Meeting the owners of Magnolia Cafe

It was my final SXSW panel. I had arrived early, and was sitting on my own. Suddenly, a lady moved into the row in front of me, and turned around. With a warm, happy smile, she said “Hi” and started sounded out some of her business ideas to me.
Being my usual curious self, I listened on and gave her my two cents’ worth, which she appreciated. We introduced ourselves and I learnt her name was Diane. After the panel ended, she offered me a lift back to my hotel, which I accepted as it was raining and I was tired and hungry. This is Texas, and I have long heard of the famous Southern Hospitality, so I had a feeling they weren’t planning to kidnap or murder me 😉
Diane mentioned her husband owned a couple of restaurants, so I asked her what they were called. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was Magnolia Cafe! I like that place. Mark and Kristen took me to the main branch last year, with Lucian, for breakfast and it was a good experience. We got into the car and I met her husband, Kent. I gushed about how this month I had Googled for good Austin restaurants and Magnolia Cafe’s name came up. They thanked me for my patronage.
Then I felt bad as I hadn’t visited Magnolia Cafe this time! I told them so. On the spur of the moment, they decided to take me to the South branch for dinner! This was wonderful. This afternoon I was still nursing a sore throat, a recurrent fever and acheing joints. I just wanted to get home sheltered from the rain, and put a hot meal in my belly. Who’d expect two strangers to do exactly this for me! We took a photo:
Me, Diane and Kent
We had a great conversation and I was impressed at how interested they were in learning new technologies and trends. I also answered their questions about Singapore. It appears that a lot of Americans agree with what we’re doing, despite us being a ‘fine’ city.
My experience at SXSW this year (not including the actual panels) has definitely been much happier. Knowing more locals in Austin this time has taken me to interesting places. Also, I was able to spend more time with Kristen and the bump, Mark, Katie, Rosie and Bonnie. The only thing I’d have done differently, is to have gotten more sleep every day so I wouldn’t have fallen ill. I dread the impending air travel starting tomorrow morning.
Technorati Tags: SXSW, SXSW Interactive, Magnolia Cafe


  1. ralph

    I can totally relate to your comment about this year being a happier experience because you knew more people. That made all the difference for me as well; last year was difficult, but this year was an absolute blast. My biggest regret this year centers around people I know but didn’t get to talk to enough, and you’re at the top of my list on that. I’m glad we ran in to each other and got to talk a little, but wish we had had more time. Ah well, next year for sure.

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