The holiday season has officially arrived in all its glory! While I truly love the holidays and savor every moment with family and friends, for me and many others the holidays are always paired with a variety of new but familiar angst all centered around one thing: FOOD.
Where will we be dining this year? Will we be hosting? Do we really want to do a turkey? How can we possibly fit 20 people in our tiny apartment? Should we brave the turkey fryer this year? What is Tofurky, and is it really shaped like a turkey? What day am I going to brave the lines at the market? How about a standing rib roast instead? What is a standing rib roast, exactly? Can’t we just get Chinese take-out and call it a day? What time should we make the reservations for? Are there any restaurants in our neighborhood that are even open on Thanksgiving?
Whichever path you choose this season- be it the path to culinary nirvana or your favorite restaurant down the street, here are some of my favorite iPhone and iPad apps designed to help pave the way.
Forkly: Move over Foodspotting, there’s a new, cooler app in town. Forkly made its big debut this summer, and with recent awards from the Denver Web Awards and big props from Mashable, it’s quickly risen to the top of the most tasty food apps list. Forkly allows you to share your foodie adventures by tasting and rating your meals and drinks. It is designed to match your tastes against those of fellow forkers to provide you with the smartest recommendations. My favorite part of Forkly is the ease of use. Never before has it been easier to share your tastes, complete with photos. From a restaurant, your fridge, a food truck- wherever you and your iPhone end up dining, there’s the opportunity to “Fork It” with your friends. Sync up with your Facebook and Twitter forkin friends, and before you know it you will have an arsenal of new “Wants” to try from across the globe. I have gotten into the routine now of looking up tastes, or “Discover” from a restaurant even before I see the menu. I call it planning ahead. If you haven’t already, you can download Forkly for your iPhone from iTunes. Happy Forkin!
Epicurious: From the folks at Epicurious.com, this app is my go to app for recipes, shopping lists and inspiration. Epicurious has been by my side long before iOS existed. I have had many successes, and only a few failures that I can recall over the years. Although I am passionate about cooking and culinary exploration, I loathe the shopping part of the process. Reason #1 why I love Epicurious- the shopping list feature. It automatically populates a shopping list that can be emailed to you or whoever you have deemed your personal shopper to make the shopping experience a breeze. I find the interface to be very user friendly, including the search feature, which makes for easy discovery of new recipes from all types of cuisines. User reviews always come in handy and offer up interesting variations and alterations to each recipe. When it comes to seasonal recipes, they provide an excellent array of menu options from easy to difficult. I have both the iPhone and iPad app, with the iPad always being the preferred device in the kitchen. It makes a perfect electronic cookbook. Epicurious is available in iTunes, for a wide selection of devices, iPhone, iPad, Android, B&N Nook, and Windows Phones.
The Complete Cheese Directory: A newer addition to my iOS foodie toolkit, the Complete Cheese Directory is simply easy to use, and informative. I absolutely love cheese, but consider myself to be a novice when it comes to building the ultimate cheese platter. I’m always challenged by putting together that perfect selection that is both complementary and delicious. My favorite feature of this app are the photos that accompany each cheese, along with a suggested wine pairing. It boasts one of the largest selections of cheeses, and continues to be an extremely valuable companion for any visit to the cheese counter. The Complete Cheese Directory is available for the iPhone, and can be downloaded on iTunes.
Urbanspoon: You gotta love Urbanspoon! This was the very first iPhone app I remember downloading, and its never let me down. With an enormous network that’s forever expanding, Urbanspoon has really pioneered the foodie restaurant finder app world. The ease of use, giant network providing a plethora of reliable reviews, and the slick yet simple design are reasons enough to love it. The slot machine style shake search feature is still one of my all-time favorite search tools out there. It allows you to search for restaurants by location, cuisine type and price range. Thanks Urbanspoon, it’s been great having you around. Download Urbanspoon on iTunes, available for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
From our table to yours (be it your coffee table, a table at your favorite restaurant, or your fancy, glorious dining room table) We wish you a very Happy Holiday Season! Bon Appetit!