The Computer Age. The Digital Revolution. The Information Era. Many also say it's the Food Age. We're bombarded by facts and opinions on how, what and where to eat. How to choose? That's where technology helps by putting ideas into our hands, literally. More and more, travel and food guides are looking not only to the Web to share tips but also, of course, to apps. Examples include Zagat, Yelp and Urbanspoon. And hey, even LA Weekly.
Know What, an L.A. and San Francisco travel guide with plenty of food and drink ideas, is the newest to sidestep books and websites in favor of the app. Unlike other food guides we've written about recently, it doesn't focus on one specific slant. (Clean Plates lists what it deems healthy, sustainable options, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center National Diners' Guide considers labor practices.) Instead, "Know What" gives a variety of slants, each presented as an app-within-an-app. It's geared for locals and tourists alike.
Those who follow popular L.A. food blogs will see familiar faces in the author lineup. Caroline on Crack, a former Squid Ink contributor, wrote "Drink Here: L.A.'s Best Craft Beer and Cocktail Bars." Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining contributed a guide named after his blog. Food GPS writer Joshua Lurie penned "Global Eats: Southern California," and "Prized Pig: L.A.'s Best Pork Dishes." Squid Ink writer Jessica Ritz offered "Discerning Dining for Accompanied Adults," based on her blog Taster Tots. Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly editor, ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist and author of forthcoming Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, listed "The Best OC Restaurants!"
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Ten other mini-guides cover L.A. hiking, architecture, public art, history, shopping and more, from authors including novelist Francesca Lia Block and Boingboing.net co-founder Mark Frauenfelder.
San Francisco suggestions come bundled in the same app, so users can also check out "San Francisco's Top 30 Taquerias," "The City's Best Cocktail Spots," "Ultimate Guide to Bay Area Dining," "Global Eats: The Bay Area" and Vegansaurus' "Food in the Bay Area as Picked by Genius Experts." All apps come with GPS-enabled maps and other interactive features.
The $2.99 price includes 400 recommendations -- 200 in L.A., and 200 in San Francisco. It's available via the iTunes store (for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad only). Users will need to pay extra to unlock the complete guide written by each contributor, at prices ranging from $.99 to $3.99.