Technology Provides Infinite Food Resources

I’m so lucky to live in Chicago. There are a ton of great chefs that have opened some of the world’s best restaurants.  It is the town where Matt Maloney and Mike Evans conceived GrubHub and where Open Table’s Chuck Templeton resides. We’ve know our food here!

Whether I want to eat food, read about food or make food, I always head to my tech gadgets. Here’s some of my favorite resources:

Eat Food: I love GrubHub. Whether my family has a taste for Chinese, Pizza or Italian, I can just whip out my app and order from our favorite restaurants. Simplicity at its best. When we’re ready to go out for dinner, Open Table is a must. It’s easy to see when reservations are available at the hottest new restaurants. Earning points and being able to make reservations from anywhere at anytime is awesome.

Read About and Make Food: These two categories roll into one, since many food blogs contain recipes. One of my favorite blogs is Werd. I search under man food and it comes up with all of these great food ideas and recipes that I probably would have never have come up with on my own. Blue Kitchen is another great blog that has simple recipes with a ton of photos. Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, Evil Shenanigans is the blog for you.

If you don’t want to eat, read about or make food there are plenty of options to watch it. From the Food Network and the Cooking Channel to PBS to movies, there’s are plenty of options to keep you sated. One of my favorites: Julie & Julia.

I want to know what your favorite food-related apps and blogs are. Share them with me on Twitter: @RyanKDean

The views and options posted on this blog are my own and are not representative of the views of any party or organization I am affiliated with.


Wine Lovers Flock to Technology For New Discoveries

I love technology and I love to go out and have a great time with my friends and family. When these two things blend, it makes life even better!

I shared with you earlier about my experience at City Winery and today I want to talk about how wine has impacted the tech sector and vice versa.

Those of us who love wine are always exploring what new blends have made it into the marketplace. Many of us even belong to a wine of the month club. Hey, who doesn’t love wine delivered to their front door.

Even this wine lover’s staple has joined the tech world. ClubW just received $3.1 million dollars in venture capital money to bring personalization to their subscribers.  Members fill out taste quizzes and provide reviews and feedback on each shipment, resulting in a personalized profile. As time goes on, a machine algorithm will continue to tailor selectors to a subscriber’s palate. Pretty cool!

Sometimes, I wish I had a sommelier with me when I’m out shopping for dinner party parings and for BYO adventures. Luckily, there are a ton of apps in the marketplace that can be quickly downloaded to save the day. The Daily Grape is a pretty awesome app for Apple Products. Gary Vaynercuk post educational post every day. He’s a pretty cool dude. Pair It is another neat piece of technology. The developers of this app partnered with chef and wine expert Bruce Riezenman to provide you with 20,000 food and wine matches.

Technology is even helping us find local wine events in our area and the area that we are traveling in. Another cool app – aptly named Wine Events – lets you search for local wine events within its simple interface. Take it with you everywhere!

Sometimes you just need to stay local. We’re lucky that in Chicago, we have a great set of wine bars and a great magazine to provide us with recommendations. Chicago Magazine recently named Ada St., Bar Pastoral, The Bluebird, RM Champagne Salon, Telegraph and Vera their top six wine bars in Chicago. Time to check those off the list!

Tell me, how do you discover new wines? Do you use technology or get referrals from friends? Tweet me: @RyanKDean.

The views and options posted on this blog are my own and are not representative of the views of any party or organization I am affiliated with.

The Best of the Best of 2012

new year

There’s no better way to look back on 2012 then to review the year-end lists other organizations have compiled. I’ve always wanted them to be compiled in one spot, so I thought I would do this for you!

Before I dive into these lists, I want to share one of the coolest honors that happened this past year. Home is where the heart is and my town, Downers Grove, ranked as the eighth friendliest town according to Forbes. In my opinion, this is the best blog of the year.

That wasn’t the only cool thing that happened in 2012. Here are the best of the best of 2012:

The Top Ten Most Viral Videos: Kony takes number one on Mashable’s list. Not only did the video take this honor, but it was the most viral video in history.

The Best Books of 2012: No matter what genre you read or what age you are, NPR has a best books list for you all. I’m happy to say I’ve read many of them this year.

Chicago’s Best Restaurants: There is no better way to rate Chicago restaurants than with Michelin Stars. I’ve been to many of these establishments. Have you?

The Best Microbrews: Ask Men developed a great list of microbrews and their corresponding breweries. This list is enough to make your mouth water.

The Best Android and iPhone Game: Whether your pledge your phone allegiance to Android or Apple, there is a game for you on this list. Angry Birds Star Wars anyone?

The Best of Chicago in Photos: The Chicago Reader compiled some great photos that encompass the best of Chicago. These photos are simply gorgeous.

Interesting Facts About the U.S. Economy: This is a not-so-funny list of facts, but nonetheless a great list from The Economic Collapse.

For Everyone Else: Just in case there was a list I missed that piqued your interest, Google has a list of every topic you can imagine.

What will 2013 have in store for you? HAPPY NEW YEAR, make it awesome.

– “Opportunity knocks at the strangest times. It’s not the time that matters, But how you answer the door.” -Steve Gray

Plan and Survive Black Friday with Tech

Black Friday can be hard for shoppers to navigate. There are so many deals out there and opportunities to price match, why shouldn’t technology jump in and help streamline your shopping experience?

The Daily Herald recently compiled a list of apps, QR codes and other technology available to help shoppers get the best deals. Here’s a list of my favorites:

  • Shop Savvy: Pull out your smartphone, scan the price of your item and search for the best in-store and online deals on your Apple and Android devices.
  • Find My Car: Let’s face it, there’s at least one time a year where we all can’t find our car in a crowded parking lot. There’s an app for that.
  • Black Friday Deals 2012: This app will find all of your ads and deals in one spot, which updates on multiple times daily.
  • SitOrSquat: Restroom Finder: This app from Charmin can help you find the closest public bathroom. With all the shopping you are doing, you never know when you are going to need one.
  • This Chicago-based company has an app available that enables users to transform paper coupons into digital versions for scanning.  No more paper to lose or stuff into your pockets.
  • Shopkick: You might as well earn something extra from all of that shopping. You can earn kickbucks for checking in and scanning items that can be redeemed for gift cars. This is only available on your Android.
  • MyCityWay: This app brings together 30 apps, helping you to avoid traffic, plan your route, find local transportation options and view 400 traffic cams. You can search for stores and find sales. It even helps you pinpoint bathrooms and Wi-Fi connections.

Are there any apps you think I left off of the list? Tweet them to me: @RyanKDean