FOOD: Jacoby’s comforting spot above the Colorado River. The surprise view is sensational. The rushing Colorado River below Longhorn Dam. A green cliff leads to it. Diners at the new Jacoby’s on far East Cesar Chavez Street can drink in this vision after passing rustic patio tables laid out with country-influenced settings. Because of the elevation and shade, the spot was cool and refreshing on a late August afternoon. The food? Creative takes on comfort fare. This is the brainchild of Adam Jacoby, who grew up in West Texas ranch country, and Kris Swift, who has been working for years with East Austin artisans and included a super-cool take on a "mercantile" shop in this former electrical repair shop. Jacoby and Swift make quite a team. Jacoby’s opens up a whole new frontier for eastside dining.
BOOKS: Just finished John Gregory Dunne’s "Vegas." Dunne is perhaps best known these days as the late husband of Joan Didion, who wrote movingly of her mourning in "The Year of Magical Thinking." Yet Dunne was often the more respected writer early on in their careers and his subjects ranged across the contemporary map. Always intended to pick up one of his books and did so thanks to some gifts of CDs and books from the estate of late Austin journalist and friend John Bustin. "Vegas: A Memoir of a Dark Season" (1974) chronicles Dunne’s lowlife pastimes in 1970s Las Vegas. He manages some empathy for characters he obviously disdains. The territory here is familiar — prostitutes, detectives, comedians — but Dunne writes with a precision and style that makes one wonder why this wasn’t adapted into a movie. Or maybe it was. Now back to Karl Ove Knausgaard.
HISTORY: More than 100 Austin history stories are waiting for you here at this new digital page. Here’s a sample: "On April 22, 1915, it rained hard in Austin. Shoal Creek rose rapidly, as did Waller Creek. Then age 7, Mrs. Gladys McCarty Shearer lived at 610 Wood St. Now a small surface parking lot for the GSD&M offices on West Sixth Street, the property faces the southwestern banks of Shoal Creek. Seventy-four years after the devastating 1915 flood, the Austinite, who also wrote a book about life in the 1920s, put down memories of her family’s escape into the darkness. "The current was so swift, it was necessary to fight for every inch to keep us from being knocked down," reads her account, housed at the Austin History Center. "Added to this was the debris being washed down against us — all sorts of furniture, logs, animals, plus everything else of every kind and size but mostly large. We could see these coming by the angry, fantastic flashes of lightning on an otherwise very dark night." Just as harrowing as the sights were the sounds." http://shar.es/113Rlu
CITY: Apartments with moderate rents planned for Ben White area. From Shonda Novak’s story in the Statesman: "East Austin is in line for a $37.6 million apartment project that will have 250 units available at below-market rents to income-qualified tenants. Louisville-based LDG Development, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the city of Austin, plans to break ground soon on the project, which will be at 7000 Ben White Boulevard near Montopolis Drive. Called The Point at Ben White, the first units are expected to open in late 2015 with rents that are within reach of residents making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or $51,000 a year. Rents will range from $669 a month for a one-bedroom unit with 850 square feet; $802 for a two-bedroom with 1,072 square feet and $897 for a three-bedroom unit with 1,185 square feet. By comparison, comparable units at market rates would rent for a minimum of $900, $1,100 and $1,350, respectively." http://shar.es/113RsT