Best Foodie Apps

By Fabiana Santana

Who needs Zagats when you’ve got your smart phone?  Not that restaurant guides and cookbooks aren’t great, but sometimes having all that information literally at your fingertips can make the difference between bad takeout and a dinner to remember. Find the best burger, take a cooking class or grab the greatest after work gimlet with these super cool gadget apps.

Urbanspoon, free
Can’t decide where to eat? The Urbanspoon app can help. Made for the iPhone, the app works like a casino game. Shake your iPhone and the Urbanspoon slot machine will pick a good restaurant for you to try. See what’s nearby to explore your ‘hood in list or map mode. You can even see what your friends like and browse a comprehensive restaurant list.

Epicurious, Free
Just like the website, this app is serious about cooking. The recipes come courtesy of the affiliated magazines including Bon Appetit and Gourmet and all are linked with fabulous food photos and handy shopping lists. Bonus: this app is available on almost all platforms including the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and Blackberry.

How to Cook Everything, $5
Yes, it costs a hefty $5, but this iPhone only app is based on food celebrity Mark Bittman’s cookbook, so if you haven’t invested in that yet, this is a cheaper way to get to all of his kitchen advice. Bittman has a way of making both the basics and the advanced techniques of cooking look easy and fun, but if you are unsure, google some of his Today show recipes and clips before committing.

Kraken Rum, free
Also set up like a game, the Kraken Spiced Black Rum app challenges users to deliver a shipment of booze ‘across the darkest of all seas,’ avoiding the deadly Kraken. “The Simulation Application for Nautical Maneuvering”  is kind of of like a Pirates of the Caribbean but with Kraken rum as the main attraction. The app features original music by composer Christopher Hicken and cool animation by Madam Ariane Irie. . The idea is that you ‘experience the perils they first encountered of bringing this fine product to the world’, with extras such as ‘Actual Distress Cries of Fallen Seamen’ and the threat of being swallowed ‘Whole by the Beast of Myth and Legend, the Mighty Kraken.” Success rewards gamers with simulated glass of Kraken Black Spiced Rum.

Foodspotting, free
Late last year, this was an iTunes app of the week. Foodspotting is a visual guide to let you find food, not just restaurants. So, instead of reading a restaurant review, you can review and view (love the pics!) a great bowl of ramen or the greatest after work gimlet in the city. Perfect for that craving that must be satisfied, no matter where you wind up.

Cocktails Made Easy, $2.99
This is both an iTunes staff pic and the winner for #1 Photo Cocktail App. This how-to drink app is a library of cocktail recipes all made with just 14 readily available key ingredients. Classic and contemporary recipes come from some of the best cocktail bars, including the famous Pegu Club in Manhattan. All cocktails contain a comment and rating form top British drinks aficionado Simon Difford and you can add your own cocktail rating for notes to any recipes.

Nigella Quick Collection, $7.99
Another pricy app, but again, if you haven’t invested in any of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, then this is a great intro to the celebrity chef’s recipe repertoire. Nigella Quick Collection features 70 recipes that will help you create speedy, simple and of course delicious meals all with accompanying unique video and audio. 
Watch videos to pick up tips and enjoy full length recipe run-throughs of Nigella cooking dishes such as chocolate pear pudding or sesame peanut noodles. You can add notes by text or voice and browse and search according to your food mood or what’s in your fridge. And since sticky fingers are common in the kitchen, voice prompts make it easy to move about the app hands free.