Thursday night proved the start to my unusual 3-day weekend. First off, I’d like to just say thank you to Apple for saving me from being stuck in the rain with thousands of confused, scared, or unusually happy students pushing and shoving their way past each other to West Campus. Since I was more concerned with pre-ordering the iPhone 5 than showing up to my Logic TA session on time, I was still in the comforts of my own kitchen when the sirens went off. In fact, all of my roommates and I were in the kitchen when we received the urgent (and thus completely ungrammatical) text at 9:48 a.m., “Evacuate all buildings get as far away from the buildings as possible. Further information to come”
‘“Seriously, they forgot a comma after “buildings” and didn’t put a period at the end,”’ says my roommate Ronit (sorry, we’re Liberal Arts majors). It’s now 10:45 a.m., way past the suspenseful 90 minutes, and we’re in the clear. Now we can move on to the most important part of the day: breakfast. We shuffle past one another, opening and closing the refrigerator, cupboards and drawers, completely synchronized as we make a team effort to whip up some Huevos del Mexicana. An hour passes, and we were notified that all classes were canceled for the day. So what’s next? Even though we just ate an hour ago, a small part of eggs split between 4 people is not enough to hold us over for the day. “Dolce Vita anyone?” Ronit suggests. “HELL YES! VAMANOS!”, I scream with excitement. And we’re off.
A normally 5 minute drive takes 15 minutes, because the campus has emerged like angry ants that have had their ant pile just stepped on. Everyone makes their way to the drag for some grub. Clearly we’re not the only ones who turned to food as our extracurricular for our off day. Finally we pull up to the restaurant and it’s packed. Usually I can get a spot right out front, but today I’m street parkin’ it. My friends are all luckily dressed in proper rain boots and pants, while I foolishly threw on flip-flops and shorts before we left. Now my feet were soaked and cold, but I don’t care because I’m at my favorite restaurant in Austin.
Everything about this place puts me into a good mood. The rustic wooden ceiling encases bottles and bottles of wine, making you feel like you’ve just entered a beautifully ancient old wine cellar. A wine cellar, that is, fully loaded with a gelato display, the most hipster people in Austin you will ever meet working the register (minus us), and a homey menu that will guarantee to make you feel like you’re sitting in a café in Italy. “Crap what should I get??” I ask my friends. “I’m getting my usual,” proclaims Ronit. “I’m going to get the strawberry avocado salad, no wait the Greek wrap, no wait the tomato mozzarella sandwich!”—this is how it always plays out for me when I come here, complete utter excitement for all my food options. Of course I end up getting what I always get… the tomato, mozzarella sandwich. We grab our table numbers and find a spot outside. Immediately we spot fellow Plan II students—not a shocker. We’re not the only students who have found this secret treasure off of Duval Street.
So why is it that we all had the same idea? I mean we just got Friday off for an unexpected 3 day weekend and we all choose an activity we instinctively do every day. The answer: food is the one thing we all share in common. Whether there are differences in how you cook your food due to culture, nutrition, or dietary laws, it doesn’t matter in the end. We can all agree that the best way to come together and enjoy each other’s company is to either celebrate our own, unique creations or to taste the cuisine of other cultures. It allows us to sit back, focus on the present moment, and use all our senses—specifically our taste buds.