Dating: iPhone Applications for Food Will Save Your Butt (even if you don’t exactly have an iPhone)

See this post in its original format on Speed LA Dating.

So, you’re tooling around town with that special someone when suddenly, hunger strikes. You need food, and you need it fast. You also need it to work for your low-carb, low-fat, macrobiotic vegan diet. Or however it is you happen to be eating this month. Hey, nobody’s judging. It is LA after all.

Fortunately, in this land of Mozza and Matsuhisa, Oki Dog and Kogi BBQ, there are as many options for satisfying your stomach as there are surgeries for stapling it up afterward. Which begs the question – when you’re standing on the sidewalk in a strange part of the city, trying to impress your date with that perfect palate pleasing pick, how do you figure out which restaurant is the right one?

Lucky for you, there just so happens to be an app for that — and no, I’m not just talking about the drool-worthy biscuits at Animal on Fairfax. I’m talking about the kind of app that accessorizes your phone and makes your life a whole lot easier in the process. And, in fact, there are multiple applications that can turn your favorite iPhone, iPod, Droid, Hero, Blackberry, Palm or carrier pigeon into your very own, personalized Zagat Guide. Okay, so you’re probably not going to find an app for your favorite carrier pigeon. But, I guarantee you, any of these apps will help you find a place that’ll serve that sucker up on a silver platter.

Everyone knows about Yelp. Even my mother – who thinks Twitter is something you do when you’re stifling laughter – knows about Yelp. But, did you know that Yelp has a secret, special feature? It’s what’s called an “Easter egg” in the web business, and basically, it turns your iPhone 3GS into a 3D experience. Using technology known as augmented reality, the Yelp app will literally layer Yelp’s listings over the real, live world. So you can literally see what’s near you, and what other people think of the place — sort of like google street view for your cell phone. Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry. The Layar app will do the same 3D thing with even more features — you can set favorites, see stories about what you’re looking at and more. And, it works on any Android phone, as well as on the iPhone.

Augmented reality is awesome and all, but what if you just want to find a place that fits your picky preferences? Enter UrbanSpoon. This fun little app lets you set up a search by location, cuisine and cost. You can also set separate filters like popularity, no chains, distance, etc. Or, for a really fun experience, just turn it on, and shake it up. It makes a sound like a slot machine and serves up a random mix of results — perfect for picking out an appetizing adventure. You can get it for the iPhone and Blackberry, and you can also get it on any phone via text.

So, you’ve shaken your phone, seen the wonderful world of augmented reality and finally picked the perfect place to take your date. Now what? Well, if you’re smart, you’ll bust out yourOpenTable app and start setting up some reservations. Don’t have an app-friendly phone? No problem. Just hit the mobile version

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