Shiny black ducks bob in the placid water of Lake Austin, just above the dam that creates Lady Bird Lake (nee Town Lake) just below the immense concrete barrier. They dive underneath the water every few minutes or so, catching minnows while they wait patiently for a kind patron at Mozart's (3825 Lake Austin Blvd) to toss them the leftover crumbs of a bagel or slice of coffee cake.
From the sprawling wooden decks that overlook the lake, you can take in Austin's rolling hills, the far-off McMansions that have sprung up on the limestone bluffs, some very brave squirrels who will clamber onto your table in search of scraps and what is one of the city's most relaxing and scenic spots (at least since the original multi-tiered decks at The Oasis burned down and were haphazardly rebuilt into a horrifying tourist mecca). If the hustle and bustle of SXSW has you feeling stressed, Mozart's is the place to come unwind.
A quick drive down Cesar Chavez until it turns into Lake Austin Boulevard, then just a few blocks further west and you'll reach Oyster Landing, a collection of restaurants, cafes and a meditation center, with Mozart's square in the middle of it all. Parking can be difficult in the main lot, so just head up the hill opposite the lake and park your car there. At Mozart, which roasts its own beans on site every two days, your best bet is a cup of bottomless coffee for only $2.99 and a selection from its pastry case; the bakery is on site, as well. There's not much else to be found at Mozart's -- no paninis or beers or anything else to clutter up the simple aesthetic -- which is a good thing. They've been doing coffee right for 17 years (and pastries almost as well for eight years), so why mess with a good thing?
Thursday through Sunday evenings feature live music, so you won't escape the music scene entirely this week. But you're in Austin, after all -- why would you want to?
More pictures of Mozart's are after the jump.