Wednesday, July 23

discover [better than yelp]

Are you a foodie? Do you travel a lot, and need recommendations on where to eat across the US? Do you like browsing pictures and reviews of a restaurant before you try it out? Are you ever unsure of what to order?

All of these things apply to me. I love love LOVE to go out to eat- the entire experience is such a pleasure. BUT, my indecision can be crippling. D will ocassionally check in when I'm on the road, and as late as 10 pm I'm still deciding...can't pick out of 3 restaurants, and at those 3 which things to order, and should I take out or dine in, and what makes the most sense based on my location, what I've eaten today, what I want to eat tomorrow, did I get a workout in, do I also want dessert, what am I in the mood for...

It's a problem. And Yelp, as we all know, is only as valuable as the users; my complaint isn't that such users are unsophisticated, as many claim, but rather that we all have different metrics on which we score a service experience. Joe Yelper might rate McDonald's as 5-star, because what he values most is convenience and price, but would give a fine dining restaurant 1-star, because he disliked the stuffy ambiance. Even with filters, Yelp can only take you so far.

I have two solutions for you: Chefs Feed and Find.Eat.Drink. If you're a foodie, get ready to fall down the rabbit hole.

I have more familiarity with Chefs Feed, which is basically a magical Yelp where all the users are professional chefs. The app and website allows you to browse, by city and chef, favorite restaurants and favorite dishes at said restaurants. With a few other filters, like price and location, you can find both hole-in-the-wall dives and worth-it splurges from your favorite cooks. I like that the chefs available to follow in each city are usually the best known- in DC, for example, you can follow Billy Klein (Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, Cafe Saint-Ex), Haidar Karoum (Estadio, Proof, Doi Moi), Spike Mendelson (Good Stuff, We the Pizza), and my favorite, Kyle Bailey (Birch and Barley, Bluejacket). They have a good range of chefs representing eateries from pastry/coffee joints to burger bars to breweries to ethnic eateries, so you can refer to an expert for many different cuisines.

My favorite part? They have a youtube channel where famous chefs read bad yelp reviews, a la Jimmy Kimmel celebrity tweets. Very funny.

Find.Eat.Drink is new to me, but it seems so similar to Chefs Feed that I thought I'd share both. Based on the similar premise that nobody knows the culinary world quite like the culinary world, why not get your recommendations from such folk? They seem to have many more cities represented than Chefs Feed, including international options (so helpful, because I'm even more at a loss when abroad than in, say, Texas).

 Interesting that they both use orange- perhaps to differentiate from the red GoliathHave you tried either? I find their advice to be more concise, filtered, and authentic than Yelp, Opentable, Google, or any of the other un-curated review websites. Oh, and don't forget Eater, in my opinion the best food website there is.

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how you like dem apples?