A successful app is one that presents relevant, unique content in a variety of useful ways with a minimum of button pushing. A successful food app does all of the above while also putting one’s device at risk of excessive drool exposure. European vacationers be thus advised: Two such apps, currently available for the iPhone, have aimed their global positioning drop pins at the eateries of Paris.
The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris ($4.99, iOS 5 or later) is an electronic version of Patricia Wells’ classic guide book of the same name. It contains over 350 brief reviews written by this established restaurant critic and cooking teacher after 15 months of “visiting, re-visiting, and testing the best of culinary Paris.” Features include listings broken out by category, price and neighborhood, a glossary of French food terms, a somewhat finicky keyword search option and the ability to create one’s own list of favorite spots, as well as an existing list of Wells’ favorites, such as Philou with its “moist and meaty pig’s cheeks.”
For those who feel that dessert is the only meal that matters, there is Paris Pastry ($3.99, iOS 4.3 or later). This app surveys over 300 of the best Parisian pastry, chocolate, candy and hot chocolate shops and is written by David Lebovitz who was a cook at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse in the 90’s before running off to Paris to be an author. Features include a glossary, tons of photos, a variety of search options, Twitter integration and his list of Top 25 locales, such as Fouquet and its “uber-thin spice cookies enrobed in dark or milk chocolate.” The one downside to this app is that it is entirely web-based. No network connection and you go hungry.
Both apps have the ability to provide, via Google Maps, directions from one’s current location to the restaurant of their choosing. Activating this feature from New York results in the sad notification that it’s a 519 hour drive to the rue Royale, with significant water hazards.