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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No. 75: Macau Iced Coffee from Vega/Special Xtra

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Macau iced coffee, $3.50, pictured at Vega on Langton. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Macau iced coffee, $3.50, pictured at Vega on Langton.

SFoodie's countdown of the 92 best things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

click to enlarge sf_92.jpg

We love the cold-steeped, chicory-rounded New Orleans iced coffee that Blue Bottle's James Freeman bequeathed to John Quintos, after Quintos and business partner Kirk Harper launched SOMA's Cento and Vega at Langton kiosks (the only difference with Blue Bottle Quintos and Harper eschew sweetening). But Cento and Vega's Macau iced coffee is a proprietary work of local genius. The idea came from Harper, a San Francisco kid whose mom is Portuguese and Malaysian, originally from Macau. On family visits to the former Portuguese colony in South China, Harper tasted the local iced coffee (a cognate of Vietnam's cà phê sữa đá ) and loved it. "I decided to flip it a little," he says. At Vega, the barista scoops up a cup of ice, adds whole milk and a shot of organic simple syrup, then pours over a double shot of Blue Bottle espresso, depth-charge-style, its ripply fingers drifting gracefully to the bottom. It's refreshing enough for days when the temperature slips above 70, but with enough weight to insulate against foggy mornings on Folsom like a cardigan.

Vega at Langton: 1246 Folsom (at Eighth St.), 260-1262

Special Xtra: 46 Minna (at First St.)

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño

91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu

90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha

89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar

88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline

87: Outerlands' levain bread

86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt

85: Gyro King's spinach pie

84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi

83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu

82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tart

81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée

80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle

79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña

78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

77: Cheesecake from Zanze's

76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel

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