MacGourmet Deluxe can help you collect, edit, use, and share your favorite recipes and recipe-related notes in an easy, intuitive, iTunes-style interface, which is much improved over previous versions. This Deluxe version includes all three optional plug-ins for MacGourmet: the Mealplan (to help schedule meals and sync up with iCal), Cookbook (for creating and sharing PDF cookbooks), and built-in nutritional data from the USDA database (which makes it easy to calculate nutritional info for entire recipes). The main recipe interface is highly customizable and includes a large, easy-to-read "Chef View" for laptop-assisted cooking, which you can control with … Read more
Scoutmob is a location-aware coupon service that pushes local restaurant and retail deals directly to your mobile device. No need to print or purchase anything, just scroll through the local 50 percent off (and more) coupons available, click "USE THE DEAL," and flash your screen at the location. It's like Groupon, only simpler and better.
What gives Scoutmob its edge over its other deal-serving competitors is that there's no need to purchase anything ahead of time. If your GPS-enabled mobile device detects that you are at the deal location, you get the deal. And most deals … Read more
TVFoodMaps for Android is essentially a GPS guided tour of all the restaurants featured on your favorite Food Network and Travel Channel shows. For self-proclaimed food enthusiasts, it is a veritable treasure trove of eating advice.
Launch TVFoodMaps, enable GPS, and watch the app immediately get to work searching for notable restaurants in your vicinity. Then choose to view results in either a map view or a list view, which notes distance from your location as well as the titles of the shows that featured each restaurant. Click on an item to see additional details, including the name of the … Read more
If you're concerned about the number of foods you eat that contain pulverized insect bodies, or worry about all the ways another Coke or Pepsi might contribute to your early demise, boy, have I got an app for you.
The folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest are wagering you're willing to fork over a buck to find out how truly disgusting and/or dangerous the ingredients in your food are with their new "Chemical Cuisine" app. Download it for 99 cents for iOS or Android and you have instant access to an encyclopedia of all those indecipherable ingredients on food labels--things like cochineal extract or carmine, which comes from those unfortunate aforementioned insects and is used to add a nice pink, purple, or reddish hue to your yogurt and other munchies.… Read more
Want to lose weight? Forget fad diets: eat fewer calories. Ah, but easier said than done, right? Counting calories is not only a hassle, it's downright difficult for certain types of meals.
Enter DailyBurn's Meal Snap ($2.99), an ingeniously clever--if not entirely perfect--app that takes a photo of the food on your plate, then delivers an estimated calorie count.
Sounds pretty amazing, right? And it is, though there are limits to the app's accuracy. In my quick and informal tests, Meal Snap easily identified a small pile of strawberries, and correctly estimated the calories at 38-57. … Read more
Nutritional information is becoming more and more important as people become more conscious of what they're putting into their bodies. Nutrition Facts is a simple program that contains nutritional information for more than 7,500 foods. It's definitely not the most comprehensive option available for accessing nutritional information, but it's not bad.
The program's interface is plain and intuitive. You enter the name of a food into a search box and the program returns a list of possibilities. Click on one and the nutritional information is displayed in a pane on the right. In addition to … Read more
It is not uncommon for kitchen appliances that do one thing well to do another, similar thing just as well. Often that secondary functionality becomes your primary use for the product (think grinding spices in a coffee grinder).
You may not think it makes any sense to use a blender as a scale, but that's exactly what DeLonghi has done--incorporate a scale into a food processor. The DFP950 12-Cup Food Processor combines two similar kitchen gadgets with a third--not altogether unlikely--kitchen essential. Featuring a tare function, you can add exactly the amount of ingredients you need directly in your … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--With the restaurant rating and recommendation business being pretty well locked up (by Yelp, OpenTable, Foursquare, etc.), the new game in town is apparently recommendations on individual dishes. Got a hankering for tom kha gai soup? You can check out Spork (live) or TopDish (invite-only beta) to find the best restaurant nearby that serves that particular dish; both companies are presenting in the low-rent "launch pad" sideshow of the Launch conference here.
These two services collect user reviews--ratings and pictures--of dishes to help you make the life-critical decision of where to find the best of whatever you're looking for, or if you're sitting at a restaurant, which dish to order. Both sites let you profile your tastes to help decide for you what you're more likely to like.
Spork is a bit more social at the moment. It connects to your Facebook network to prioritize food ratings from your friends. An upcoming feature will let you gift a dish to a friend via a PayPal credit for the cost of the dish. A future network update may work the credit through restaurants directly.
Co-founder Dan Cheung told me he's also considering adding a "reverse Groupon" feature to the service: If enough users like a restaurant's dish, Spork may ask the restaurant to create a coupon for it, to stimulate demand just a little bit more.
TopDish is a bit newer, still in closed beta. Its recommendations are network-wide, for the time being, and the mobile app isn't out yet. The model is largely the same as Spork's, but co-founder Salil Pandit told me his service's secret sauce will be communication with restaurants: If you run an eatery, you'll be able to see how all your individual dishes rate. This will be a free service for a while, although the value to a restaurant could obviously be quite high. "We just want to help start a conversation," Pandit told me.
The increasing granularity of data in new Web services is an important trend to watch. Highly-specific recommendation databases don't work unless there's enough volume of users and data feeding into them. Without that, you get a lot of empty records and unsatisfied users. But with everyone getting with the program of recommending things to friends, checking in, and Tweeting or Facebooking their every move, it's not surprising that companies like these (and some others, launching tomorrow at this conference) are tying to make sense of these little tidbits of opinion.
It seems like everyone wants a piece of the restaurant industry. I don't know why. It's a brutal business with low margins, high employee turnover, no way to reach all your customers at once, and generally stressed-out business owners. At least existing inefficiencies make for creative solutions and some good start-up ideas. OpenTable proved that you can improve the simple act of booking a table. Grubhub is trying to bring the same concept to deliveries and takeout. And now Storific is trying to streamline the function of the waiter.
Storific turns your iPhone (other platforms in development) into an order-taking waitbot. You step into your restaurant and as you're seated you get a code for your table. You put that into the app, and then you can see the establishment's menu on your phone, pick things you want, and have those orders delivered to the kitchen. You can also ping the system to send over water, a salt shaker, and so on.
It may appear that this business is about making things better for diners, by making it easier to send orders in. It may also look like it's good for waiters since it makes them more efficient (they can come by to chat up customers and don't have to come back to take an order unless the diner wants that) and thus could improve their tips. But the real benefit of this app is bottom-line financial. It brings impulse buying to restaurant dining. Want another order of fries? Press the button. A second mousse, rapidement? Click.… Read more
According to a survey of users on goal-setting Web site 43 Things, the most popular New Year's resolution for 2011 is to lose weight. (This is Jasmine's utter lack of surprise.) Indeed, many of the top resolutions year after year are health-related. Drink less, get fit, quit smoking, manage stress, be happy, and run a marathon all continually rank high on the list.
Luckily, there is plenty of technology available to help you reach any of those goals. Of course, it would be irresponsible of me to attempt to cover it all in one article; after all, carpal … Read more