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Preservation Austin Merit Awards, L Style G Style Show & Tell, Dai Due and more

Michael Barnes

HISTORY: You, the readers of this column, won two awards this week. You hatched the ideas, shared your memories and then responded to the published histories. That’s why you earned Merit Awards from the Travis County Historical Commission and Preservation Austin. To tell the truth, the awards came with my name on them. But without you, the readers, none of the stories would have happened. I wrote earlier this week about the experience of accepting the first honor at Travis County Commissioner’s Court. Today, Preservation Austin started its always classy awards luncheon with a speech by Johnny K. Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square Management in Fort Worth. He told the 30-year history of the Bass family’s unique efforts to revive that city’s downtown through enlightened preservation and new construction. The awards then were introduced, neatly, through a Joe Pinelli video. Honored were the Fletcher-Phillips House, designed by A.D. Stenger and reimagined by owners Josh and Erin Bernstein; the Jeffrey’s Compound, captained by chef-owner Larry McGuire; the gorgeous Sampson-Nalle House, preserved by Karey Nalle Oddo; and the Lindner-Sanchez House, turned into the Friends & Neighbors business by Jade Place-Matthews, Greg Matthews and Jill Bradshaw. Two public projects, Wooldridge Square and the Texas Historical Commission complex, were also lionized. Given a surprise honor: Retiring Downtown Austin Alliance chief Charlie Betts, who has done much to shape our modern city. I felt humbled by their company.

MEDIA: L Style G Style started out in print. The magazine told stories about Austin’s LGBTQ community with style and grace. Part and parcel of the original product was the distinctive design realized by founder Alisa Weldon. Now, her life partner, Lynn Yeldell, captains the surviving digital offering that still keeps us informed and entertained. Not surprisingly, the pair found a way to get L Style G Style back into luscious print, at least one more time. At the Palm Door on Sixth, one of the city’s mushrooming supply of events centers, they introduced Show & Tell, a media primer printed on sensuous stock. The first third of the booklet introduces images of their business supporters along with QR codes to connect readers with accompanying stories through mobile devices. A very helpful second section lists and briefly explains local LGBTQ-friendly nonprofits. Finally, the editors shared a “Fab 50″ selection of personality profiles from their deep archives.

FOOD: An ecstatic 9.5 out of 10 review from Matthew Odam: “If you or I strolled through the alley behind the Vortex Theater on Manor Road we’d probably see a nondescript concrete path colored with unidentifiable vegetation. Dai Due chef-owner Jesse Griffiths saw inspiration. He foraged wild grapes from the alley the day he signed the lease at his butcher shop and restaurant located across the street. Griffiths used the grapes and a recipe from a Chez Panisse cookbook to create a starter for his restaurant’s sourdough bread. He loved that the yeasts would be local to his neighborhood. It’s fitting that Griffiths would take a lesson from locavore pioneer Alice Waters. Griffiths’ restaurant culls local and seasonal ingredients and, using a from-scratch ethos, creates sensational dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is exemplary Texas food, the restaurant quintessentially Austin.”