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Real estate rebel, residential designer, believer, blogger currently residing in the Detroit metro area.

As the Mayor here, I have achieved an uncanny reputation for being right more than 92% of the time while raising 5 daughters, 1 son, a BA dog and a husband who adds to the daily drama.

I am also fondly known as Your Honor, crazy bitch, psycho mom, wily temptress & that damn Yankee.



 

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Thursday
Dec022010

Sandra Bullock's Good Taste In Austin

 

 

 

Tuesday was our last day with visiting family. We woke up to chilly and very windy weather so we had to change the elaborate hiking plans we made. After watching Miss Congeniality 1 & 2 during the week off of school, we decided to dedicate ourselves to a Sandra Bullock theme and investigated her offerings around the town.

 

 

 

 

 Bess Bistro is located in the lower level of the historic Stratford Arms building at 600 West 6th Street in Austin. This street was formerly known as Pecan Street which I think sounds much more appealing than just plain old 6th Street. Upon entering there is a tres chic bar area featuring rich wood and a mirrored backsplash with vintage fixtures. It looks like a cozy yet elegant place to enjoy a cocktail during the holidays.

Bar stools are just the right size for the counter height

Despite being set up as a below street grade establishment, it feels welcoming with it's exposed brick walls and ceiling rafters. There is just enough natural light combined with well thought out ambient lighting to give the space a warm glow. The wood work is rich and glossy with sienna colored leather banquettes and seats. There is unexpected crystal chandeliers dressing up the space.

 

Dining area


I'm not sure how much of the renovation Ms. Bullock was personally involved with, but whoever executed the design plan for this space demonstrated an incredible attention to detail. The brick pillars were strategically padded with leather matching the seating. Not only did it give it a lush look but is incredibly practical to prevent damage to chairs as they are scooted in and out by diner

brick pillar padded & wrapped in leather

 The place was full of surprises like a built in fish tank just around the wall near the bar. The attention to detail was carried out fully in the bathrooms with vintage tile on the floor and generous use of sparkling white subway tiles covering much of the wall space, broken up again by the exposed brick.

Turkey & Gouda on fresh bakery bread

Since we were merely lunching we sipped ice tea while we enjoyed attentive service and the menu which I would describe as refined comfort food with a southern flair. As is in fashion these days, there is an emphasis on using fresh, locally grown and organic ingredients. The prices were on the high side but I appreciated the uniqueness of my surroundings and my builder's brain told me the cost of the renovation is reflected in that.

What sets the menu apart from otherwise typical lunch fair was the freshly baked bread. Locally baked and used at Sandra's other establishment, Walton's Fancy & Staple, which is located in another historic building just down the street. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Bess Bistro, I am head over heels in love with Walton's. It is the coffee shop (plus more) I have dreamed of spending time in.

Side room of Walton's

Fresh flowers & catering

I can hardly describe the awesomeness of this place. Not only are the breads and pastries visually stunning, they taste just like they look. So many coffee shops offer pretty pastries (often made elsewhere) and with great anticipation you bite into it and it is just...meh.The pastries at Walton's were outstanding and the sandwiches and salads going by looked worth going back for when I'm really ravenous.

In another impeccably restored historic building, Walton's  was a feast for the eyes and taste buds.It's not hard to imagine sitting down with my fellow Austin Sketchers, whiling the afternoon away. The offerings here include small unique gifts, spices, luscious candles, a florist, catering and a "gourmet to go" section.

Now y'all get over there & try it out

The calculator was running in my head the whole time we toured around both buildings. My experience as a serial renovator and designer tells me that this was a work of love on Sandra Bullock's part. The cost of this renovation would have far exceeded a tear down and rebuild project. This was definitely a gift to Austin's business district.

Bess Bistro on Urbanspoon

Walton's Fancy and Staple on Urbanspoon

 

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Reader Comments (10)

Dying to try that place! My big agency is right down the street....GSDM/Idea City....next time I'm in town it has to be a date! And I did not know about the bakery, going to have to try it for agency goodies.

Also, props on proper use of y'all! Welcome to Texas baby!

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Stiletto Mom

You have made Sandra and her sister proud, no doubt! Your pictures are wonderful, and with your descriptions of Walton's, I realize that waiting until
Monday to experience it is now unthinkable.
When I ate at Bess, we sat in one of the red booths in your picture. As you
said, every detail was considered for comfort. Between those 2 booths
is a pretty custom curtain that forms privacy for each space. That night,
I had shrimp with delicious cheese grits. Our table split 3 desserts that
were all mouth-watering. It is worth every cent!
Your family's chilly-day-alternative to hiking was a winner! And look at
you...already knowing how to use and spell "y'all."
What a woman! I'm sure glad you're in Austin.

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSketcher Cindy

She is such a classy lady. Not surprised that she would do it first class all the way!

Great review, Mayor. Wish it was closer to Michigan. ;-)

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Ooooh I wanna try Bess Bistro when in town next. And I agree - Ms Bullock has demonstrated nothing but grace and class over the last few years.

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterprincess numero uno

So, she has better taste in decor and food than in husbands?

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mother

Princess #1: It's on the schedule for your holiday visit!
Mother: Isn't that the truth?
Stiletto: It's a date, let me know when you're in town.

December 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Mayor

Mother, you are so right. I noticed her businesses are classy, clean and lack graffiti.

Hope she does meet her Prince Charming someday. Not that she needs to but she definitely deserves it!!

December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

*swoon* i've left texas but texas still has my heart! I was raised outside of Dallas, but I loved Austin because it always seemed to charming and "cool."

Thanks for all the lovely descriptions...you gave me a hankerin' to visit my home state again!

Yowza! I know where we'll be going when I come to visit!

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLawyer Mom

Love them both, but I think I'll have to go to Walton's next time I'm in Austin!

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter~the south dakota cowgirl~

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