Saturday, November 13, 2010

HOTSTUFF: Favorite Foodie Apps (Whether You're Searching or Making Food)

My favorite (free) foodie mobile applications are as follows - feel free to recommend more:

  • Search for food
    • Yelp - where would I be without this handy mobile version of my favorite food (and everything) discovery site - the full application (as opposed to mobile web) allows you to figure out what's nearby, scan reviews and tips, and search for new places. Since I am such a dedicated Yelp user, I thought I'd mention some pros and cons:
      • Pros: easy to use, 99% dependable, and integrates well with the PC web version if you like.
      • Cons: The filter function only allows you to figure out what's "open now" as opposed to "open at x time"(which is very convenient if you plan to visit a restaurant in a few hours), Also, the map integration with Google Maps (on an iPhone anyway) can sometimes be screwy which means you have to open Google Maps separately and physically enter the address vs. using the handy "Directions to Business" function
    • Urbanspoon -this app isn't nearly as awesome as Yelp, but is more of a novelty.  It has a great food "food shake" feature, which is essentially a slot machine for nearby (or selected city) restaurants. It allows you to lock individual features such as city, type of cuisine, and price (dollar signs $-$$$$) so you can be as random or controlled as you like.  You can then get specific business information, get directions, and read reviews (not as neat as Yelp's interface, but good)
    • Foursquare - I use foursquare to check out places that are trending now, see where Foursquare users are gathered, check out local deals, and get some quick tips when at a restaurant.  Of course, it is always fun to check in and gather badges...
  • Make your own food
    • Allrecipes - love the website for all of my recipe needs, but this app provides me with great recipes on the run.  I use the dinner spinner quite a bit in order to get great inspiration - it's not as comprehensive as the website (and the search functionality doesn't always provide the best results), but it's a great, quick tool to use (especially when at the supermarket)
    • Epicurious - this app provides a fair share of recipes - the search function is great, and allows you to filter by a comprehensive list of dietary considerations amongst other features (like main ingredient, cuisine, etc) in addition to your chosen keywords, which results in a very tailored list of recipes 
    • Merillat Kitchen Helper - this app is designed to do one thing - provide you with substitutions for nearly any ingredient.  I don't know about you, but any app that helps me to a) utilize my existing ingredients, and b)avoid last minute supermarket dashes is at the top of my list! 
      • How to Cook Everything - Essentials - this app is essentially an upgrade seller, but even in absence of the pro edition, it's a great app.  The recipes are great, but what I really love are the primers on cooking essentials, such as techniques, the basics on ingredients, and food preperation

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