the Eh-2-Zed convenience store in between their yoga sessions with Yogi Bayer (Justin Long). The first act really crawls along as we see how the Colleens navigate their high-school lives in Manitoba. The biggest problem was that I really couldn’t understand what this movie was “going for” for the first forty minutes or so. Obviously it was never meant to be a serious movie, but I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to get our laughs through jokes and situational humor (a la Clerks) or through Yoga Hosers functioning as a type of meta-satire. For instance, each actor’s Canadian “accent” is pretty much just their typical accents while throwing in “ah-boot” and “sore-ee.” I guess it could have been funny if they were meant to be that bad. But it wasn’t obvious that was the intention…or if the movie was just poorly acted. It all kind of missed the mark. 

Eventually Guy Lapointe (Johnny Deep) tells the girls about a mysterious death in town (I’ll spare the details), and from this point on the movie actually starts to border on being okay. Spoiler alert, I guess? The girls get called in to work at the convenience store, one thing leads to another, and soon they’re wielding hockey sticks and fighting off miniature cloned Nazi bratwurst monsters. At this point it was obvious enough that Smith was going for a “so bad it’s good” vibe. The combat scenes are ridiculous, the dialogue is contrived, the on-screen graphics and music get louder, but I found myself chuckling and even starting to enjoy myself. 

The movie is not laugh-out-loud funny at any point, and it still pales in comparison to Smith’s other work, but given my non-existent expectations literally as soon as I read the title, I’ll admit that it ended up being slightly better than expected. Harley Quinn Smith turns in a strong performance and has some decent comedic timing. Given that she’s only seventeen years old, she certainly seems to have a lot of potential for a promising career. Once the film stops trying to make jokes, and simply allows the audience to laugh at the film itself, it becomes much more effective. But the question then becomes, what was Kevin Smith’s purpose here? Clocking in at just over eighty minutes, and with the absolutely nonsensical plot, it never feels like a serious attempt to make a good movie. Two of the characters mention their disdain for “critics” of their work. Smith has had a contentious relationship with his critics at times throughout his career, and it seems likely that at least a portion of this film was directed to them. If he was intending to send them a message, it still seems unclear exactly what that message is. I just find it hard to believe that Smith would make what feels like a bad parody of his breakthrough hit Clerks without doing so deliberately.  

Final verdict: It’s a short movie and it isn’t good. That being said, if you’re looking for a Sharknado type experience and a few laughs, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half of your life. But if you enjoyed Clerks, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, this film will definitely have you wondering what’s up with Kevin Smith. 

Tomatometer: 20%
Audience Score: 39%
Nick Score: 30%

     See Hoser, Urban Dictionary (May 5, 2007), 
2     So, yeah, Johnny Deppís daughter and Kevin Smithís daughter are the two lead actresses. I donít think the film industry has nepotism laws. See, e.g., The Godfather Part III, (1990). 
3      We even get an "I'm not even supposed to be here today!" so that was a nice touch. 
4     In my COMPLETELY unqualified opinion. 

Performing Statistics Exhibit

Tex Pasley '17
Co-President, Va. Law in Prison Project

By now, I suspect that everyone at this Law School (who is either a user of the library or who likes their coffee free) has passed the art exhibit currently on display in Withers-Brown. If you have not already, I encourage you to read the text accompanying the exhibit and take a copy of the materials provided on the table to the left of the library entrance.

All the artwork in the exhibit is created by a group of incarcerated youth at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. Every year, the children visit Art 180—a Richmond non-profit—and work with artists to produce exhibitions that visualize their ideas for transforming the juvenile justice system. Under the name “Performing Statistics,” Art 180 works with the Legal Aid Justice Center to advocate for changes in juvenile justice policy here in Virginia. The current exhibit will run until Spring Break, and we hope to hold a reception with Performing Statistics in the last week of February, during the National Student Week Against Mass Incarceration (co-sponsored by the Virginia Law in Prison Project, and the UVa chapters of the National Lawyers’ Guild and Black Law Students Association).

I recognize some may object to the content and prominent location of the exhibit within the law school, and I encourage people to e-mail me at if they have questions or concerns. My hope is that the exhibit forces us to discuss the moral, political, and legal appropriateness of the choice to deprive a person—juvenile or adult—of her liberty. The process of legal education prepares us well for the objective, rigorous analysis lawyers need to advocate, but we sometimes need a reminder that the law is fundamentally an effort to protect human dignity. 

This show would not happen without the efforts of many people, and I would like to especially thank Kate Duvall in the student affairs office, Taylor Fitchett and Micheal Klepper in the Law Library, the staff at Performing Statistics, and the members of VLPP and CARE for their help in putting up the show.


K-Cup Compendium: The Definitive K-Cup Rankings

Nick Rutigliano '18
Guest Columnist

PILA is over and exam season will soon be upon us. This next month will leave the best of us weary and exhausted. For those of us that will be spending a significant portion of our waking hours in the library, the Keurig machines in MyLab offer sweet, sweet temporary reprieve. Free coffee in the library is one of the most appreciated perks of being a student here, and we have access to a nice variety of coffee at the press of a button. As part of this investigative piece, I took the time to sample them all and offer my thoughts on each blend. 

Disclaimer – any negative opinions expressed are purely out of jest. This author appreciates all of the fine coffees available to us here and would never mean to genuinely disparage them. Please don’t ever take the coffee away. 

Columbian Fair Trade Select

Described as “classically balanced with a ripe fruit finish,” this is actually a pretty good cup of coffee. It’s a nice medium roast, and true to its description, very balanced and smooth with a pleasant after taste. I’m really not sure what this “ripe fruit” is all about, but this cup finishes with a nice acidity that plays off the caramel notes up front. 

Dark Magic

As far as K-Cups go, this blend will actually deliver a somewhat complex flavor profile. Rich aromas of a heavy dark roast linger after the initial dark, cocoa flavors develop. Minimal acidity with some pleasing bitterness as the coffee finished. 

Newman’s Special Blend

This is good, it’s just not much to write home about. Or in this case, write in the Law Weekly about. If someone just wanted “a cup of coffee,” this is probably their best bet. The initial flavor is subtle and balanced and will not linger long on the palate. In my opinion, this K-Cup also probably has the highest quality grind and coffee beans, but I’m basing that on nothing but haphazard sampling and speculation. 

Sumatran Reserve Magic

Most pleasant and intriguing aroma, but somewhat disappointing flavor profile. As the coffee brews, sweet caramel and butterscotch notes emanate from the Keurig. Your mind starts to wander and your anticipation grows. I honestly can’t write a review for what the actual coffee tasted like because I forgot. It just tasted like coffee. I think. I don’t know. It wasn’t nearly as memorable as it smelled. I’m sure it was just fine.   

Breakfast Blend

The description on the box for this coffee is apt (“light roast”). Keurigs have a tendency to brew coffee lightly as is, and this roast is very light. Unfortunately, not “light” in the “bright and cheery start to your day!” kind of light–more like, “this kind of tastes like flavored water” light. Which is okay! Some people prefer that, I guess. It doesn’t taste bad by any stretch–it just doesn’t taste like much at all. But it still has caffeine so that is a good thing.

Italian Roast

Another apt description (“dark roast”) and the polar opposite of the Breakfast Blend. I’m a believer in dark roasts, but this is just a tad much. The flavor is very deep with a heavy roast that borders on being too harsh. The coffee finishes somewhat unpleasantly with a burnt taste. I’m also sure this isn’t a technically term (nor if it makes sense), but this coffee tastes gritty. Every sip is like the last sip of a French pressed coffee when you accidentally drink a bit of that sediment that sunk to the bottom. I felt like I needed to check my teeth after drinking.   

French Vanilla

Look, take my opinions on flavored coffees with a grain of salt because I’ve come across very few flavored coffees in my life that I’ve actually enjoyed. Most of them – like this particular flavor – simply overpower the coffee flavor. I take my coffee black for a reason – I want the coffee flavor to come through. The box’s reminder that this coffee is “artificially flavored” is unnecessary because you’ll know as soon as you take a sip. I wouldn’t drink this again because I really disliked the aftertaste. The coffee actually had a kind of nice, interesting taste at first – very sweet with some hints of vanilla. But, the “artificial-ness” asserts itself at the end and, literally, leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  

Pike Place

This coffee kind of smelled like something burning in the oven as it brewed. Maybe a burnt ham? Regardless, not the type of scent you want to prime your taste buds for a cup of coffee. With admittedly low expectations going in to the tasting, I was not pleasantly surprised by the flavor. The flavor was very assertive with an initial heavy, charred flavor that finished bitterly. 


I’ve never tasted a real hazelnut before, and I don’t really want to after drinking this coffee. I don’t understand why nut-flavored coffee is a thing. In my opinion, it is a very bad thing. 

Dishonorable mentions:

French Roast Decaf and Newman’s Special Decaf


Best of luck on exams everyone. May you stay alert, refreshed, and well-caffeinated. Stay tuned for K-Cups Ranking Part Deux, The Tea Edition, in 2017. 



1     I know I sound like a coffee snob. I tried my best to avoid doing so. It couldn't be done. 
2     Maybe. I'm much more of a coffee person.