Wednesday, July 30, 2014


There are apps for everything, it seems, and they have revolutionised the traveller's experience of navigating new places. A hat-tip to Google Maps for basic navigation. You are here. Whilst, platforms like Foursquare have added social functionality so we can all now see where you are, what you did and what you thought of it. And with food playing such a big role now in our travel experiences, the fear of missing out (FOMO) sees us reaching for our devices, looking for the answer to just about the most important question of all: What's good to eat nearby?

Travel and food. Food and travel. pretty inseparable, aren't they? Gastro-Tourism. Paris, Florence, New York, Melbourne, The Barossa, Bangalow (indulge me) all places with supreme culinary credentials. But once you're there, how do you know what's around you, and what's worth sampling? You can follow your nose (my favourite), do it old-school with a printed guide book (with luck the highly-rated dumpling place might still be operating), put a call-out to your social networks, or make the most of your phone's geolocation by tapping into an app.

The smart-phone/device revolution has changed everything. As someone who backpacked relying on guidebooks and street signs, I find the ability of the technology in my pocket to answer two fundamental travel questions - Where am I? What's around me? - in milliseconds, just astonishing.

I was recently asked to give one of these new-fangled tools a whirl. I'd like to say that I was in one of the world's great gastro-capitals, but I was not. That's no way to put something to the test. That'd be child's play. No, my friends, I took it to Tweed Heads. South. A hot spot for foodies? Cue tumbleweeds and crickets.

All things considered, the thing worked admirably well. Easy download and set-up. It knew where I was and what was around me, I could peruse menus and prices, see hours of operation, whether they offered a delivery service (and how fast it was) or were pick-up only, preferred payment methods and reviews to see if they were any good. A few screen taps later my order was placed and, presto! - I was off to collect.

At this point there was a bit of a hiccup. It wasn't exactly MenuLog's fault, and to their credit the customer service response was swift and friendly and, only a little later than I'd hoped, I was on my way with what I'd come for. Happy days.

I ate some delicious things when I traipsed around the world with my guidebook and its years-old recommendations forever ago. Occasionally, I sought things out, but mostly I just stumbled on wondrous, inexpensive victuals - the serendipity of street food. But I don't have the luxury of time anymore. With most of us restricted to only a few travel weeks a year, it's no surprise that the MenuLogs of the world are booming.  

I'm here, what's good to eat? Can I have it delivered? 

Food FOMO gone.


MenuLog Verdict: Very handy. 

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