FOOD: The air was like wine. Where were the human sacrifices, the strewn tributes to the weather gods? La Dolce Vita, the city’s ecstatic embrace of art, wine and cuisine, once again was blessed with ideal weather. Perhaps the gods are just happy with the new direction — and lots more money in the bank — for its beneficiary, the Contemporary Austin, the group’s fourth name in recent history. The people were lovely, the snacks savory and the drinks perfectly potable. This is a feel-good event that ranks with Ballet Austin’s Fete and Zach Theatre’s Red, Hot and Soul among the most beloved, big arts parties. (Thanks to the ballet’s Tim Dillon for the evening’s companionship.)

CITY: Parked above the park. The Caswell House, proudly perched high on a cliff above the Shoal Creek canyon at 15th Street and West Avenue , proved a perfect spot for a Pease Park Conservancy benefit. The group is raising several hundred thousand dollars to pay for a master plan for the historic park along the creek. Led by crusading retired lawyer Richard Craig, the group has already planted trees, cleared brush and restored meadows in the over-loved park. Their vision is far less ambitious than the Waller Creek Conservancy’s proposals, some of which looks like scenes from "Avatar" (in a good way). (Pease Park is far more of a neighborhood gem than a potential urban destination.)

HISTORY: No, not that stagecoach inn. Later today, I meet with Shirley Marquardt, active in preserving a stagecoach inn. Not the famous one in Salado that serves small-town comfort meals that once convinced drivers between Austin and points north to pause for a respite. No, this one is in Round Rock. This would be a stone building in the former town of Brushy, near the actual round rock in Brush Creek that was used as a marker on the Chisholm Trail. The area west of Interstate 35 is incompletely preserved and celebrated. (We’ll do what we can to change that.)

FOOD: Bufalina sets new bar for Neopolitan pizza in Austin. Reported by Matthew Odam in Friday’s Statesman: "When I heard Bufalina planned to open at 1519 E. Cesar Chavez St. about three months ago, I wondered what design ideas ownership had for the vacant, former auto shop I’d visited during the East Austin Studio Tour. The answer: Not much. And that’s a good thing. The Neapolitan pizza place lets its food make the biggest impression. Owner Steven Dilley installed some handsome wooden shelving and added a complementary bar and tables made of Texas walnut, but the walls remain a plaster patchwork, small pieces of art dotting them like during EAST. It’s a modest workman-like vibe that echoes the building’s history." http://shar.es/IoQF3(Chummy little place. Nice vibe.)

ARTS: Percent-for-art programs gaining steam at Texas university campuses. Reported by Reeve Hamilton in Texas Tribune: "Like giant Mardi Gras masks, four seven-foot-tall faces of woven bronze peer westward from a lawn outside Talkington Hall, a recently opened student residence building on the Lubbock campus of Texas Tech University. They are the work of Michael Stutz, a California-based sculptor who installed the $350,000 "Four Faces" earlier this month. "To me, they are a celebration of that space," he said. "They represent the idea of diversity. And they are interactive. They are meant for people to come up and pose with them." http://trib.it/H58Ve7(Nice trend piece.)