Solstice arrives next week, marking the celestial start to summer and bringing with it the arrival of tourist season. Yes, that means that soon we'll be shepherding out-of-towners around the various
tourist traps sites. While certain activities confirm why we avoid particular parts of San Francisco, but others, like a ride on the Powell and Hyde cable car to the Buena Vista Cafe, remind us of the iconic features we love about the city.
The version of the Irish Coffee ($7.75, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, coffee, sugar, lightly whipped cream) served at the Buena Vista was developed by Jack Koeppler and Stanton Delaplane in 1952, reverse engineering a version that travel writer Delaplane had tasted in a bar at the Shannon Airport in Ireland. The pair are credited with bringing the drink to the United States and developing a special method for creating a dense, yet light froth of cream that rests on the sweetened, whiskey-laced coffee. Warming and soothing, rich and sweet, it's an uncommon cup of nectar.
In this coffee crazed city, the most amazing thing about the drink is the coffee used in the drink: weak, thin, and well, not great tasting on its own. Through some alchemy or effects of the whiskey or cream, the coffee gets bolstered to the point where it works perfectly, making it a classic for tourists and locals alike.
Buena Vista Cafe, 2765 Hyde (at Beach), 474-5044