Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Some of the more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that even by Cheese and Biscuits' own pretty poor standards, the quality of the food photography has gone a bit downhill in the last couple of reviews. There's a reason for this - I was one of the lucky few people to receive a brand-new Apple iPhone 3G on 17th July and like the besotted gadget-geek I am I have been inseparable from it ever since. Please rest assured that once the fog of new love has lifted I'll get round to carrying round a proper camera with me; I won't promise however that any camera in the world can make the food at somewhere like Grumbles look good. Anyway I don't care if the iPhone does have a slightly dodgy camera and the keyboard takes a bit of getting used to - it's the most stunning bit of technology I've had the pleasure of using in many, many years and I can't recommend it highly enough.

And while we're on the subject of iPhones, I'd like to put a word in for a fantastic little app I found on iTunes yesterday called Urbanspoon. It works like a kind of restaurant fruit machine, using your location, a style of cuisine and a price range to suggest places you might like within short travelling distance. If you aren't that taken with what it comes up with you literally shake your iPhone from side to side, the barrels start spinning and you receive another suggestion in seconds. Once you're happy, tap on the restaurant name and Google Maps provides a route and an estimated journey time. All very clever. So far I've tried it at work in Shoreditch and at home in Battersea and the places it's suggested have been pretty much on the mark. Right now the only area of the UK it has a decent knowledge of is London, but I'm told this will change very soon.

My second find isn't an application but the iPhone-enhanced Food Network Recipe Search. As any new iPhone owner soon realises, there's hardly any need to have special mobile versions of websites any more as the mobile Safari does such a brilliant job of rendering normal sites. But a nice compact search page saves zooming in and out when you have one hand on the grill pan, and with 30,000 recipes to search through you're bound to find something attractive. I realise some of the recipes are quite US-centric, but given that half those listed on BBC Food have been incorrectly and incompletely copied down from an episode of Ready Steady Cook (one Anthony Worrall-Thompson concoction I tried a few months ago involved peeling and dicing a number of vegetables that never found their way into the final dish), that's a small price to pay.

If anyone has found any other foodie iPhone applications or websites they can't live without, I'd be very interested in hearing about them. Super Monkey Ball doesn't count, by the way; I don't care if it does involve eating huge amounts of bananas.


Jo Christie-Smith said...

The iPhone is cool, isn't it?

I've got one of the original ones and I loved your recommendation of Urban Foodie..I'm sitting here at home testing it on restaurants in Crystal Palace!

One thing, I found it on the iPhone App Store, rather than iTunes.

Chris said...

Oh yes, you can get it direct to your iPhone too, I should have mentioned that.

Steve Jobs said...

Thanks, here's your money.

Chris said...

Very funny.