Expert-Approved V-Day Dinner: Thanks To Find. Eat. Drink. App

Imagine this: it’s Valentine’s Day, and you’re dining on truffle pizza with your date at a restaurant beloved by her favorite chef. You’re both whispering and giggling over champagne-infused cocktails only a top mixologist would approve. And what your date doesn’t know, is that back at home you have a box of her favorite chocolates that happen to be her favorite baker’s # 1 choice. But how would you know that every bit of your night has been expert-approved? The answer: the new Find. Eat. Drink. iPhone app, the world’s first travel guide curated by the top people in the culinary world.

In NYC, it’s easy to get lost in the bitter Yelp rants about service, and tied to your humdrum going-out routine. The recently-launched Find. Eat. Drink app brings you back to the reason you moved to New York in the first place: you want the best. And there’s no better place to turn than to the app’s catalogue of 340 experts – chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and artisans – who are pioneering the trends and recommending restaurants from 120 cities across the world. Each recommendation comes with a profile of not only the culinary pro, but also the establishment they so love.

The expert-touch extends beyond the app’s content; FED (acronym intentional) is created by former Food Network producer and host Robin Dorian, and Nick Bumstead, former manager of Chambers Street Wines. The app is an extension of FED’s official website, which has the same concept as the app, and a blog that’s updated multiple times a day.

Plus, the app is just really, really good looking. It’s orange and sleek, and all so easy to use. Actually, it’s too easy; there’s no reason you shouldn’t be downloading it for free and using it tonight. There’s still time…

Download the Find.Eat.Drink. app here, and follow Bonnie on Twitter.

In Their Own Words: Four Entrepreneurs’ Favorite Apps

What do a dominatrix, two celebrity chefs, and a fitness founder have in common? Not much. So we brought them all together under one umbrella question: “What is your favorite app?”And like most things that can fit inside your phone and purse, these apps give great insight into who these stop-at-nothing entrepreneurs are. It’s like hacking into someone’s cellphone, but with descriptive consent. Here are these four visionaries’ favorite apps, in their own words.

Aarón Sanchez
Aarón Sanchez is the co-star of two Food Network series (Chopped and Heat Seekers), and the culinary visionary behind NYC’s taqueria Tacombi, Kansas City’s Mestizo, and Crossroads restaurant at House of Blues nationwide. Sanchez was recently a guest chef at the White House and received the “National Award” at the Flavors of Passion Awards, honoring the nation’s best Latin chefs.

"Since my wife, a pro musician, and I are constantly on the road, we like to use SongKick to find which of our favorite bands are playing in the cities we travel to. It’s also a great way to track lesser-known artists who may not have the reach of bigger acts. It’s brilliant.”

Brynn Jinnett
Brynn Jinnett is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet and the founder of Refine Method, a chain of boutique circuit training studios in NYC, whose clients have included Ivanka Trump and Kelly Ripa. Rooted in the latest research in exercise science, Refine exercises your body by using its own weight – pairing squats, kicks, and pushes with its own unique pulley system and high-intensity cardio. Since opening in 2010, Jinnett’s Method has exploded, expanding to three locations across NYC.

“My favorite app is MindBody Biz Mode [FREE], which allows me to schedule clients on my iPhone. With our third location opening this month on the Upper West Side, it’s great to be able to manage multiple locations while on the go!”

Hung Huynh
As the executive chef of NYC’s Catch seafood restaurant in Meatpacking and third season-winner of Top Chef, Hung Huynh is joining with EMM Group again to open the second outpost of Catch in South Beach, inside the James Royal Palm on Collins Avenue.

“My favorite app, Seafood Watch [FREE], keeps me up-to-date with current and fresh fish from the area’s nearby restaurants and stores, inspires new ideas, and educates me on the importance of sustainable seafood.”

Nina Payne
Nina Payne is the founder and president of Domi Dollz, a company of professional dominatrixes who bring kink out of the dungeon and into the mainstream with their New York-based workshops and educational performances. This month, the Dollz are launching their first eBook titled Kinky Amour; with personal stories and kinky tips from Payne and company, as well as video tutorials and photographs, the Dollz’ teachings will be downloadable and available worldwide.

“The Domi Dollz love the Dirty Game – Truth or Dare app [FREE]: it’s a huge collection of very naughty and wild truth or dares. It’s such fun to revisit the game we played as teenagers, bring the app to parties, and spice things up.” 

NY Navigation Made Easy With New NYC Around Town App

In the tech world, specificity is everything; tweets can now be emailed, Instagram galleries are finally online, and according to your sidebar advertisements, Facebook knows you’re freaking out that you might be pregnant. So why stop there? Say hello to the NYC Around Town app, launched by ACE, a 20-year-old non-profit that helps the homeless find employment and support networks.

Unlike most navigation apps that cover multiple cities and take two-and-a-half minutes to fully load on your phone, NYC Around Town hones in on strictly New York, navigating you in a jiffy. Its focus: helping you discover the best shops, restaurants, and hotels in heavily-trodden neighborhoods like Soho, NoHo, the West Village, Midtown, Tribeca, and areas of the Bronx, all thanks to that handy guy named GPS. Plus, it gives you specific reviews and information on the place, making it easy to call, book a reservation, and share via Facebook and Twitter – instantly. And we love instant. We also love free. Which it is. Hot damn, that’s even better.

Download the NYC Around Town app on your iPhone or Android here

These Are the iPhone Apps You Should Download this Month

Fargo Soundboard [Free]
When the Coen brothers made Fargo, their big-time paean to small-town crime, they did not anticipate the film would rack up two Oscars.that, they thought, was rarer than a snowball in hell. Little did they know that 15 years later some crazy computer jockey would honor their classic with a compendium of memorable soundbites. All the .Minnesota nice. colloquialisms are here to remind you that .You betcha!. was a catchphrase long before that dame from Wasilla claimed it as her own.

 
Despite the misleading name, this app does not chronicle the many Manolos of one Carrie Bradshaw. What it does is generate a personalized fashion show inspired by the best street style in Paris and New York (sorry, Milan). Download looks from the models, editors, and buyers who swarm Fashion Week and set them slideshow-style to your favorite Ting Tings track. The result is far more lively than your average style blog.
 
One day, you.ll be able to sit your grandchildren down and say, .I was there.. They.ll say, .For what, Grand-Mé?. That.s whenyou’ll take the heart-shaped locket from around your neck, open it, and reveal the faded image of Edward Cullen.s porcelain visage. Yes, you old bag.you were once a Twihard. And because you.ve been so devoted to the lusty vampire saga, you.ll definitely want this official Twilight movies app to get up-to-the-minute news about this month.s The Twilight Saga.Breaking Dawn, Part 1. (Also to post threats to Kristen Stewart on the public message board.) Now can we please stop talking to the future you?
It.s confusing.
 
This portable portal into the past lets you snap a photo of your local cityscape and find out what was there before all those Wal-Marts. Pivot with the compass to find nearby windows onto history, then examine the historic photographs uploaded by your neighbors. A transition fade effect lets you superimpose the vintage view onto the contemporary, observing what has changed for better or worse. At the very least you’ll travel back in time to last year, when augmented reality was
all the rage.
 
iSpoof Walken [$0.99]
Before Fatboy Slim and Spike Jonze teamed up to convert Christopher Walken into a cult-y kook, he was still kinda crazy.you just didn.t know it. Now that the secret.s out, some savvy app developers have taken advantage of Walken.s peculiar brand of weirdness to create this ode to the arch duke of halting speech. Each item in the interactive .personal study. has a story behind it. With one touch of a finger, you can call upon the Walken avatar to predict the future, bro down on his favorite sports, sing, and even swear at you. Think of him as the crazy uncle you never knew you wanted.
 
The A.V. Club is about as serious as the Onion gets. In the special entertainment section, the paper’s legendary satirists let their pop culture nerd-flags fly. Now this dedicated film app lets you power-gorge on all the movie news, interviews, features, and reviews you can cram into your cranium. When you.re finished absorbing the Onion.s unique take on the film festival circuit, turn to special features like the New Cult Canon and Scenic Routes.
 
Among the many fine attributes of alcohol.including its ability to render dinner with your parents a tolerable affair.is the fact that it lends itself to experimentation. With Pocket Cocktails, you can finally unlock the Secrets of the Spirits. The exhaustive recipe Rolodex includes exotic drinks with names like the Presbyterian and the Missouri Mule. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions, then compare your work to the high-quality images. And to think all this time,
you thought a vodka tonic was as good as it gets.

W Hotels Have New Concierge Robots & DJs

People are really taking advantage of their hotel concierges these days. Take the W Hotel. Not only does their concierge team suggest the best places to eat, drink, and shop in the area, and order up room service at the drop of a hat, but they are also personal DJs who help you plan your itinerary with tips on local happenings—and they Tweet for their guests. That’s because in addition to old-school human concierges, W Hotels now have robots—otherwise known as iPhone apps.

W Hotels recently released the W Hotels Worldwide app, a free application that provides information like photos, maps, booking capabilities, and mini travel guides surrounding each of the Starwood brand’s hotels. The apps also ups the ante by providing users with unique music content, curated by Michaelangelo L’Aqua, W Hotel’s music director. Through a collaboration with Coca Cola’s energy drink Burn, emerging DJs will be showcased via the ‘W Hotels and burn DJ Lab.’ There will be an offline component, too, a global tour featuring these DJs, which will also be streamed via the app.

You might be wondering what this has to do with your hotel stay—especially if you have no desire to listen to music (to which we ask: what’s wrong with you?). The app gives you access to room service at just a swipe of a screen, saving you from calling the front desk, or figuring out what extension to dial for towels versus tuna tar tar. Even if you aren’t staying in the hotel, you can order anything from their store and send it anywhere in the world.

TripAdvisor released the results of a US survey that said 60 percent of Americans have downloaded travel apps, and a further 38 percent have used them to plan a trip. To which we say: Download the BlackBook travel guides here! After you figure out what nabe you want to stay in, download the W Hotel app here.

iFidelity: Our Favorite iPhone Apps This Month

K-Swiss Tubes Muscle Machine [Free] If you’re looking to beef up, look no further. Let Eastbound & Down’s Kenny Powers take your brawn to the next level. Work out as he crankily barks alongside you, leading you through a set of hardcore drills such as sweat-inducing jumping jacks, push-ups, and curls—all while using your phone as a weight. (A heavy one, we know.) In between repetitions, admire full views of K-Swiss Tubes, the freshest kicks in town. (In the words of 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, “Can we have our money now?”)

McSweeny’s [$5.99] For quite some time, they’ve had an internet tendency, and now the editors at McSweeney’s, the wry publishing house created by literary darling Dave Eggers, have created an app “to fill your moments of solitude, moments of togetherness, and moments of intolerable boredom.” Featuring stories from the Quarterly, interviews from their monthly magazine, The Believer, short films from their DVD series, Wholphin, and plain-old bad advice courtesy of Amy Sedaris, McSweeney’s finally gives us an excuse to put the Antoine Dodson soundboard to bed. The McSweeney’s app is, dare we say it, a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Byook [$.99] Thanks to Byook, reading no longer needs to be restricted to the written word. Enrich the books you love with pictures, animations, and sounds that further immerse readers in the world of their favorite stories. Dive into Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and let your imagination run free as you interact with the mystery—hear bloodcurdling screams and the pitter-patter of rainfall, and shudder as the blood of severed arteries splatters across your iPhone screen. We don’t want to sound crazy or anything, but we can’t wait until Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho gets the Byook treatment.

Front Desk Guides [Free] Like a teeny-weeny concierge in your coat pocket, Front Desk directs travelers to the finest restaurants, boutiques, and bars across the country. Comprehensive listings, maps, and insider features provide suggestions for where to get your gettin’ on. Front Desk editors, along with the finest concierges from America’s top hotels and resorts, offer their picks for everything from the best rooftop lounges to the chicest shops.

Martha Stewart Makes Cookies [$2.99] Although we’ve dreamed of sewing ponchos in prison with M. Diddy, second on our list would be baking sweets with the doyenne of the domestic. Her new app, Martha Stewart Makes Cookies, is a confectionary frenzy, with an archive of 50 recipes, from old-fashioned oatmeal cookies to banana whoopie pies, whatever those are. Can’t decide what to make? Give the cookie search wheel a spin to mix and match your favorite types and flavors. Enjoy Stewart’s step-by-step instructional videos, built-in timers, and personalized grocery lists, and even learn how to artfully package your goodies like she does—only, you know, not as well.

Real Haunted Houses [$.99] With Real Haunted Houses, wannabe ghost whisperers can now visit all those places that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention—without actually having to commune with Casper. Peer into over 100 “real” haunted houses from around the world. Each house features bone-chilling, terror-inducing images, alongside detailed stories about who’s haunting whom, and why. It’s all very Poltergeist, but without that maggot scene.

Stress Free with Deepak Chopra [$1.99] The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of inhaling doughnuts or huffing cocktails, try taking a moment to breathe using Stress Free with Deepak Chopra. Sign up for his anxiety-reduction program and give your body the recharge it needs to ease into spring. The app takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to de-stressing through exercises that work your mind, body, and soul. Follow the master’s six steps to ridding your life of bad energy through guided meditation, proper nutrition, yoga, and music therapy. As the guru once said, Heed our advice and download this month’s loudest, ghostliest, and brainiest iPhone apps.

iFidelity: A New Class of Apps That Make the Grade

The Real L Word [FREE] Showtime’s new reality series, The Real L Word, follows the lives of six comely and successful Los Angeles lesbians (see page 119). A spinoff of the network’s original scripted drama, The L Word, the real-life version boasts all the glamour and cutthroat competition that L.A. is famous for. The show’s app provides access to the cast’s favorite places to eat, drink and gossip. Check into their chosen venues via Foursquare, gain insider deals through Access Perks, read their blog entries and watch videos to keep up with all the trouble they get into.

imageStanza [FREE] Stanza is not just a digital book reader—it’s the digital book reader, unrivaled in selection and organization. The app invites bookworms to download more than 50,000 titles and import their ePub, eReader and Mobipocket books from their computers onto their phones. Plus, it’s much more convenient than lugging around a Tolstoy hardcover.

imageThe iBall [FREE] Since we were kids, the Magic 8-Ball has been the go-to authority for all of life’s major dilemmas (although perhaps it’s come to mean something more prurient as we’ve gotten older). Much like version 1.0, the iBall needs only a quick shake to reveal your fortune. It also caters to a bevy of specific lifestyles: switch between themes that include “Zen” (for Buddhists), “WWJD” (for Christians) and “New Year’s Resolutions” (for smokers and binge-eaters).

imageFARO Nerd Detector [FREE] Are you naked without a pair of Buddy Holly glasses? Do you work in I.T.? Can you quote the Na’vi from Avatar? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re definitely a nerd. Users can measure their levels of social ineptitude by uploading a photo of themselves into this app, which delivers the verdict using high-tech facial recognition and photo enhancement. Translation: Upload a picture and use the app to get fitted with A/V-worthy costumes and nerdy backgrounds. Better yet, turn Biff the Quarterback into Worf the Klingon with the click of a button.

image100 Words to Make You Sound Smart [$2.99] Based on a book of the same name, this app cuts the “unsmart” crap out of the dictionary and emphasizes sharp verbal acumen. Each word, carefully selected by the editors of The American Heritage Dictionary, is defined and linked to its usage in publications, speeches and popular culture. It’s a speedy resource for those who don’t have enough time to read the dictionary—again.

imageBrain Trainer by Lumosity [FREE] Lumosity is a cognitive research company that partnered with the world’s leading neuroscientists to boost intellectual capacity. Now, thanks to the iPhone, its brain games are available to the rest of us. Brain Trainer features daily mind exercises meant to strengthen memory while evaluating speed, attention and problem-solving skills. Playing these games for a few minutes each day can help users achieve genius status faster than they can say, “Sarah Palin, parasailing!”

imageNerd Workout [$.99] A tool designed specifically for those whose biggest muscle sits atop their narrow shoulders, Nerd Workout measures the number of calories burned while actually using your phone. Get an easy—and totally useless—workout by shaking your iPhone. The jokey app lets others know you’re exercising by making grunting and groaning sounds, while also keeping track of the number of burned calories: 11 percent of a breath mint is average, 100 percent of a pea a triumph.

iFidelity: Sexy iPhone Apps Dedicated to the Dirty

MTV’s Jersey Shore City Guide[$.99] – Your fist-pump is near perfect. You get juiced with your bros on the regular. Now find out where to unleash your tats and toned abs with the MTV Jersey Shore City Guide. The app provides listings and maps to where guidos and guidettes get down when they’re not GTL’ing (if you don’t know this one by now, well, it’s time to throw in the towel). Discover Snooki’s favorite spot for “bangin’ sushi,” find out where Vinny goes to see “naked chicks” and follow The Situation to Tenjune, where “the music is hot and the girls are hotter.” The Jersey Shore isn’t a place, dude, it’s a lifestyle.

imageThe Top 100 Sensual Lovemaking Songs [$1.99] – Once upon a time all that setting the mood required was a bottle of red and a little Marvin Gaye. But three plus decades after “Let’s Get It On” first started inspiring mattress dancing, there’s a host of other, newer slow jams that can turn the trick. For those who don’t spend their days scouring Pandora for panty-dropping songs by D’Angelo and Luther Vandross, this simple music app is a godsend, cycling through 100 sex songs compiled from music charts and user favorites.

imageCraigslist Pro [$.99] – There are exactly two types of people who will be excited by this app: those looking to sell a futon and perverts. Craigslist Pro allows users to post, browse and manage their accounts in an organized mobile format. Want to post photos of that coffee table you’re trying to sell? No sweat. Want to browse the images in the personals ads? Maybe a little sweat. Enhanced search features and the option to send posts to Twitter actually make the app more user-friendly than the website.

imageKnocking [Free] – Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s your friend streaming a live video from the Mayan ruins! And there he is drinking a latte! And there he is taking off his… whoops! We can’t tell you about that. Knocking works like a mobile webcam that connects instantly to other users, enabling them to share instant streaming videos. Knock on a user’s profile, let them answer, point and film your activities and then end the knock. It’s not texting, tweeting, calling or ping-ing, but rather an entirely new form of communication that, like all the forms before it, will be used for clean and dirty purposes alike. imageBedometer [$.99] – When done right—or wrong, for that matter—sex can be a workout. Measure exactly how much of one with Bedometer, an app that calculates the number of calories you burned up between the sheets. Place the iPhone next to your mate and, as things heat up, the app will tabulate just how hard everyone is working based on the bed’s vibrations. It’s like a personal sex pedometer for partners in the throes of passion. It’ll do calculations for a party of one as well. (Seriously, there’s a single player option.) –HILLARY WESTON

imageSexy-O-Meter [Free] – Most sex-themed iPhone apps are either cheesy or banned from the Apple Store, but this one, based on a silly party trick, is different. Upload a photo and the app will compute and score its sexiness based on “real, measured algorithms.” The math is actually arbitrary, based on where users tap the screen: tap to the right to give yourself a high score, and then tap to the left to knock a cocky pal’s upload down a notch.

imageGrindr [Free] – If Foursquare and the M4M “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist had a baby after a one-night stand, it would be Grindr. The app targets gay and bisexual men in need of a quickie. Using the app’s location-based technology, it lets users find other guys in the immediate vicinity. Grindr protects its 400,000 users from stalkers by displaying only vague profiles and withholding exact locations, but Grindr chat allows potential mates to decide when, where and if to meet.

Get BlackBook Guides on Your iPhone!

imageYou can buy BlackBook guides in print, and you can browse our guide listings online. But why not take it with you? Download the BlackBook Guide for the iPhone from the iTunes App Store, and you can access thousands of listings covering, nightlife, restaurants, and hotels from dozens of cities. And since all listings display live from our massive online archive, you’ll always be up to date. More cities, listings, and features coming soon!