Places to eat in Eastside Austin

I work on the Eastside now and I like to eat, so I figured I should keep a quick list of my conquests. Have anything to add?

La Barbecue – The best brisket in Austin (sorry Franklin). And sides, and rotating specials, and two kinds of sauce, and beef ribs as big as your head. Lines get pretty long during rush, and they sell out, so call in an order and show up early (they open at 11am, Weds-Sun).

Salt and Time – A neighboorhood butcher shop with out-of-this-world lunch and dinner service. They’ve got a full bar, real coffee, and realer meats. The lunch menu is short, but changes daily, and every single item is worth having in your belly. Stop what you are doing and go to Salt and Time.

Gourmand’s Neighborhood Pub – Artisan sandwiches served out of an old tejano dance hall. Fat sandwiches (almost 1lb of food) and killer daily specials. They also serve (and sell) Yellowbird Sauce, a kickass habanero condiment made right here in Austin. It’s got carrots and tangerines and lime and makes an already awesome sandwich even awesomer.

Quickie Pickie – Half restaurant, half grab-and-go, half convience store- all awesome. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tacos and such for breakfast, gnarly sandwiches and salads for lunch, and whole birds for take-home dinners. Favorite sandwich is the Cold Comfort, stuffed with apples and house-made pimento. Stop by after work and grab a bird if you want to arrive at home as a hero.

Qui – This place only does dinner service, but it’s so damn tasty that I had to include it in my list. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s the same Paul Qui that owns East Side King and that recently won on Top Chef. Aside from the ridiculous food, they have a killer bar, which means even if you’re not eating, there’s reason to stop (right after work at 5PM or right after dinner somewhere else). Update: Qui started serving a small plate menu on the patio from 5-7PM. Happy hour much?

Cafe Mueller (in HEB) – This may seem like sort of a weird one, the HEB up on E 51st just opened a new concept store, including an on-site restaraunt. Cafe Mueller serves BBQ, pizza, Asian bowls, salads- you name it. It’s mad cheap (check out the full menu) and the building is beautiful.

Hot Mama’s – Tiny cafe/coffeeshop cranking out killer sandwiches. Try the Bacon Alma (that’s apple), or the Persian Prince (filled with lamb). Killer patio. Usually not very crowded, but not quick either.

John Mueller Meat Co – Ridiculous brisket, sliced extra thick, bark like I’ve never seen before. Really peppery sauce. All sorts of meats, sold by the pound. Trailer and tents. Opens at 10:30, sells out frequently.

Tamale House East – Simple, authentic tacos and tamales, served from an old house. Tasty cochinita pibil (pork cooked in orange juice). Mexican Coke in a bottle.

Takoba – Simple but semi-upscale Mexican food, served on one of the best patios on the eastside. Amazing cocktails & desserts, just remember they won’t split a check for you.

Yoko Ono Miyaki – Japanese pancake. Not breakfasty, more like a salmon cake, made from thrashed meat (pork belly) and veggies (onions, etc). Topped with bonito flakes (dried, cured tuna). One of the weirdest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Update: this place either closed or moved.


Meta Valuables ebook available now

I’m happy to announce the release of my first ebook, Meta Valuables.

Meta Valuables is a 45 page look into the world of meta data, the extra bits of information that WordPress let’s us tack onto posts, pages, and users. The book is filled with code samples and real-world examples which will leave you with a better understanding of how to manipulate meta data in every WordPress project you tackle.

The ebook is available for as little as $2, with name your pricing for anyone feeling generous. For your donation, you’ll get a DRM-free PDF file (both at the time of purchase and emailed to you as a backup), along with a TXT file for good measure.

These lessons are meant for the learning WordPress developer, someone familiar with editing template files, basic PHP functions, the template hierarchy, etc. You’ll need a test or local install to follow along in code, but don’t let that scare you. Getting dirty with your WordPress templates is something every developer should look forward to.

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Intermediate WordPress class this Sunday, limited space available

This Sunday, I’ll be teaching the class Meta Valuables, Unleash the hidden power of WordPress meta data. It’s happening at Cospace, from 3-6PM, we’re going to be coding live in class, and your attendance scores you a free copy of my awesome new ebook.

The course is being offered through SkillShare, a new startup for organizing local learning sessions taught by hobbyists and professionals (like me!). Tickets are $25, but at the time of publishing, I’m a featured class, so you can score a $5 off scholarship from Appssavvy (details on the Skillshare page).

Because we’ll be doing lots of hands-on coding, this class is limited to just 20 students (a third the spots of which are already taken). I anticipate this class filling up, so if you’d like to join us, head on over to Skillshare and claim yourself a ticket.

The ebook: 45 pages of awesome

Included with your attendance is a free, printed copy of my new ebook, written specifically for this course. Meta Valuables is a 45 page ebook that takes a revealing look into the world of WordPress meta data. Jam packed with code samples and quick tips, these lessons will have you developing more dynamic templates in no time!

Aside from the paper version for reference during class, you’ll also get access to free downloads of DRM-free PDF and TXT versions, perfect for throwing on your smart devices, emailing to yourself, etc.

Free hosting for all students from WP Engine

In addition to the ebook, all students will also get a FREE personal hosting plan from WP Engine, the finest damn host WordPress could ever ask for. They’re based here in Ausin and have a habit of swooping in and supporting events like this, so you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on @WPengine.

To claim your free hosting (for life!), simply join us on June 10 and I’ll give you the secret URL to access the offer. And while we’re talking about awesome folks sponsoring the event, I’d like to give a shout out to Cospace, who hooked me up with the class space. If you’re in Austin looking for a coworking space, come give Cospace a look.

What to expect

The full details are available on the Skillshare page, but students should come to class with a computer and test install of WordPress ready to work. We’re going to code PHP live in class, and having your own set of tools is definitely the way to get the most out of this course.

We’re going to look at functions like get_post_meta, add_post_meta, get_user_meta, update_user_meta, it’s going to be madness! Even if you’ve never touched custom fields or meta data before, you’ll leave this class with an solid understand of how all this junk works. See you there!

Updated Notes from Cultivating Community

The following are some key links from my talk on Cultivating Community at WordUp Austin on January 21, 2012 (and now again at the WordPress Austin meetup on Feb 28, 2012). You can find the slides over on Google Docs, but the real magic came in person…

Follw on Twitter

@wpatx – I’m running the official WordPress Austin Twitter account now, you should follow it!


Jetpack – Has a new module that allows users to subscribe to comments.
Disqus – A managed plugin that adds new community features to comments.
Intense Debate – A plugin managed by Automattic that adds social features to comments.
Social Plugin for WordPress – A light(er)weight plugin by Crowd Favorite for allowing comments via Twitter and Facebook.
Livefyre – The new kid on the block, with added features like live comments.
Akismet – Quality spam protection for your growing comment section.

Ask questions

Topic Tueday – A new question once a week that is locked to comments from users only. A point multiplier is also in effect.

Poll Your Audience

PollDaddy – A powerful and easy to use poll plugin maintained by Automattic.
WP-Polls – A lightweight poll plugin written by Lester ‘Gamerz’ Chan.


Mailchimp – A paid (and thus pretty awesome) email newsletter solution.
Mailchimp Subscribe Plugin – A easy widget for newsletter subscriptions.
Jetpack – Has a new module that allows users to subscribe to your blog.
Feedburner – An old-school RSS tool that offers an email newsletter digest.

Get Social

Social Bartender – Easy, WP-menu-like drag and drop setup for all your social network links.
Sociable – Configurable sharing links and widgets for all your content.
Explore – There are more social plugins than hairs on my head. Check them out and find out that works for you!
Pin it! – A Pinterest plugin for adding a ‘Pin it’ button to your content.
Easy Pinterest – Display your latest pins and boards in your WordPress sidebar.

Identity / Influence

And Me Account – A sample account from my site, showing real name, user pic, user score, percentile rank, and links to various social accounts.
Gravatar – A widely used avatar service maintained by Automattic.
Cubepoints – A lightweight point tracking system with modules that make for easy customization.
Bunchball – Full-bore gamification with badges and achievements and all that stuff.


Pick Giveaway Winner – A super simple plugin for running bespoke contests with user comments.
25 Days of Tegra – My biggest promo to date, where we gave away a device per day only to users, generating tens of thousands of user interactions.
#HackTheNews – A sample contest I ran on Android and Me where users could tweet stories with tweaked headlines, generating over 1k tweets in barely a week.
Midweek Madness – A weekly contest with usually small prizes.

Do Things with your Users

get_users – A new (since 3.1) function for working with users. Makes things super simple (compared to the old ways, at least).
update_user_meta – A super-handy function for adding and updating extra information to any user account. Use with get_user_meta.
orderby=comment_count – A parameter you can use when querying posts to return the most commented posts.

Favorite community-focused WordPress plugins

I’m giving a talk tomorrow night called Cultivating Community where I’ll be sharing some insight into the process of running a blog with 10 authors and 45k registered users. I’ve given the talk once before and already my have own list of favorite plugins growing, but I was curious what you guys use.

Are there any community plugins you can’t live without? Or something new you’ve seen floating around that you’d like me to investigate and talk about during my session tomorrow? It doesn’t even have to be a plugin really, feel free to leave me some broad questions about practice or strategy, I’m really just looking for some extra angles to cover to make sure everyone finds use in tomorrow’s talk.

Notes from the WordPress Austin meetup – Custom Post Types

A couple a months ago we started kicking around the idea of a WordPress Austin meetup that was powered by member submitted questions. We set up a Google Moderator page to field all the ideas and now a handful of us usual suspects will be taking 5 (or so) questions and explaining them in-depth for an awesome night of focused WordPress discussion.

Pitching in tonite are some faces you’ll recognize from the Austin WordPress scene. WP Engine is going to talk about setting up a staging server, Pat Ramsey is going to talk about the making the WordPress editor play nice with HTML, Joseph Carrington is going to talk about extending WordPress into a CMS, and I’m going to talk about custom post types.

Below you’ll find my notes about custom post types. At you’ll find my slides. We’re hoping to live stream the talks, if that happens I’ll come back and update with a video link.

Justin Tadlock explains custom post types – One of my most referenced articles when dealing with registering new custom post types, a complete walkthrough of the process with lots of copy/paste/tweak code examples.

register_post_type in the codex – A complete look at all the options and variables you have access to when registering a custom post type. Highly useful once you need to tinker with some of the more specific settings of a post type.

Create your first custom post type – A blog post from ThinkVitamin covering the steps involved in registering a custom post type. They’ve got lots of images if you’re a visual kinda-person.

Themergency Custom Post Type Generator – A wizard that walks you through setting up all the options needed for registering a custom post type, then provides you with a simple copy & paste snippet of code which you can place in your theme’s functions.php file.

More Types Plugin – A plugin that will create custom post types for you. This isn’t my preferred option but would totally come in handy to the new or exploring user.

Post Types in code – An overall look at the post type along with some code samples and links to related functions. Good for those who really want to understand what a post type is and how they work.

Whoa, see you guys at SXSW!

So today I had planned on casually making a post about our upcoming SXSW party, but in the one day since announcing it, the event has completely sold out and already has a wait list in the hundreds. I hadn’t quite expected this.

I mean, I knew Android (and our site) was gaining momentum, but to sell 500 tickets in a matter of hours really blew me away. Maybe I shouldn’t be so suprised, last week we saw Google I/O sell out in under an hour, and those tickets were hundreds of dollars (and likely come with multiple free devices, haha).

I’m even more happy we were able to land Lustre Pearl, they are one of my favorite hangouts in Austin. Also, on the same night, we good friend @toddbarnard is hosting an Activity Streams meetup just down the street. Can you say block party?

We’re still landing sponsors for the party, but already on board are a handful of awesome folks. We’ve got Samsung, NVIDIA, and Netshelter fully supporting the team and should have a handful of fun announcements heading towards the event. We’ll also free food and drinks all night (food trucks on the premises!), anyone that makes it out that night is in for a real treat.

I’ll see you guys there.