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OMG how did I not know about this?? CityMint is an amazing food delivery app that actually allows food delivery straight to your picnic blanket in the park. The system uses geolocation to help the delivery guy or girl find you no matter where you are in the park. And there’s no extra fee! Park delivery is currently available on weekends in my two favorite cities: San Francisco’s Dolores Park (through Oct. 16) and NYC’s Central Park (through Labor Day).

But even in the off season, this is an awesome app. Imagine never needing to go through a stack of takeout menus again. The app saves your credit card info, integrates with Yelp, and even allows you to set up favorites. I’m not sure if it’s as comprehensive as GrubHub, but I’m definitely going to check it out.

(Yes, I order a lot of takeout. Don’t judge.)

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I don’t really cook. Over the years, I’ve come up with a range of theories as to why this is, but may main go-to excuses are: 1) my parents are amazing cooks, so I never had to learn or try, and 2) I’m single and it’s just too hard to cook for one.

So I tried to see if there are any apps that could inspire me to be more active in the kitchen. There are many recipe and cooking apps out there, so I chose to focus on two that were free and seemed to have decent reviews: the AllRecipes Dinner Spinner and the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

The AllRecipes Dinner Spinner is a cool app, but not the most practical for someone like me who just wants the basics. It has a cool spinning function where you can pick your food category (appetizer, dessert, side dish, etc.), the main ingredient (pork, grains, chocolate, etc.), and your desired prep time. You can “lock” your choices or simply spin it to come up with a random recipe. But regardless, the recipes it provides are the highest rated ones offered by real AllRecipes customers.

It also enables you to save favorites, view featured recipes, and search by nutrition information. There are also different versions of the app for different countries. And there is an advanced version available for $2.99.

Another one, which is probably more up my alley, is the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It allows you to search specific recipes, browse by main ingredient, and even download coupons. It also provides very simple step-by-step directions for all its recipes.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about this app, though, is that it has a feature where you can just type in what you have in the fridge and it will come up with recipes that match what you’ve got! When I typed in “broccoli” and “eggs,” it came up with 32 different recipes – and it wasn’t just omelettes.

ihandy tip calculatorSeveral people have noted the convenience of tipping calculator apps, so I had to check it out for myself. For something as basic as calculating tips, I was adamant about not forking over any money, so I perused some of the free tipping apps to see what I could find.

After reviewing the descriptions and customer ratings, I landed on the iHandy Tip Calculator, which comes as a free version or a 99 cent version. I stuck with the free version, which is very convenient and easy to use.

It allows you to enter in the total bill amount, split it among up to 30 people, and enter a tip of up to 50%. And it gives its results instantly. The interface is super simple and easy to use, making for a great quick app with little hassle.

However, if there’s going to be a whole app devoted to this, it should offer the opportunity to enter in different amounts for each guest (because, after all, we’ve all been at those dinners where people just don’t want to split the bill evenly), because that’s when tipping and calculating gets really complicated. Anyone have any suggestions?

On a scale of 1 to 10, the iHandy Tip Calculator gets a 7.

I was in Orange County this past weekend for my dad’s wedding, and was greeted at the Long Beach airport by my new step-brother, who I was meeting for the first time. It was surprisingly un-awkward.

As he looked up directions to my hotel on his iPhone, he asked me if I was hungry. I jumped at the chance to get some good Mexican food while in southern California. But since we were both from out of town, neither of us had any clue where to go.

yelp mobile search results“Why don’t you Yelp it,” he said. So I pulled up the Yelp app on my phone, chose my “current location,” and typed in “tacos.” Seconds later it produced a long list of Mexican spots within a mile away (one of the many reasons why I love California). With an average rating of four out of five stars, Rosarito’s Mexican Grill looked like a good choice. 20 minutes later we were eating yummy taco platters for under $5 each.

Much like yelp.com, the app offers information, customer reviews, and photos of local businesses around the country. The app one-ups the website by using the phone’s internal GPS, so even if you have no idea where you are, it does (just like the GrubHub app). The mobile version is also cool because it allows you to upload pics, email to a friend and even post a review all from your phone. It’s very convenient if you’re in a new place and looking for something specific, and the best part is that you can read customer reviews before deciding whether or not to go. It even offers a map and directions. And did I mention it’s free?

Overall, this is a good go-to app. My only criticism is that the reviews should be featured more prominently; they’re a little buried in there. On a scale of 1 to 10, this one gets a 9.

Tonight, after an amazingly full day at the Silverdocs Film Fest and the USCRI national conference, I arrived at my hotel exhausted and famished.

I asked the front desk for some takeout menus, dragged myself up the stairs to my room, and plopped onto the bed with a sigh of relief. I looked through the menus, but nothing sounded particularly good. That’s when I remembered GrubHub. GrubHub is an online clearinghouse of restaurants that deliver near you, and most of their listings include a menu that you can order directly from online.

So I checked out the GrubHub app. Overall it functions pretty well, and is essentially the same as the website, but one step better. It uses the built-in GPS to automatically identify where you are, so you don’t even need to enter in an address. It includes ratings, menus, and the online ordering feature.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate this app an 8. It’s functional and useful, but there is something slightly clunky about the interface. I think my standards are going up the more I review these things.

Okay… this post is a little unfair since I started using this app a couple months ago and have since stopped using it, BUT for those looking to count calories, boost their exercise routine and lose some pounds, the Lose It! app is for you.

It’s a great little app (free and functional without wifi) that allows you to set a weight loss goal and track your calorie intake (and output) day to day. It’s great because it has a lot of food calorie estimates – with various portion sizes – already in its database, so it requires very little work from you besides just entering the info. It also has calorie-burning estimates for a whole slew of exercises, from basic things like walking and swimming, to more fun things like darts and sexual activity. The interface is pleasantly user-friendly and very intuitive.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate this app a 9. It’s a great tool, but I wish it had that little something extra to keep me hooked. But maybe that’s my own fault.