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Posts from the ‘Coffeehouses’ Category


… occasionally people even drink a coffee in a coffeehouse, but that’s not the reason one goes there. –  H. Weigl, Austrian writer

Vienna and her coffeehouses are inseparable. At the turn of the century, Vienna boasted over 600 coffeehouses catering to every profession, social class, and mood. Then, as today, writers, business people, students, artists, intellectuals and international guests have come to treasu­re their time “alone in the company of others.” One Austrian poet in the early 1900s felt so at home in his Stammcafe that he used Café Central as his return address. You’ll find Herr Altenberg sitting there still, opinion-loaded and inspiration-ready at his Stammtisch directly inside the brass doors of the marble-pillared historical gem.


Große Brauner in Cafe Central

But perhaps you’d prefer something more 50s style like the favored café of Thomas Bernhard (Bräunerhof)? Or maybe you’d like to contemplate dreams and the subconscious along with the memory of Sigmund Freud (Café Landtmann)? Coffeehouses vary in atmosphere and offerings. Some will have chess, piano accompaniment, or singers, some not. But no matter what coffeehouse you choose, all of them will have great coffee.

You will be able to choose from a long list of cof­fees, and we’re not talking regular or vanilla-flavored. Your coffee will usually come served on a silver platter with a cup of water on the side and usually – though not always – the spoon delicately balanced atop the glass. Newspapers from around the world will be hanging on a newspaper rack, available for your perusal. In attempt to guarantee your time is undisturbed, the server will skillfully ignore you and refrain from slapping down your check until you kindly request he or she do so.


Einspanner in Cafe Museum

In today’s world of multitasking, need-it-yesterday, working-against-the-clock, don‘t you think you deserve some balm for the soul? Allow a black coat-and-tails waiter to serve up a Mélange and afford you a few glorious hours to sit back and smell the coffee.

Can’t go to the coffeehouse? Then bring a little coffeehouse home to you – Apple Strudel recipe:

Read More here:

This post gives a list of coffeehouses and quotes about coffeehouses from famous Austrians:




The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. – Albert Einstein

“Women know. Maybe they can’t read or write, but they know. Believe me. They know,” Vandana Shiva declared to a captivated audience of 100+ people of all ages and backgrounds jam-packed in a small room on the first floor of an old building in Vienna’s Währinger Strasse Saturday night. “Ten miles,” she continued. “That’s the distance a woman is willing to walk for water before the alarm bells sound and she acts.”

My mind reeled. Ten miles in the US is like hiking from Times Square, NYC to Jersey City, NJ. In Austria, that’s like going from St. Stephan’s Cathedral to Klosterneuburg. Now I will be the first to admit that if Stuart Freeman announced on the FM4 morning show that Mama Dip was firing up her down home southern cooking in Klosteneuburg, you best get outa my way, cause I will be bypassing dachshunds and Nordic walkers to scoot my hungry little self up the Danube faster than you can say with collard greens and slaw on the side. But if I were required to make that hike every day to fetch a life essential item like water, I’m sure my arms would start to resemble Donkey Kong’s in length, my face Waldorf’s in grimace and my attitude Garfield’s in work ethic.

But that wasn’t the point. The point was, at 10 km the women recognized something was seriously off and were no longer willing to complacently go along. In the case of water, women in a small village of India were forced to walk 5 miles twice a day to fetch water because their wells had dried up. An international soft drink company had been drawing up hundreds of thousands of liters every day from boreholes and wells depleting the town’s ground water. The women protested and were eventually successful. The license to the company was no longer renewed.

According to Vandana Shiva, those women, like all women, intuitively know how to provide for their loved ones in the best way possible. In many of the rural villages of India, she said, perhaps the women cannot read or write, but they are rich in knowledge of the land. They can identify which seeds will grow best during a dry year and which during a wet one. They can tell when it will rain and which patch of earth can be used for which plants at which time to yield the best bounty. Only when the natural instincts are called into question or over-ruled by so-called “Smart Solutions” by “Smart International Companies” does the natural balance tip. Farmers become dependent on genetically engineered seeds that do not grow easily in the earth at hand. This forces them to, in turn, purchase pesticides and fertilizers that go on to destroy the natural organisms that would be doing the same jobs with the use of the traditional seeds. The farmers then plummet themselves into debt to pay for these “progressive,” “smart” solutions. They find themselves and their communities entangled in a sticky web of dependency on international corporations selling patented seeds and cancer-inducing poisons.

During Vandana Shiva’s talk, I experienced a lot of Ah-ha moments. I admit, even during my undergrad studies of international relations, I had never quite warmed up to economic measurements such as GDP as the basis of gauging a nation’s economic health but I could never quite pin down why. Vandana Shiva could. GDP is about money being spent and products being made from other products. Therefore a completely self-sufficient community that produces and consumes its own food, for example, where no money is exchanged, would appear “poor” accordingly to the traditional economic measurement tools. She argued that the world needs new indicators for economy that will not measure money flow but rather well-being. Again, and again, Vandana Shiva challenged the status quo and proposed alternatives. “Let us start measuring the health per acre of farms; instead of the wealth per acre. Let us decentralize and built local food sheds, similar to local water sheds in order to feed communities locally in much the same way we provide drinking water. Nature shrinks as capital grows but capital can never grow large enough to replenish nature.”

‘Yes,’ I thought. ‘We know. We can. We will.’

Ah, the bliss and exhilaration that lingers when you have one of those rare encounters with someone who thinks, questions, challenges and acts. There’s nothing quite like it. If only it weren’t so short-lived.

Less than 24 hours later, I found myself in my beloved Café Bräunerhof. What should have been a relaxing Sunday afternoon listening to some live classical music, sipping an espresso, reading a newspaper, and basking in the intellectually stimulated aftermath of Vandana Shiva’s talk, instantly went up in a “Are you out of your fracking mind?!”

In big bold letters spanning the front page of the Friday’s edition of the Times of London was an article entitled: “Women don’t understand Fracking.” In it, a Professor Averil MacDonald, who also declined to report how much the shale gas company pays her, criticized women in Britain for, according to her, not being smart enough to support shale gas exploration (apparently only 31.5% are in favor of it in the UK). Prof. MacDonald accused her fellow British sisters of being “concerned because they don’t want to be taking something on trust” and “acting on their instinct to protect children from threats.” And indeed, I would presume, they probably are guilty as charged. But I don’t agree with Professor MacDonald that it’s because they “haven’t had very much in the way of science education.” I would even venture that it is probably also not because the resulting freak earthquakes have endangered the precision of the steady white lines of their French manicures. No, I would say, that the highly intelligent, obviously intuitive British women were simply trusting their instincts. And rightly so. Something that Vandana Shiva would applaud and Prof. MacDonald would be well-advised to do in the future.

Follow up – May 2016 – the women are uniting in battle! You go girls!

Read more on the topic in the Guardian:


Everything and More – the Kaffeesiederball 2015 in Vienna’s Imperial Palace

Because life is too short to wait around for good times to happen. You have to make them happen. – KC

Recently I received a document from – I loathe to admit this – a fellow American — addressed to me in Vienna, Italy. I understand that Vienna begins with a “V” as does “Venice.” And both cities have six letter names containing an “i,” an “e,” and an “n.” But Vienna is not Venice and Venice is not Vienna UNLESS, you were one of 6000 guests at the Kaffeesiederball at the imperial palace this past Friday night.

The theme of this year’s ball was “A Night in Venice.” Vienna’s Kaffeesieder have mastered the art of making a guest feel like royalty and their 58th ball in the imperial palace was no exception. Footmen donning red coats and white satin vests with gold buttons and trimming flanked the sides of the marbled grand staircase. All ladies ascending the red carpet to the ballrooms above were welcomed with a small gift resting on a silver platter — a brightly colored Carnival mask.

Footmen at Kaffeesiederball

Footmen on the grand staircase offering arriving ladies Carnival masks

The cakes designed by each of the various coffeehouses and raffled to guests featured designs such as the Rialto Bridge and gondolas. Your raffle ticket didn’t land you a Sacher Torte? No worries. Mine didn’t either but I did manage to score two bottles of champagne, a six pack of beer and a gift certificate to a coffeehouse. After all, every ticket wins. Over 11 bands and orchestras played in 7 different dance and ballrooms – to every kind of music from waltz, to polka to traditional Austrian folk songs to ABBA. Waltzing couples followed in the footsteps of the 88 white-gowned debutantes who opened the ball with their white-gloved partners in the grand ballroom. The DJ playing at the bottom of the Ambassador staircase had a great mix of music to get even the most rhythm challenged attendees jamming. Guests who preferred to rock a bit of the night away 60’s style could do so with the Bad Powells on the top floor. ABBA not your thing? The stair climb or elevator ride is still worth the effort to just hang out at the sky bar and enjoy the panoramic view of the palace dome and Rathaus at night. Hungry? There’s oysters flown in from France on the top floor, Würstel at the passage near the Ambassador Staircase, Gulasch and so much more at the bars across from the grand ballroom, Viennese winery food and song tucked away in the bottom floor of the palace near the Josefplatz entrance and Apfelstrüdel in the room across from the coat check. Tired? Grab a quick espresso in the Meinl coffeehouse near the entrance.

Chandeliers in Ballroom

Chandeliers in Ballroom

Feeling dizzy from the hunger strike you embarked on two days ago to squeeze into your one-size too small gown or feeling a blister sprouting from your too expensive, too tight, too high, sparkly new heels? No worries, one of the balls two tuxedoed emergency doctors can rush to your side and save the day. Your partner not dance-happy? One of the 25 available “Taxidancers” hired by the coffeehouse owners is sure to keep your restless feet waltzing for a Strauss tune or two.

At the end of the evening, at 3:30 in the morning, we decided to call it a night. As we exited the palace, charming ladies in ball gowns placed a Damenspende – a bag filled with gift certificates, marmalade, tea, Campari soda, a porcelain coffee cup, Niemetz Schwedenbomben  and other goodies into each of our hands. As we waited in the queue for a taxi, a white stretch limousine pulled up next us, tempting us to accept Café Landtmann’s generous free ride to breakfast in Sigmund Freud’s most beloved coffeehouse. I eyed my friend who gave an indecisive pause both of us reluctant to let the night (morning) draw to an end. But a gust of biting wind, her jet lag and my lack of sleep argued that it would be better to put our aching feet to bed.

Paris Trip Giveaway

Paris Trip Giveaway

This year, a friend from NYC, Monique Patterson, who is an executive editor at St. Martin’s Press, flew into town for the weekend so she could come along. I had gushed about the ball at a conference we met at last year. I told her I didn’t understand why more people didn’t come to Vienna to attend the balls because they are so much fun. I mean, how often does one get to play Cinderella for a night and attend a ball at an imperial palace? She agreed and not even a half a year later, I was standing at Vienna airport early Friday morning, waiting for her red-eye flight to arrive.

Ballroom with Live Jazz music

Ballroom with live Jazz music

Sometime in the midst of the evening, after more than one random handsome tuxedoed man had stopped her to compliment her on her gorgeous gown, and a camera crew interviewed her about her experience, as we were sipping our champagne and watching a group of ball-goers dress up with French props to compete to win a free trip to Paris, I asked, “Was it everything you imagined it to be?” She answered, “Everything. And so much more.”

More images from the 2015 Kaffeesiederball from the Kaffeesiederball website.

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Missed Kaffeesieder? Try another one. Here’s the 2015 Ball Calendar.

More blog posts on Vienna balls:

Balls 101:

Renting a Guy to Dance for the Night:

Balls and Sex – Dr. Ruth meets Emily Post:


Ultimate Vienna Wedding Locations for Oldtimers, Beer Lovers, Caffeine Addicts and just about Everyone Else

Vienna might not have drive-thru chapels with Elvis best men but it will soon have a soccer stadium complete with a chapel where soccer fans can tie the knot. Rapid not your team and turf green not your color? No worries. Vienna has a wedding avenue to satisfy even the most demanding Bridezillas and Groomrillas.

Check out the list below and see where you should go for your happily ever after.

NOTE: The Vienna City government publishes a list of okayed wedding locations and contact info on their website – check it for the most up-to-date info. Print This Post

Austrian Art Enthusiasts

Leopold Museum Museumsplatz 1 Miriam Wirges +43 1 525 70-1508

Beer Connoisseurs

Ottakringer Beer Delivery Truck

Ottakringer Beer Delivery Truck

Ottakring Brewery: Ottakringer Brauerei Ottakringer Platz 1 Magdalena Schuster +43 1 49 100-2412 magdalena.schuster@ottakringer.a

Book Lovers

Austrian National Library: Nationalbibliothek Josefsplatz 1 Mag Monika Prischl +43 1 534 10 262

Burgermeister Fans

Vienna City Hall – Rathaus Lichtenfelsgasse 2, Feststiege II, 1.Stock Kerstin Bürbaum +43 1 4000 34707

Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly House: Schmetterlingshaus im Burggarten, Burggarten im Palmenhaus/Schmetterlinghaus Mia Parmas und Sabine Wolfsbauer +43 1 533 85 70 info@schmetterlinghaus.a

Coffee Addicts and True Love

Coffee Addicts and True Love

Caffeine Addicts

Or Strudelists: Cafe “Landtmann” Universitätsring 4 Susanne Grasberger oder Christina Sammer +43 1 24 100-116 oder -115

Flower Power

Hirschstetten Flower Gardens: Blumengärten Hirschstetten Quadenstraße 15 Karin Wachet +43 676 8118 50 753

Green Thumbs

Green House of Schönbrunn Castle: Orangerie im Schloss Schönbrunn Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47 Barbara Strobl +43 1 812 50 04-181

Horse Lovers

Imperial Riding School Vienna Ungargasse 60 Julia Ninaus +43 1 711 75-8238

Spanish Riding School (Lippizaner) Spanische Hofreitschule, Michaelerplatz 1, Sandra Kirnberger, +43 1 533 90 32 19,


Prater Lusthaus

Prater Lusthaus


Belvedere Castle (home of Gustav Klimt’s der Kuss) Schloss Belvedere Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27 Gerald Gross +43 1 79 557-221

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

Klimt Villa, Feldmühlgasse 11, Mag. Baris Alakus, +43 1 236 3667,

Monet Motifs

Lusthaus Freudenau 254 Selma Kaltenbaek oder Dr. Helmut Rastl +43 1 728 95 65

Military Fans

Military History Museum: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Arsenal Objekt 1 Marion Unlaub +43 1 79 561 1060 230, +43 664 8876 3860

Oldtimer Tram - Bim

Oldtimer Tram – Bim


Oldtimer-Straßenbahn Otto-Wagner-Pavillon beim Karlsplatz Elisabeth Portele +43 1 786 03 03


And they lived happily ever after… Emperor Franz Josef and Sissi’s old summer castle: Schloss Schönbrunn Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47 Miriam Gruber (“the wedding planner”) +43 664 218 88 74

Schöne Blaue Donau

Don’t rock the boat…· Maga (FH) Doris Menzinger +43 1 588 80 – 442 E-Mail: DDSG Blue Danube

Soccer Fans

Allianz Stadium: (as of 2016) – esp for Rapid Soccer Club fans

DDSG Blue Danube

Star Gazers

Kuffner Observatory: Kuffner Sternwarte Johann-Staud-Straße 10 Mag Angelika Pointner +43 1 89 174 150-122

Burg Theater, Vienna

Burg Theater, Vienna

Theater Afficionados

Vienna Burg Theater - to play of not to play

Vienna Burg Theater – to play or not to play

Burgtheater (Rest. Vestibül) Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 2 Veronika Doppler und Lin Wenni +43 1 532 49 99

Up in the Air 827 ft high

You spin me right round, baby, right round – Donau Tower – Donauturm Donauturmstraße 4 Nina Berger (“MAKE MY DAY”) +43 2236 38 29 29

Wine Lovers

Heuriger “Sissi Huber” Roterdstraße 5 Elisabeth Huber +43 1 485 81 80

Das Schreiberhaus Rathstraße 54 Stephanie Huber +43 1 440 38 44

Heuriger “Wolff” Rathstraße 50, Christian Cerveny, Mag. Peter Wolff und Renate Wolff +43 1 440 37 27, +43 664 947 5050

Weingut Fuhrgassl-Huber Neustift am Walde 68 Theresa Huber +43 1 440 14 05

Wolffi’s Place

Music fans and Mozart Lovers: Mozarthaus Wien Domgasse 5 Christina Redl +43 1 512 17 91-70 Print This Post