A couple months ago, I was in Los Angeles for work. After days of hotel food at a conference, I was really looking forward to a friend's birthday dinner, particularly because the place we were going came based on a recommendation of someone I knew by reputation - and would be meeting later that night - food writer and founder of Food GPS, Josh Lurie.
I've got to tell you that between Josh of Food GPS and another friend, Stacey Sun of DineLA, the way I eat in southern California (and particularly Los Angeles) has completely changed. That night, for instance, Josh recommended and joined us at a little Korean seafood BBQ place in L.A.'s Korea Town called Jae Bu Do. It was a revelation to me - and I'm Korean. Friends, it was SO good (yep, and that's why I'm not a food writer...). I'm really looking forward to the next time I'm able to go, though I'm not sure when it'll be, as it's not really child-friendly (cooking on table top grills with real fire = yummy food but dangerous conditions with small children).
The thing is, when I'm hungry and in transit (which happens more often than you'd believe), I don't want to spend time perusing a website. In all honesty, I can read Josh's reviews of restaurants for pure pleasure - he's a very talented writer, but when I'm hungry, I just want to know where I can find something decent to eat. So, more often than not, I'd rack my brain for random tidbits I'd picked up from friends, try hit-or-miss places I came across, or in my best moments, text or tweet Stacey (DineLA) and ask for her recs, which just as often came from Josh (they're good friends).
So when Josh told me that he was launching a Food GPS iPhone app (Android version coming soon), I was super excited. It costs $1.99, and for that you get recommendations for 125 restaurants in SoCal, including descriptions, suggested menu items, great photos, GPS enabled turn-by-turn directions, one-touch calling, and all the restaurants' "vitals" (e.g. hours, website, etc.). I gotta say - I love it. So, for any of you out there, who live in SoCal, are planning to visit SoCal (admittedly, this app works much better for LA, Orange County, and the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys than for San Diego or Riverside), or and want some really good food (and we're not talking all fine dining either - there are lots of little hidden gems and neighborhood holes-in-the-wall type restaurants featured too), I highly recommend the app.
Also, check out the Food GPS website/blog for a broader perspective on eating - Josh and some colleagues write about food and eating all over the United States, in cities in Canada, Mexico, and various Asian countries. It makes you realize that even as a lifelong denizen of a specific area, there are so many amazing eating experiences you've been missing. Food blogs are a dime a dozen these days, but this one is really not to be missed.
Full disclosure: Josh actually sent me a promo code to download and try the app for free, but I let it expire like a ninny. Therefore, I bought and paid for the app (which to be completely honest, I was more comfortable doing anyway) and the review of it above is my honest take on it. I do hope that they'll add more restaurants to it as time goes on, especially in San Diego, but that's my only real complaint and I can live with it, since I know San Diego better anyway.