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Illustration by Danny Elchert
To date, iPhone/smart-phone applications number in the hundreds of thousands, with many dedicated solely to the pursuit of food and wine. Try as I might, I’ve not perused the entire list—but I do have my favorites. Some help me navigate grocery stores, while others get me into the most exclusive restaurants; some focus on recipes, others reviews. Regardless of the number of apps on your phone, surely you have room for six more.
If you’re watching your weight or just trying to eat a little better, Tap & Track works amazingly well. It catalogs your daily intake of carbs, fat, and calories to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. You have to be diligent about entering in what you eat, but the app works (as long as you’re honest with your little electronic friend).
For wine knowledge and reference, a number of worthwhile apps promise the tools and slang needed to hang with the wine elite. Wine Snob is a basic to intermediate wine source that can help in a pinch. Whether you’re seeking regional information on Piedmont or the definition of “volatile acidity,” this app is a wine wiki you can believe in.
One of the best food apps I’ve run across is Whole Foods Market Recipes. This great resource will help you plan a healthy meal, build a grocery list, and even navigate the store per your list of ingredients. Genius! Why don’t we have more apps like this?
Of the thousands of cocktail apps out there (each containing thousands of recipes), my favorite is Cocktails+. Its large menu of recipes allows you to search for and build drinks that are classic and inspiring at the same time.
When you’re looking for the newest great restaurant…Yelp to the rescue! In every city I visit, Yelp seems to have reached critical mass, with Yelpers who are often more believable than bloggers elsewhere. The Yelp iPhone app’s Monocle feature also overlays reviews of nearby dining establishments on your camera’s view of the street.
Finally, if you’d like VIP status wherever you go (and who wouldn’t?), join the community known as OpenTable. This is the reservation software that manages bookings for restaurants worldwide. To me, it’s like a concierge...that requires no compensation.