Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, Louisville, Greenville, S.C.? I got you covered. Charleston, Asheville, Birmingham? I have enough experience, and more importantly, informed foodie friends who can confirm what's good and bad. But when it comes to New York CIty, Chicago, L.A. or San Francisco, there are so many options that I in no way consider myself a credible source of information.
Sure you can Yelp it, and I do that often when I visit a new town, but there's something to be said for having access to a curated list of restaurant picks by professionals. Enter a free new iOS app for iPhone or iPad called "Find. Eat. Drink."
This program has compiled the favorite restaurants from chefs, pitmasters, bartenders, sommeliers and authors from all over the world, including Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ in Austin, Allan Benton, Bobby Flay, Donald Link, Ed Lee, Hugh Acheson, John Besh, Jonathan Waxman, Marcus Samuelsson and many others from the bottom half of the alphabet. (You get the picture.) Our own Chef Margot McCormack contributes her love for Benton's bacon and Prince's in her list of superlatives. Pat Martin gives a shout-out to Siler's Old Time BBQ in Henderson, Tenn.
Their recommendations cover everything from hole-in-the-wall bars and barbecue joints to white tablecloth fine dining along with short capsule summaries of what they love about each restaurant. Geographically, the app covers many of the largest food-centric towns that you'd expect, but also many small towns that are notable for one particular restaurant that is worth road-tripping for. The developers also promise Nashville will be among the next wave of town that are included in the search function.
You can compile and save your own lists form the pro's suggestions if, for example, you'd like to develop a roster of places to visit on your next trip to New Orleans or a bucket list of barbecue spots that need trying. While I'm not too worried about my imminent replacement by a computer (until they develop the ability to create really bad puns), I think that Find. Eat. Drink. is a nice compromise between fully user-curated services like Yelp and guides that the result of one particular critic's work like Road Food or this little bit of hackery.
And hey, you can't beat the price and portability of the advice. It's like having Pat Martin in your pocket. Ugh, now I have to get that image out of my brain ...