Android users in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, or Washington DC can find food trucks with the app TruxMap Lite, from Los Angeles developer Frank Pardo. (This free app is also available for iOS.) Pardo aggregates tweets about current and future food truck appearances and puts them on a map. The information is also available on the TruxMap website: http://www.foodtrucksmap.com. This large map carries more information than the apps do. It covers 38 cities in the United States and Canada.
As the food truck craze has grown and spread across the nation, web sites and apps have developed to help the hungry track down a mobile meal. The granddaddy of them all is Roaming Hunger, launched by Los Angeles entrepreneur Ross Resnick in 2009 to collate food truck tweets and to put them on a map. Roaming Hunger now follows food trucks in 34 cities and also features a search and booking function for registered trucks. Resnick even uses his site to offer advice to entrepreneurs thinking of starting their own food truck business.
Roaming Hunger is available as a free iOS app that allows users to filter their food truck searches by “sweet”, “savory”, or “vegetarian”. There is no Roaming Hunger app for Android.
GiftRocket is a new web-based app that connects with PayPal to wire money for any business listed in Yelp to anyone with an email address and a smart phone. Say that you have a pal in San Francisco who put you up over the weekend. You want to thank him with a gift certificate for his favorite restaurant. Send him the certificate from the GiftRocket site and pay for it with a credit card or via PayPal. (GiftRocket charges 5% extra for credit card processing fees.) When your friend arrives at the restaurant (which will be confirmed by the GPS on his cell phone), he can redeem the gift certificate. Well, “redeem.” What happens is that your money flows into his PayPal account. From there, he can spend it as he will.
That old Italian place around the corner? That Thai joint down the street? Maybe they will give you a discount! Register for free to check it out on Restaurant.com. Perhaps the fanciest joints in town are not on this list. But maybe you will find that the restaurants you love most will give you a break on your bill.
Browse Gray Lady recipe archives by keyword or from the drop down “Cooking and Dining Topics” menu based on category (“Quick Appetizers” or “Hanukkah”) or food item (“Apples” or “Meatloaf.”) Search and view these recipes from your mobile phone Web browser [http://mobile.nytimes.com/recipes].
Don’t have the energy to go out for a meal? Who delivers? Snapfinger knows. Enter your city to see which (mostly national chain) restaurants near you deliver or encourage pickup. Order online through the site, a widget on your PC desktop, your mobile phone browser, or via the free iPhone app [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snapfinger-restaurant-ordering/id328071835?mt=8]. I wonder if I can get Snapfinger not only to deliver, but to feed me, too?
In their book, Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds–or More! [Rodale, 2007; ISBN-13: 978-1594868542], David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding compare similar foods with wildly different nutritional content. On this site, they compare restaurant offerings and suggest that, if we make the right choices, we can shed pounds without actually having to count calories. Browse national restaurant chains by name or food type to see their overall grades for a healthy, nutritious menu. (Au Bon Pain: A-; Applebee’s: F) There are nutrition tips here, too, along with a “Menu Decoder” to help us understand what are the best choices while eating out.