I wrote requesting some pointers a while back; now I'm in the city following up. So far, not so good.
Sunday night I ended up at Slanted Door (surprised, incidentally, at how early things close in downtown, and especially in the Ferry Building.) Great view, as I'm sure you all know, but I wasn't really wowed by the food. Seems like more of a place to go than a place to go and eat. But never mind -- the Vietnamese iced coffee would have been a good sweet iced coffee if they had left off the "Vietnamese" adjective. It was served in a pint glass (?!), was insufficiently sweet, insufficiently strong, and the coffee had no chickory. As I said, more like an iced coffee with cream and sugar.
Yesterday, based on Melanie Wong's banh mi opus, I went to Tu Kim for lunch (surprised at how quickly the, ahem, character of the neighborhood changes as walking up from Market). Place was empty of customers at 1:15, except for an older gentleman sleeping in a chair at the entrance. It was good that I read you could get coffee and a sandwich here, because there aren't any signs to that effect, no prices, no menu, nothing to indicate to a white boy that I could eat there. But friendly enough once I got past that. The (iced) coffee was better than Slanted Door's, but it was served in a paper take-out cup (?!), even though I was obviously sitting down to eat. The coffee again seemed not to have chickory, and -- while stronger than SD's -- was still not strong nor sweet enough. Don't know what brand of milk they use here, but I wish they hadn't pre-mixed it. Part of the joy of VN coffee is watching it drip and lie on top of the milk, then stirring up the milk, having some of it stick to the spoon, licking the spoon, etc. -- the whole ritualistic aspect. And really, it needs to be in a small glass so you can observe the process.
I'm here for another couple of days, so I welcome more suggestions, but I have no car, so don't recommend the suburbs.