Goodbye Nueva O.

My favorite breakfast taco place closed last week. It was called Nueva Onda and it was like an extended family. There was a wall of photos of Los Regulars and my daughter's picture was on the wall. I could call in my order and it would be sitting on my table waiting for me when I got there. During the last week, one of my compadres there, a long-time Soupie and the owner of Esther's Follies, asked me, "What are we going to do?" No easy answers there. In a town full of breakfast tacos, you would think that it wouldn't be hard to find an ample replacement. The Monday after they closed, I ran into another regular trying tacos at another place. I saw another regular driving down South First and I imagined he was having a hard time knowing where to go. The thought that you'll NEVER taste that taco and that salsa again is sort of hard. When I broke the news to Mia, it was a very touching moment. I said, "Mia, you know, Michael's Tacos (the owner's son is Michael) is going to close and we will not be able to go there anymore. We are going to go one more time." Her eyes welled up with tears and she literally stiffened her upper lip and suppressed the wave of emotion. I thought of all the bygone places in my mind, so indelibly etched. I thought of how permanent and formative childhood memories are, that this would be one of her memories, that it would form in some way what food means to her, what Austin means to her. My childhood pizza place is gone, and without doubt, your childhood pizza is the correct pizza. I'll never taste that pizza again. I wonder if this would be her childhood taco against which all other tacos would be compared. Her near tears touched me because they were about impermanence and I thought, "may this be your greatest loss." As the bygone downtown graffiti on the railroad bridge said, "Life Is Change. Be Flexible." There is really no greater truth. Life is change; permanence is the heart's peculiar folly.