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Food & Drink

Best Apps for the Foodie 

By Alyssa Jaffer

Foodies are only as good as their tools — a fork and knife, a sharp palate and a hearty appetite. But when "apps" no longer stands for appetizers, a smartphone is a must. Here are five great apps for the foodie that go way beyond Yelp and Instagram.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by a complex menu, reconsider your Wikipedia search on ingredients and download Chef's Feed (chefsfeed.com) instead. Personally endorsed by comedian and actor Aziz Ansari, this app collects dish recommendations from notable local chefs for all your favorite restaurants. Follow S.F.'s most celebrated chefs like Thomas Keller and Daniel Patterson to see what dishes they love to eat, from fine dining restaurants to your favorite hole-in-the wall haunt. "San Francisco is the epicenter of culinary and technology innovation. Born in S.F., Chef's Feed encapsulates the best of both industries," says co-creater Jared Rivera. The app — which has extended to two dozen cities around the world — also brings a social media aspect to eating, so users can follow their friends' activity to see what they're munching on, and share and plan their own most indulgent culinary adventures.

What's better than scheduling dinner reservations without the hold time on the phone? Discounted dinner reservations without the hold time on the phone. Powered by Groupon and available on iOS and Android in over a dozen cities, Savored (savored.com) allows users to make restaurant bookings with sizable price cuts to the dinner bill. Depending on the dining time, guests can save up to 40 percent during off-peak hours when the reservation is booked through Savored, no coupons necessary. The app covers restaurants all over S.F., as well as the Peninsula and East Bay. It's the perfect app for the frugal foodie.

As San Franciscans, skepticism is second nature, even when it comes to what's in our food. In an effort to promote healthier eating, app Fooducate (fooducate.com) allows users to scan the barcode of packaged food at the grocery store, rate its nutrition level based on ingredients, and get suggestions for healthier alternatives. Available on both iOS and Android, Fooducate gives products a grade from A to D with a breakdown of nutritional facts with warning of red flags. Users can set weight-loss goals and compare the nutritional value of products side-by-side. What you learn may shock you, but kindly shove your outrage to the side in the narrow aisles of Bi-Rite.

For the sophisticated sommelier, choosing a wine is an art form. For the rest of us who can't really taste the difference between Yellowtail and Napa's finest, San Francisco's Hello Vino (hellovino.com) is a good solution. The app helps users choose the best wine for the occasion, based on a variety of criteria: with a particular meal or food (meats, pasta, seafood, cheese, dessert), by type, and by taste. You can even snap a shot of the wine you're considering to get more details about it, and get access to special offers on wine based on your location. Hello Vino is sure to supplement your (lack of) wine knowledge to impress your date, parents, or snobby boss.

Wouldn't it be great if all the people posting food porn all over the social medias had one specific outlet to show off their meals? Turns out, there is. S.F.'s FoodGawker (foodgawker.com) is essentially a cross between Instagram and Pinterest for the foodie. Through a curated photo gallery of food images, users can search or browse through photos for recipe ideas, techniques, and culinary inspiration. While we'd rather be eating food than looking at it, the app provides a visually decadent platform for culinary beauty, with an added element of social media engagement.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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