Foodspotting: One More Reason Why I Really Need a F#@&ing iPhone"/>
What are these two fellas doing? Well, they're eating. And I happen to know exactly what they're eating (fried calamari), where (Shiro's at 2401 2nd Avenue) and more or less when they were there (yesterday, around noon) all thanks to the cool new app and website being
Lee Harvey...I wanna party with you, cowboy foisted on offered to gadget-happy gastronauts everywhere: Foodspotting.
I have a couple favorite electronical thingamajigs to help me do my job. The Urbanspoon slot machine widget is (or was) excellent when I had an appetite, my old iPhone handy, but no earthly idea of what exactly I wanted to eat. All I had to do was plug in whatever neighborhood I was in or how much money I had left in my bank account, give the phone a shake and blam!--instant restaurant recommendation. And don't get me wrong about the tense there: the app itself continues to be awesome. I just no longer have the iPhone.
There's also the "City at Night" display (also on Urbanspoon)--a so-simple-it's-brilliant graphical display of every restaurant in your city, shown like a satellite picture taken after dark if only the restaurants in town had electric lights. It allows you to click through to any neighborhood in the city, see exactly what's available, where it is, who loves it and who hates it. It's one of those things that's so brilliant I wish I'd thought of it first.
Just so you don't think I'm doing a commercial for Urbanspoon here, there's also Gayot.com, wherethelocalseat.com (AKA: Localeats), OpenTable, which very easily lets me pretend to be anyone I want to be (including Abe Vigoda or Dr. Rosenpenis, just back from checking the Alan Stanwyck file) when making reservations anywhere in the world AND helps me remember exactly who I'm supposed to be on any given night. And even though I'm no big fan of Yelp, I've heard that their Monocle program (an augmented reality system that overlays Yelp-reviewed restaurants onto your iPhone's screen no matter where you point it) is enough to make your head explode.
Still, I'm excited about this new Foodspotting thing for a couple of reasons. First, like the Twitter, it locks people into some serious factual brevity. The only information offered? DISH @ PLACE, plus who spotted it and when. And that's it. No judgment. No opinion. Just "I ate this here," and done. Second, the notion of it is so basic: find good food, take picture of good food, post picture and name of place where good food was found. Then, anyone else who might be looking for camerones y posole in Manhattan (good fucking luck...), miso ramen in Edgewater, New Jersey, sushi in Centerville, Ohio or paneer masala in East Sandy, Utah will know where to find the good stuff.
Finally, I dig Foodspotting because of the mission statement of founders Alexa Andrzejewski and Ted Grubb (awesome name, right?). The number one thing on their five-point bullet list? "It's just about the food: It's not about the place, the price, the surroundings, the crowd or the nutritional value -- it's just about good food and where to find it."
Amen to that, brothers and sisters.
Seattle already has a bunch of Foodspotters up and working the streets. So if you're interested in finding some canutillos de jamon (I know I am), crispy garlic chicken (which, oddly enough, I had just a couple days ago for dinner, without the help of Foodspotting) or pancakes-and-bacon cupcakes in the Greater Seattle Area, now you know where to go.
Or you will as soon as you check out Foodspotting.com anyway.