SOC: The ATX Farewell Tour - Part III: Final Farewells

Andromeda Cv., Austin, That 
My last week in Austin was an amazing whirlwind of fun, exhaustion, and bittersweet moments. The previous posts have focused on what makes Austin Austin... that barely definable thing that makes this city weird, and on the Art of the city. This final post then, is about my last day and the people I was leaving behind. Enjoy.

Last Day / Mother's Day

My final day in Austin was Mother's Day. I had hoped for a peaceful jaunt about the city but, as always, the Universe had other plans. We had parted company with Jaya and were on our own for transportation. I had booked a reservation for a rental car, but the rental did not go through as planned, so we took a Car2Go instead. 


If you've never taken one of these, it is an interesting experience. They are not terribly comfortable, being SmartCars, but they are incredibly useful for a town like Austin, which has a large population of people who travel via bike, bus, and foot. 
Mom and I finally got underway for some "relaxing" nature time...of course, it was pretty hot. So the trek up to 360 point was a bit more taxing than either of us would have liked. But come on, that view:

Hwy 360 point overlook and Pennybacker Bridge

Mom & I on Mother's Day

Boats on the Colorado River

We hit up a couple more places, including Old Spicewood - known for its lovely, winding drive through forest and small waterfalls (I'll do a post on that another time) - as well as the Fo Guang Shan Xiang Yun Temple on Hwy 360. They ask that people do not take pictures inside the temple out of respect, but here are a few of the outside:

Lion outside temple

A (Not So) Quick Word About Food in Austin

For Mom's first night in Austin, we went to a restaurant called Kerbey Lane. This is the same restaurant I went to on my first day in Austin. It seems somehow fitting that we would go there (although it was a different location) on Mom's first night in Austin, and one of my last. There's a cyclical kind of poetry to it. 

Kerbey is one of many Austin institution, serving up a mishmash of pancake/waffle house fare and Austin-style TexMex with vegan sensibilities. It is so very Austin. I recommend the queso. Make it Kerbey Queso if you're brave.

In fact, food is a big part of Austin culture. I doubt you could visit each of the restaurants that are there, if you had an entire lifetime to do so. I'm sure some have tried. The restaurants are one of the things I have used to recommend Austin to people. If you like food, you could do worse. In addition to the aforementioned Tex-Mex (a staple of Texas; yes, it is totally different from Mexican food), Austin is known for eclectic little holes-in-the-wall, and creative cuisine that caters to everyone from vegans to people who love a gourmet PB & J.

Tex-Mex / Mexican

If you're looking for some good Tex-Mex, people will often recommend Trudy's, and I won't lie. They're good. But for my money, I prefer Jardin Corona. This more homestyle restaurant was on regular rotation during my days in Austin, first, as a place to get breakfast tacos, then, as I learned more of the cuisine and was sucked in by their killer margaritas (oh, my), I was hooked. I recommend the Pechuga Jardin and a top shelf frozen strawberry margarita (sugar rim, please). Then don't plan on doing anything useful for the rest of the day.

Speaking of being useless, my other favorite Tex-Mex / Mexican restaurant is Enchiladas y Mas. This place was the scene of many a margarita-precipitated crime against my body's constitution. My group of friends gathered there on Saturdays - also known as Fajiturdays - you can guess what we ate - and proceeded to have the best brunch ever. We got the Fajitas "for two", and no matter how many of us there were, we always seemed to have leftovers. Oh, and those margaritas...well, let's say that while we rarely got rip-roaring drunk at noon on Saturdays, our afternoons consisted of laying around one of our places, with full, happy bellies and very little functionality in our brains. After the first couple times, we didn't even try to schedule anything in the afternoons. I recommend this if you have someone who can drive for you.

Another surprising joy of Austin is some excellent Asian cuisine. Sure, you'll get better in other places, but who would think you could get good Asian food in Texas? Before I lived there, not me.


I ain't talkin' about no plastic-wrapped snack food, either. Ramen, when done right, is brilliant. There are two places I really love to go for ramen in Austin. The first is Michi Ramen up on Lamar. This place has an excellent broth that is served three ways (light, regular or stout), and they use pork for their meat, so beware if you can't do pork. They do, however, have a veggie option. The other choice for me is Ramen Tatsuya down in the 6th Street area, and that's where D, her husband, and I, took my mom. They use chicken for their meat, and offer up some other more interesting menu choices as well. Get it with the boiled egg...don't know what they use to boil it, don't care. Yum. We came out of there with such full bellies, that Mom was practically sick.

Other Asian Cuisine

Before Pho became a regular part of my diet, I didn't even know what it was. And, oh, how such a simple thing - noodles and meat in broth - can change everything. For my money, Pho Saigon is the place to be, though there are those who love Kim Phung, which is also good. For Thai food, I love Titaya's, they have several types of curry that are just heavenly.

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

The fact is you can find just about any kind of weird cuisine in Austin. They have entire cafes dedicated to cupcakes. There are food trucks all over town, doing the most interesting and experimental things to make your mouth water, and there are many different "genres". I'm sure I'll end up doing a "Top" post of my favorite places to eat at some point. If you're a fan of High Tea, check out the Steeping Room in the Domain. For the most decadently naughty ice cream you've ever tasted, check out Prohibition Creamery. They put alcohol in their ice cream.

And that's just unfair.

Rewind - The Farewell Party

We're going to back up about three weeks for a whole minute. The beginning of the end of this mad goodbye began with an actual farewell party thrown by my friend D (mentioned in the previous post). It was so sweet of her to open her home up not only to me but also to a host of strangers. We started in the park down by the river, and then moved festivities to her house, where there were wonderful things such as live music, a couple awesome DJs (including D's friend Matthew, and my bro, San Jaya Prime), bubbles (actual bubbles, not champagne), tasty treats, and wonderful people coming out (even some from out of town) to say goodbye. It's a cliche to say how blessed I feel to have these amazing people in my life, but there you are.

At the park before the party got started.
They were having the Dragon Boat Festival.

D & I about town. I love this amazing woman.

Love this pic of Kat n' I

Bubbles for cuties

Me trying to juggle

D broke out some art supplies so the kiddos wouldn't be bored.

BMFD chatting with the neighbor

Introducing our musicians

Jaya, Kat & I

Live Music in Austin? Never heard of it.

UT Peeps!

How'd I get so lucky to have such great people in my life?


Jimi over the guitar planter
As Mom & I returned from our Mother's Day outing, it hit me and D that this was it. I was going to be gone in the morning. We both wanted more time, but it just wasn't there. True to form, we had one of our amazing and beautiful talks, the kind only she and I have, and then we played some music, too, including one of the pieces we had done for a fellow employee's retirement party. Talk about bittersweet. Mom was there, also, and joined us for some of the chatting and music. It was pretty amazing, and Mom and I retired for the evening to prepare for the long move starting the next day.


There's no way I can adequately describe what 13 1/2 years in this city meant to me, all the things I learned, all that I experienced, and where I was going from here... But I love this shot, and it says enough:

Just breathe

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