What I Like About Austin

I Could Tell You… But It Would Take All Night Long

So, let me just tell you about today…

We get a late start this morning and as usual we begin another great day at Olivia and John’s place. This is the only pic I have of their house, the daffodils blooming under the front yard tree…

First order of the day is food, of course, so we hit the NeWorlDeli on Guadalupe Street in downtown Hyde Park.


This family business started with a couple who wanted to create a restaurant where their 2 young daughters could come to work with them and they would not have to rely on day care.

In the early days you would often see little Abigail taking a nap on the bread shelf while Claire glided around visiting customers on her red scooter.

When you enter NeWorlDeli you are greeted by the aromas of simmering sauces, homemade soups, and roasting meats wafting from the kitchen. This casual cafe caters to those who crave an old-fashioned  sandwich piled high with fresh deli meat, cheese, and all the trimmings. (neworldeli.com)

courtesy of Matt Guthrie

courtesy of Robert Malka

courtesy of Seth Johnson

courtesy of Madie Leon Riley

I don’t remember what everyone else orders, but Olivia and I have the tomato basil bisque soup… Sensationally sumptuous!

After picking up Hugo we hike along Shoal Creek, a stream and urban watershed flowing through the heart of the city. According to shoalcreekconservancy.org, a watershed is a geographic area within which all water drains to a common source. Any water that falls to the ground in the Shoal Creek Watershed eventually reaches Shoal Creek (if it doesn’t evaporate first)!


Shoal Creek is an 11-mile natural waterway in a 13 square mile watershed. The creek meanders through neighborhoods, skirts the campuses of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and Seton Hospital near 38th Street, borders the western edge of the University of Texas, travels through Pease Park, and ribbons through downtown Austin. The mouth of Shoal Creek, and the southern terminus of the trail, is located at Lady Bird Lake. Nearly 10 miles of trails and bikeways follow the creek from Highway 183 to Lady Bird Lake, providing a pathway for  cyclists, walkers, and runners. (shoalcreekconservancy.org)

Old oak trees line the trail and provide the perfect setting for photo ops…

And an occasional riparian plant with yellow berries…

Ball moss on oak trees…

Olivia, John, and Hugo check out this oak tree literally growing sideways…

Ah… Laurel Cherries pop with color…

This part of the trail is closed due to a landslide. Unfortunately people still hike through here, ignoring and disrespecting the closed trail signs.

Horse Tail plants?

A perfect spot for a picture of Jeff and me…

I think these trees are actually Live Oaks…

Hugo makes a friend…

Prickly Pear Cactus…

Spanish moss hangs like tinsel on oak trees…

Spanish moss and tangles of ball moss…

Mexican Buckeyes…

A memorial bench with a dedication plaque that will freak you out…

After food and a hike, you got it! It’s time for a short siesta before we start the evening.

First stop is BookPeople because, well our whole family is book people!

courtesy of Chih-Horng Kuo

Located in the heart of downtown at the corner of 6th and Lamar, this independent bookstore has been catering to the cravings of the bibliophiles of Austin since 1970. In 2005 BookPeople was voted Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly. (bookpeople.com)

courtesy of Sateesh Peddini

The children’s and young adult section of BookPeople is enormous, vibrant, and playful. Kids of all ages attend story times and book clubs. The bookstore also sponsors book fairs and author visits at local schools and hosts over 300 literary and author events a year.

courtesy of J LaCour

courtesy of Sateesh Peddini

And of course there’s a cafe called CoffeePeople serving warm and cold beverages, sandwiches, tamales, empanadas, breakfast tacos, pastries, and healthy snacks. It’s open 9AM-9PM 364 days a year, every day the store is open. BookPeople is closed Thanksgiving Day and may close early on some holidays. (bookpeople.com)

We all leave with some books we purchased! Book stores are so addictive!

Later, Olivia surprises me with a book she bought for me, one of her favorites…

It’s about Tara Westover, a girl born to survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho, so isolated from mainstream society that the first time she ever sets foot in a classroom is when she is 17 years-old. I look forward to reading this, Olivia, thank you! We’ll have a mini book club session and I will post more after I finish this memoir…

Happy Hour takes place at the Whole Foods Bar, a hop, skip, and a jump away from BookPeople.


We sit on high stools around a high circular table and sip on several glasses of:

We’re in the middle of a grocery store enjoying delicious selections of fermented grapes!

Before we leave, John and Olivia select 2 bottles of wine to take home with them. (Hmmmmm… just saying… for future reference and special occasions… worth remembering?)

Dinner tonight is at Black’s Barbecue on Guadalupe Street, located just north of the campus of the University of Texas, familiarly known as The Drag.


I have to confess that I took these photos the next day…

But here’s the nighttime ambiance…




According to the website, the Black family has been actively serving the barbecue community for over three generations, originally making a name for themselves at the Black’s BBQ family-owned restaurant in Lockhart, Texas.

The Guadalupe Street “Outpost” of the Original Black’s BBQ serves barbecue cooked fresh on the old Lockhart pits and hand delivered to the Austin location hot and fresh everyday.

Number of miles Austin is from Lockhart: 30

Number of hours Brisket is cooked: 14

Number of Sausage Rings made per week: 6,000

I don’t remember what we all eat, but it was delicious and we all leave with full and happy tummies.

What I like about Austin?

This is what I like most about Austin:

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