It started with a failed New Orleans trip: the idea to explore East Austin as if we had a whole vacation-like, open-ended, relaxing day to do so.
We started at Jo's on South Congress with coffee outside around 10:45am. Gorgeous day. Who knew so many people would want their pictures taken there next to the wall of Guero's.
Yes, none of this is East Austin, but we had to hit Tesoros first for sugar skull molds for Día de los Muertos. No small molds. I refrain from purchasing hand-embroidered Peruvian throw pillows and some luscious colorful hand-tooled Paraguayan leather purses and wallets.
Then it was time for Eco-Wise, as I was thinking a validation stamp there would help with parking. I now have some new gloves and earth-friendly mosquito extermination things. I had to get the stamp at Vulcan Video. Where I purchased two bottled waters.
The loose plan was to then catch Rich Harney at Whip In, as I need to chat with him about a House Concert, but, in the end, the lure of a breakfast taco at one of Melissa's favorite places was just too strong. Whip In must wait.
Now we head to East Austin to find that food truck: Veracruz All Natural. Per usual when I go somewhere new (for me) with Melissa, I am wondering where this place has been all my life. The fish taco is the best I have ever had.
Fish tacos are so often so disappointing: the fish is not seasoned enough; the fish (usually tilapia) is frequently dried out. There also is usually very insufficient shredded cabbage and sauce to make it anything special. Not so here. It was a huge taco and dripping with juicy stuff and spicy sauce. Thus, there are no pictures.
Next, we make our way down the street, with the idea to check out Big Red Sun and a book store Melissa has been wanting to visit.
En route, there are many lovely things to enjoy. Like the Chucky piñata here as an option for your next birthday party.
Big Red Sun, we soon learn, is not open on Sundays. Or Saturdays. I lust over the large white planters anyway. We discuss who can make such a thing for me for under $50.
We continue, walking, until almost at I-35, and then there it is. A real live book store. Farewell Books.
I am agog. First at the styling of the place.
The display of all this vinyl (Nina Simone!) looks remarkably like an art installation I saw at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in April 2012.
Then I am agog at the books themselves.
Who on earth carries a library copy, you know, with that crinkly plastic cover, of a novel by Alain Robbe-Grillet?
"Curated" is too precious and overused a word these days perhaps, but these books. They are intensely curated for the selection and display here. My heart beats faster, and I cannot resist. There she is: Simone de Beauvoir, subject of my senior honors thesis in French. And there too, perfect counterpoint, is André Malraux (in English). Simone is/was a profoundly influential feminist philosopher. Malraux -- subject of my junior honors thesis in French (much of which was written in the library at the Centre Georges Pompidou in the 80s) -- is a well-known misogynist. Exquisite. I buy them both.
Time to stop and rest with coffee.
We have so much time after all before the 5:30pm movie at Violet Crown (a documentary).
Someone dressed very well for our East Austin afternoon. And it was not I.
The lush plantings in front of a building that used to be Big Red Sun (I think) beckons, and we leave to ogle those plants on the walk back to the car.
We also find a lovely slice of a chuck of a pecan tree with a striking grain. It is just sitting on the street, in a pile of old electronics and wires and cords, for the taking.
In our final moment on Cesar Chavez before turning toward the car, I learn that TACOS GRINGAS means tacos with lettuce and tomato.
It's now a good time to head to Violet Crown. That is, it is time to make sure there is time to have an adult beverage before the movie.
Violet Crown is now "super-sizing" the libations into special movie-length libations. For wine the super-size is a "double pour." I may have opted for that.
And so ended the 5- or 6-hour day of East Austin that started on South Congress and allowed us only to make about a 5-block stretch of Cesar Chavez. It ended with popcorn and red wine for Art and Craft. And plans for another East Austin day.
I'll wear better shoes next time.