I've pretty well nailed down what I like for an everyday ride:
steel road bike with high road bars - great ride and three hand positions
down-tube shifters - less complicated and leaves room on the bars for light and bell
fenders - you're going have to ride in the rain or after the rain one of these days and who wants the dirty streak up your back
back rack with folding baskets - always there when you need them and no worries about pannier theft
heavy duty tires for dealing with the crap you find at the edge of the street by the sidewalk
A couple of other things:
I keep a tube, tools, rag, and lights in the water bottle (zip-tied to the cage to slow down thieves) plus a pump zip-tied under the back rack.
Reflective tape is good in the city - you want to be seen at night.
My pedals are dual-platform - sometimes I commute to work with this bike and like being clipped in. 222.jpg
I'm pretty well ready for anything when I'm tearing around downtown Toronto so, naturally, hardly anything ever happens.