Going to the Union Square Greenmarket is one of my favorite weekly activities. Outdoors and surrounded by food, I find it to be one of the most relaxing, interesting errands I run. It usually takes about three passes through the entire market, touching, smelling and talking to each vendor, for me to decide what I am going to purchase and how I will use them. My brain is normally on overload, recalling recipes and articles about specific produce and their uses, while mentally storing them in my tiny fridge, making sure it will all fit. There is also the concern of if I can eat it all before it goes bad, an unfortunate consequence of living on your own. This whole process may sound painfully tedious to some, specifically my dog Nike, who patiently walks with me to and fro each vendor, then carries my load back to the west village, but for me, it is a welcomed break in the day. My only frustrations arise when I don't know what is fresh/in-season or how best to store or use something.
In walks my iPhone. With an influx of helpful applications and email alerts, my shopping and eating experiences have become easier and more efficient than ever. I've kept an ongoing list of applications/email alerts that have sparked my interest. Some are awe inducing, others are merely helpful (read: free), and many are just so ridiculous, I had to share them:
- Harvest (2.99) Make sure your melons are firm. A guide to selecting the freshest, in season produce.
- Still Tasty (1.99) An app that practically sniffs your milk. Self induced food poisoning ain't fun.
- WineChap (4.99) Look like you know what you're doing - suggested wines off most NYC menus.
- FoodScanner (.99) Scan the barcodes on food and keep track of how many calories you've eaten. Then cry.
- DrinkFit (1.99) If you can keep track of your caloric intake at a bar, then you aren't drinking enough.
- Food Substitutes (.99) For when you can't find Hungarian paprika. Suggests substitutions in a pinch.
- Cookbook (free) Enter what you have in your cupboards and it'll suggest a recipe. Use only when desperate.
- LocalEats (.99) Great for business travel. Top 100 restaurants in the 50 largest cities voted by locals.
- Fromage (2.99) Offers wine/cheese pairings, tracks favorites, and makes suggestions.
- Postabon (free) Tracks NYC bar and restaurant specials, promotions and discounts. $1 beers anyone?
- VegOut (2.99) Vegetarian restaurant guide for that 'oops, you're a vegetarian' moment.
- Groupon (email alert) Daily deals in NYC - food, beverage, spas etc.
- Blackboard Eats (email alert) Twice weekly email for exclusive deals at NYC's hottest restaurants.
- Epi (free) Enter an ingredient and find 25,000 ways to prepare it.
- Whole Foods Recipes (free) Health-centric recipes, but I just like their pictures. They're pretty.
- Grocery (free) User friendly grocery list app with an email feature in case you can pawn off the shopping.
- Hello Vino (free) For wine-o wannabes. Search by occasion, food pairing, type, or price and sound smart.
- OpenTable (free) I use it the second I receive notice of upcoming restaurant weeks to get the good tables.
- Yelp (free) It's like having a know-it-all friend out with you - including the annoying, unfiltered opinions.
- Urbanspoon (free) Just for fun. There's no way I'm taking a slot machine chance on what's for dinner.
- Tasting Table (email alert) Food culture alerts daily. Feel in-the-know.
Feel free to share your favorites! Thank you for following.
- Kluckr (.99) A wing finder. You didn't know you needed it until now.
- Pancake Flip (.99) Pay 99 cents to look like you have Turrets. Perfect your pancake flipping virtually. Wow.
- Bell BBQ (free) Virtually grill a bratworst. I'm flabbergasted that it's free.
- Tipulator (1.99) If you live in NYC and still can't calculate 20%, shame. on. you.
- Pocket Cocktails (.99) Be Your Own Bartender recipes with a rad "shaker" mode sound effect. KYS.
- Fast Food Calorie Counter (.99) Oh, four McGriddle's are better for you than a Big Mac? Excellent.
- The Heat