Back after a longer holiday break, Funtasty Adventures wishes you all a great, very happy and tasty year 2013! With all honesty, I must admit that I am a bit behind on supper club research. The festive season was more dedicated to feeding the family. Therefore the first post this year is about Foodspotting, a new little gadget I’ve recently spotted. At first sight, Foodspotting might look like another restaurant guide, but it’s not. In fact it’s a dish guide. And before you start complaining that this has nothing to do with the culinary underground, go to www.foodspotting.com and feed the search with “supper club” or “underground restaurant”. Not that this will deliver a comprehensive list, but hey: Rome wasn’t built in one day, and likewise, Foodspotting deserves some patience I think.
So how does Foodspotting work? Imagine you suddenly feel a ravenous appetite for a certain dish, let’s say Spaghetti Vongole. You would usually search for an Italian restaurant, ideally one with tons of excellent reviews – and could still get hugely disappointed: That Carlo or Mario in the kitchen might be the God of Pizza, but he’s Neptun’s disgrace once he gets his hands on any type of seafood. I’m sure you are getting the idea by now: On Foodspotting, you enter “Spaghetti Vongole”, and the site will help you find the best or alternatively the closest place that has Spaghetti Vongole on the menu. And together with the directions it delivers you the ratings from other users. You can also type in the name of a restaurant you want to go to and check if other people recommend specific dishes from that restaurant. With time and if you are lucky, you will even identify users whose recommendations you can trust because you’ve experienced they lead you to great places, and you will specifically look for things they have highlighted.
Yeah, Foodspoting is based on a simple and popular logic many recommendation systems are built on these days: The masses can’t be wrong! Not that I would usually share that logic, I rather don’t. But think about it: Why should I trust one anonymous restaurant tester who puts his thumbs up or down like a Roman emperor so much more than the hungry crowds? Who knows, the testing guy might just have heavily argued with his wife over the phone. And when the waiter arrives with his plate, he is in the mood for many things except culinary delights. Or out of 25 rather mediocre dishes on the menu, two may be absolutely outstanding. But the tester ordered something else, and that’s it: I will miss a heavenly taste experience.
No, I’m not saying that Foodspotting is the ultimate guide to good food. Also, it’s in early stages, so don’t expect too much too soon. But it looks like an interesting new approach to me. And if I made anyone curious: Foodspotting is available on your computer or comes packed into one small app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry – see www.foodspotting.com.