It can be a humbling experience standing in front of a cheese counter attempting to understand the difference between a Montasio cheese out of Italy and a Montasio Festivo from the U.S (hint: one’s made from goat’s milk and the other from cow). Likewise, selecting a new cocktail at the bar or a roll at your favorite sushi bar. Fortunately, there are some very helpful pocket guides to help you order with confidence.
8500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes Free
Developer: Webworks & Applications
Runs on: iPhone
As advertised in the name, this app offers enough drinks to give even Don Draper a hangover. Open the app and you’re offered the choice of navigating through drinks by Categories, Ingredients, Favorites, All Drinks or Random. Favorites is an easy-to-add go-to list of your favorite drinks. When you find a favorite drink, simply click on the star in the top right of the drink screen and it’s added to your favorite list. Each drink includes a simple list of ingredients, which can be checked for when you need to hit the liquor store, along with instructions and a large button to e-mail the cocktail.
With 8,500+ drinks, navigation is the key to this app. Categories is a nice option because you can sift through shots, party drinks, cocoa drinks and more. Once inside a category you can scroll or refine the selections through the search bar, which could use some work. For example, if you want to make a carbomb (Guinness stout, Bailey’s Irish cream and Whiskey) you must spell the name as a single word, e.g., “car bomb” delivers no results. To its credit, the results filter as you type.
Another knock on this app is that when sifting through the ingredients list, you have to scroll through all the ingredients—no search or jumping to a specific part of the list alphabetically. Moreover, adding multiple ingredients is a little clunky–however, once you have your ingredients listed, the results are solid.
The fun in this app is the random drink generator. Shake your phone and a new drink appears. It would be neat if you could generate a random drink based on category–as it is, the drinks seem to be random, based on all 8,500+ options. Overall, a solid app with information you could drown in, but could use some improvement. (A Pro version is available for $0.99 and will not have ads).
Toque Rating: 3/5
Developer: Tokiolabs, LLC
Runs on: iPhone
Sushi is like American Idol–people either love it or hate it. For those who love it, this is a must-have app. Users can sort through the sushi options by name/ingredient, attributes (spicy, cooked fish, etc.), what’s in season, or a random generator. There are a couple of things that stand out with this app. The seasonal menu, for example, makes wading through a long list much more manageable when all you want is what’s fresh. What also makes this app a star is the attributes legend shown when scrolling through the vast library of rolls. With a quick glance you can see if each roll has no meat, raw fish, is spicy or includes cooked fish.
The overall app is very well designed with slick transitions from one screen to the next and subtle animations that make the overall experience feel more robust. The true stars of this app, though, are the pictures. Each roll includes a small thumbnail, as well as a gorgeous zoom of each item. The individual descriptions are also very clear with ingredient descriptions, seasonal legend, and facts about the sushi and ingredients. A click on the star that appears below the picture will add the roll to your favorites list.
If there’s a knock on this app, it’s that vegetarians will be yearning for more options. Sorting by “no meat” offers only a pitiful four rolls. So if you like sushi without the fish, drop your hook elsewhere. For everyone else, you’ll want to call-in or text your vote for this as your new favorite food app. (A Pro version is available for $0.99 and will not have ads).
Toque Rating: 5/5
Developer: Steve Welch
Runs on: iPhone
It’s almost embarrassing how ritual most of us are when picking up cheese at the grocer—cheddar, swiss, mozzarella—all great cheeses, but there is so much more out there. This app provides insight to over 750 cheeses and helps organize them by Region, Milk Type, Texture, and Favorites. Users can also conduct a search or jump to names by alphabet.
What stands out in this app is that each cheese is accompanied with a picture, wine pairing, and detailed description of the cheeses’ make, flavor, texture and more.
Another standout feature is the Notes option, which allows you to check pre-defined keywords to associate with your tasting—along with location and date fields, price and a star rating. You can also save cheeses to your Favorites list, and even sort those by ones you’ve tried or wish to buy.
Unlike the other pocket guides, there is no random cheese selector/generator, which would be nice with so many cheese options. Another desired feature would be to offer some recipes where each cheese can shine—that is, when you’re not enjoying them a la carte. One final cheesy wish is to have the app recommend cheese based on previous likes and dislikes, kind of like Netflix.
With Fromage, the cheese counter will be less intimidating and your taste buds will be happier because of it. Overall, this app delivers and is definitely worth the price tag.
Toque Rating: 4/5