My First Contest (and a Request)

LDVI’m very excited to hold my first give away. This is something I’ve seen other bloggers do and I look at it as another opportunity to be of service to the Austin community and continue to connect my readers with great food and wine experiences around town. The wonderful staff at Russell/Shaw PR have gifted me with two tickets to one of Austin’s premier events, the Austin Museum of Art’s annual La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival, happening this coming Thursday, October 15. Featuring food from a large collection of Austin’s premier restaurants including Moonshine, Primizie Osteria, Truluck’s, and Parkside, this event will also highlight the best of Texas wines and other vino selected by the knowledgeable staff from Twin Liquors. Held at the beautiful Laguna Gloria, transformed for the evening into scenes from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita movie, it promises to be a night to remember. I attended a preview at Twin Liquors a week or so ago, and the food from Primizie and Austin Cake Ball was full of promise for the main event. This is one of the ultimate eat well, do good parties in town because the proceeds from ticket sales go to support AMOA and arts in Austin. To quote News 8 Austin, what a delicious way to support the arts.

Help Me Improve Austin Foodie Bits and Enter to Win

You may have noticed that I didn’t post an Austin Foodie Bit this week. Quite frankly, life just got the better of me and it didn’t happen. Foodie Bits is a labor of love and I missed putting it together this week. As I was contemplating how to avoid missing another week again when life inevitably happens, the content geek in me rose up to declare that I should put the whole thing into a database. And then, because that geek was on a role, she suggested that I should also have an iPhone application to make accessing the database that much easier. I’ve been inspired by my friend Jodi at Tasty Touring to port my blog to a WordPress installation I can manage in 2010. Such a move would give me a lot more control over what content and tools I feature on my site and would allow me to move Foodie Bits into a more structured format. My friend Marshall at Eat This Lens launched his own iPhone app a while back, and he insists it’s totally manageable with help from the right gurus.

But, before I dive head first into redesigns, database development, and iPhone apps, I’d love to get your feedback on if you think a database and iPhone app for Foodie Bits would be useful, and if so, what I could do to make those tools the most usable. I would continue to write a Monday post around the week’s upcoming events but would most likely use it to highlight a sub-set of the events and dedicate a bit more time to the scoop on each.

So, to enter the contest for the tickets to La Dolce Vita ($200 value), simply leave a comment on this post with your thoughts about if it’s worthwhile for me to create an Austin Foodie Bits database and/or iPhone app, or any other feedback you have on how I can make Foodie Bits better. Submissions are due by 5pm CST on Tuesday, October 13, 2009. I will use to select the winner of two tickets and notify them sometime that evening. And, if you don’t win, you’ll still be able to purchase your tickets on Wednesday for the event on Thursday.

Thanks so much for playing and I look forward to reading your feedback.


  1. ooh, pick me!

    • P.S. I think a database is a good idea. I’m not sure about the iPhone app, I’ll check out Marshall’s and see if I think I would actually use it.

  2. I think an iPhone app would be a wonderful tool (for those who own them). As for a database, well you already have things separated into your recipe collections and by type of post, a nice way to organize. I think the only thing missing is the iPhone app. I love that your site isn’t messy & crowded with sidebars on both sides and odd colors that make you squint when reading.

  3. The iPhone app I use on Eat This Lens is a simply WordPress plugin that formats my blog to the iPhone format and makes accessing my blog content easy for an iPhone user.

    I’m not sure a full-blown app would be worthwhile unless you were able to incorporate a lot more useful functionality into it other than the Foodie Bits content.

    If you move over to WordPress (which you should :-)), you can install the iPhone plugin as well.

    Certainly a database is going to make your life easier to manage the content, and if you were to get really ahead of the game you could build a user interface/input form to allow your readers to enter events, going straight to said db and then you could approve/edit as needed.

    (Now I’m giving away all my secrets!)

    Good luck. You can just give me the tickets now if you want. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Jennifer Davies /

    Database could be cool for quick reference…don’t have a fancy iphone ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I think the database is a great idea (though you do have this very well categorized). Since I don’t have an iphone, I’m tempted to tell you no for the app. However it seems like a lot of other ppl have the phone and it could definitely come in handy for them- especially the ‘Austin Eats’ section.

  6. PS: I agree with Marshall. Use WordPress ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Valorie Lyng /

    I just got my iPhone and just LOVE it. I would love to add the app to access foodie bits on my phone. I am going to check out @eathatlens. Hey I missed out on the $50 ACL tickets.

  8. Regan Brown /

    I know that if you design a foodie database, it will be a helpful & useful one…so please do it! It would be awesome to o have quick access to succint, informative Natayana-isms about local bars, restaurants, stores & events.

  9. WordPress rules. As does Marshall. I work for a nonprofit and would love the opportunity to attend La Dolce Vita and support AMOA.

  10. I love the idea of an iphone app for your foodie bits, since it keeps us update on what’s happening. It would also be great if it linked to your reviews.

  11. Heather /

    I enjoy reading your weekly posts and often forward them on to others.
    I think whatever makes your life easiest is the way to go.
    As far as an iPhone App, why not? It’s all the rage and you seem to be a hip chick. Thanks for bringing us Fรชte & Feast!

  12. I think the database would be very helpful, especially if it allowed readers to see all upcoming events at a glance (and to easily note which postings are new). Thanks for all of the useful info!

  13. I like the idea of a database. I’m often searching for fun things to do in Austin and in my opinion, the most fun things always involve food. I’ve used your weekly event posts in the past to plan fun stuff to do on the weekends and I value being able to go to one spot to get all of the info. Other sites, even big ones like the Statesman or Chronicle, don’t seem to feature as many cool food events as you do.

    As far as the iphone app…I don’t have one, so an app wouldn’t really be to my benefit, but if it’s as easy as Marshall makes it sound, might be worthwhile for others.

  14. It’s all about search and your database would be very useful to me! Also, thanks for sharing info about to pick a number. That is something that I’ll plan to use in the future too ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. As an avid user of an iPhone, I think an app would be great, pending that it is as thorough and useful as the website itself. It would be interesting to see the Foodie Bits and events as an interactive calendar. The blog is organized well though – it will be tough to beat.

  16. a database would be great. something that I could link to my calendar so I didn’t miss events would be really helpful. I have a tendency to read about the events and then let them pass without realizing it.

  17. carimwc /

    I would love a database that is easily accessible and usable. I search for foodie information all the time.
    I don’t have an iPhone but I do like the idea of an app.

  18. I’m all about iPhone apps. Go for it.

  19. I enjoy reading your posts each week, always great stuff. A searchable database would be a great addition.

  20. I would love a searchable database that’s easy to use. I don’t have an iphone, but think the application would be useful to those who do.

  21. Brooke Raymond /

    An iPhone application would be awesome. I am new to Austin and would love to use such a resource!

  22. An iPhone app could be very cool and useful, particularly if it made it easy to add events to a google calendar. Not that I know enough about that to give you any tips on how to do it, but I know I’d use something like that! Good luck!

  23. What a great idea! I’m all in favor of organization, and I would probably post more myself if I had a handy application. Unfortunately, I’m no guru, so no added tips here ๐Ÿ™

  24. valerie gomez /

    iphone app should include a map of where all the food tents, time/name of musicians are playing, vendors should think about giving away gift certificates in a drawing (via business cards) to guests. i think they should even do dance lessons w/ professionals from austin’s local studios and post an time and what type of dance the guests would be learning in the app. that should get everyone moving and grooving! cherrios!

  25. Nicole /

    I would like a searchable database, especially if you can link it to an Outlook calendar.

  26. Darius /

    As I don’t have an iPhone and never used one, I can’t really offer much feedback on that.

    I do however think it would be neat to have a separate “mobile” format of the site – easier to search or use from a phone. I’m not entirely sure how this is done, but I know there are ways of interpretting a viewers user agent and using that information to control what type of page to view, web vs mobile. For example, remove certain features in mobile, larger text, more focused search feature, idk. This way you would be catering to all mobile users, not just iphones.

    A database is a good idea, the biggest challenges will be usability though. How easy will it be to search and find topics?

    I am an extreme web development novice, but I understand that AJAX can be used for communicating with a database without having to reload a webpage. Not sure if this would be necessary for the type of functionality you would be looking for though.



  27. Breanna /

    I am all for the database! I think it will be helpful for more people, especially those of us without iPhones. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. You never know until you try — the database sounds cheaper to get done first, so I would start with that. As others have said, the user interface is key here. Later, you can consider the iPhone app.

  29. Edgar Gierbolini /

    iPhone app sounds fantastic! I like that idea… but the database portion should be first priority…

  30. As a blackberry user, I would hate to see something else I love become iPhone-exclusive. On the other hand, I’ll probably be forced to get one soon and when that time comes I’ll be happy you have an app because I would love to easily access and search your blog.


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