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Vienna Waits For Me

10:32 AM, Mar 18, 2012 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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Cafe Hawelka, Vienna
I'm currently on assignment for THE WEEKLY STANDARD in God-awful Vienna, Austria (just trying not to make my colleagues envious). It's been almost 20 years since I spent a year in the old city as a student, and it's fascinating seeing what has changed (I've already stumbled across two Starbucks) and what hasn't (the grocery stores are still closed on Sundays).

drink

But my assignment is also culinary in nature: I'm on a search for Tafelspitz—a boiled beef specialty that Emperor Franz Josef ate almost daily and one prime minister was in the middle of savoring when he was murdered in 1916.

My morning started with breakfast at Cafe Central, where Trotsky held forth (as well as Lenin, Theodore Herzl, and a certain failed Austrian artist). I'm currently getting a drink at Cafe Hawelka, Vienna's oldest operating cafe (the chairs and tables still date from 1906). It's quite charming, but don't go if you're parched. As I mentioned in this week's Casual and as proven by my photo, they just don't drink much in Europe.

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