Enrique Quintero Design Pocket Bar & Grill 1.0
Sure, playing music and movies is great, but every once in a while we wish our iPod could do something really useful--like tell us how to mix drinks. That's where Enrique Quintero Design's Pocket Bar & Grill ($10) comes in. The app, which is nice to have on hand if you want a bartending guide and a cookbook on you at all times, was until recently two separate apps known as Podtender and Podgourmet. Now combined and rechristened (due to a request from Apple), it contains recipes for 225 foods and 750 mixed drinks. The developer cut down the number of each to meet the iPod's limit of 1,000 notes.
Setup is a snap. Install Pocket Bar & Grill by simply dragging it to your Mac or Windows iPod's Notes folder, then call up Notes from the iPod screen. Drink recipes are laid out from A to Z, and the directions are always clear. You'll find instructions for most of your old favorites, plus plenty of new ones for when you're feeling adventurous. Recipes are organized by food type.
We tested the bar guide in the only responsible way: by mixing drinks (yes, it's a rough job). We used the recipes for two drinks we knew (the cosmopolitan and sidecar) to see how they compared with what we'd had before, and for two drinks we'd never had--the George Bush and kamikazi [sic]--to see how the guide worked for experimenting. The cosmo and the sidecar tasted great, although both were on the strong side. The directions didn't say to sugar the rim of the glass for the cosmo and didn't indicate what type of glass to use--a faux pas for those of us who enjoy using the right glass. The George Bush was surprisingly refreshing, a drink even a blue-stater can enjoy. We don't normally like whiskey drinks, but it was nicely balanced by ginger ale and fresh lemon. The kamikazi was tasty but not that interesting. For all four, the directions were easy to follow.
Using the guide to mix drinks is fun, although we wish the developer provided more variations and used the linking feature available within iPod notes. For example, the martini recipe should have listed minor variations instead of just giving the basic recipe. Also, different types of martinis (chocolate martini, silver bullet martini) were listed under different letters and weren't linked from the main martini recipe. The guide carries most of the basics but could use some beefing up, especially with trendy drinks. There are no entries for the dirty martini or the appletini, for example.
We didn't kitchen test the food section, mostly because all our cookbooks are covered with drips and spills, and we'd rather not do the same to our iPod. If you're going to use it, wrap your iPod in plastic wrap first, or make sure it's out of the way of spills and splatters. The recipes aren't tied by any ethnic or regional theme, but they tend to be long on ingredients and better suited to ambitious cooks. Having them on your iPod would be a help when you're at the grocery store and don't know what to buy for dinner but only if you know your way around the kitchen.
Be warned that an iPod will load only 1,000 notes, no matter how many you have stored; if you've installed another app that uses lots of notes along with this one, you won't be able to view everything (notes load in alphabetical order, so it's the last ones that won't show up). We preferred having the bar guide separate and with more drink recipes, but we still think Pocket Bar & Grill is a fun resource to have on hand. Call it up when you're entertaining and start experimenting.