This podcast was partially inspired by Rachel and my love of coffee. And Vienna is world-famous for its coffee houses, where intellectuals gathered in the days before home central heating, to discuss the ideas of the day (and still do). While in the U.S., we tend to think of Viennese coffee as very specifically prepared with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon, there is a whole range of coffee drinks, from mokka to fiaker.
Some coffee houses also roast their own beans which are available for purchase. As for which coffee houses to visit, it seems that as soon as one place is recommended by a guidebook or Web site, another will disparage it as too touristy. So your best bet is probably just to ask around when you get there.
A lesser-known Viennese food tradition is the ice cream parlor. Vienna has the highest concentration of Italian ice cream parlors outside of Italy. Most are run by descendents of Italian immigrants from the 19th century and feature fresh, creamy ice cream made in small batches. Most are only open in the summer and the long lines attest to the popularity of this tasty custom
How to Get There: Several airlines service the Vienna-Schwechat Airport. From the U.S., Austrian Airlines offers a nonstop flight to Vienna from New York and Washington. If you're already in Europe, consider taking a train or driving there.
When to go: April to October is most popular, as well as mid-November to December for the Christmas Markets.
Upcoming events: Ball Season (New Year's Eve through late February)