Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

It’s Like Culinary Bitcoin… But Way Better

Image via Cover

There’s nothing worse than ending an awesome evening with friends by trying to do group math to figure out the split (let alone the tip). Enter Cover, the new app that is earning major acclaim for starting to revolutionize the whole pesky payment thing when it comes to dining out.

With a system that thevillager.com points out is similar to Uber, Cover allows guests to enter their credit card into a totally secure server through a smartphone app, and then hop up and leave the table whenever they please – no waiting for a check, doing the awkward sign the air signaling or signing a thing. Just dine and ditch, in the most moral way possible.

Cover will even split your bill up for you – but if you’re looking for an itemized receipt to be divvied up person-by-person, look to Dash, a similar app that takes things to the next level that just received some awesome new funding. With a heavier focus on bar patrons, not just restaurant diners, this nifty app allows you to split up tabs in a snap. So many ways to pay, and never a need to bring your wallet! 

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|  April 11th, 2014

The Most Advanced Smell On The Market

imageImage via Molecule-R

Smell is, really, an amazing sense. According to the Molecule-R team, “Our taste buds can only recognize 5 primary tastes,” but our noses can go far, far beyond such limitations. Capitalizing on those nasal capabilities is the idea behind the revolutionary company’s latest invention, the AROMAFORK.

This new product (ready for purchase now, to be shipped in June or July, according to their website) allows diners to alter how they taste and experience food with the addition of synthetic smells. Using this handy kit, which provides 21 smells and 50 “diffusing papers,” it’s easy to inhale scents of, say, vanilla and mint or wasabi and butter – or whatever tickles your personal fancy – during a meal, to influence how your taste buds receive the flavors you’re noshing on. With scents broken up into categories like spices, fruits, herbs and beans, the combination possibilities are extensive, so feel free to mix and match as you please. 

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|  April 11th, 2014

Wine Like A Pro, Even If You’re An Amateur

Image via Tipsi

There’s a new free app that helps to develop (and discern) excellent taste in wine, in a fun, easy and totally simple way. Introducing Tipsi, a recently launched platform that combines geo-locating services, personalized preference recognition and informed wine pairing information to turn even the most ignorant of (non)-oeniphiles into wine connoisseurs.

With a Tipsi account, users simply note which varietals, regions and flavors they’re most keen to, and the app tracks their preferences and penchants, intuitively storing their information and using it to guide them towards the best glass for them upon demand. Having chicken for dinner? Tipsi will suggest which bottle you should splurge for at a given restaurant, for the perfect pairing based on your exact location and your wine-ing history. Even more, if you’re in love with the glass you’re sipping on at cocktail hour, simple enter the name into Tipsi, and just as it adds those notes to your taste-tracking history, all the pertinent info – including the nearest retail spot to buy a bottle – will be at your fingertips in no time.

Further still, Tipsi uses social media tools to engage users in a peer-to-peer way, allowing you to not only access your own personal taste tracking but your pals’, as well.  We could all stand to learn from one another, right?

The Tipsi platform is currently only available in the New York City area, but they’ll be launching in other metropolises soon. Stay tuned! 

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|  April 4th, 2014

Your New “In” At The Restaurant Of The Moment

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Image via OpenTable

A while back, we did a story on a new app that would wait in line for you at those impossible-to-get-into walk-in eateries. Well now, OpenTable is upping the ante by offering a similar program for reservations. Introducing Hot Tables, the new way to get yourself on the wait list for a reserved table at those restaurants that never seem to have openings.

Hot Tables, currently in a pilot program in select cities with just a few select users, lets you set up alerts that offer first crack at the seats other folks have given up (benefit from other people believing that something could possibly be more important than that delicious meal!) via a simple and intuitive platform. Just choose your restaurant of choice, party size, date and time, and bing, you’ll get a notification if and when a table becomes free so you can be sure to claim it as your own right then and there.

Feeling excluded from the pilot program fun? Shoot the masters at Hot Tables an email: requestalertsinvite@opentable.com to request access to the platform. 

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|  April 4th, 2014

Composting, Easy As Pie

Image via Indiegogo

Being eco-friendly is all the rage right now (and understandably so). For those who believe that keeping our earth turning is worth any price, Food Cycle Science has an adorable and convenient product up for backing on Idiegogo now: The Food Cycler home edition.

This tidy little invention is, in a nutshell, a countertop appliance that will turn your waste into “nutrient-rich” compost without ever having to set foot outside; and while it is set to retail with a $499 price tag, by supporting the early-edition ones on the crowdfunding site, you can save a cool $100 on your green in-home efforts.  You’re doing a good thing, reward yourself with a little discount, eh? 

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|  March 28th, 2014

The Next Level Of Amateur Food Porn

Image via Momentage

Instagram, you’re great, but the whole one-picture-at-a-time thing is getting kind of old. If you’re like us and looking to take your food porn photo sharing to the next level, you’ll want to discover Momentage.

This app, which is gaining rapid acclaim as the next big thing in making others jealous of what you’re eating, allows users not only to share their images in multiple series, but also to continue to add to any given set of images. Return to a restaurant for round two? No need to start from scratch – just add those photos to the list you have started, and in no time, you’ll have a photo summary of every dish the restaurant has to offer. 

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|  March 28th, 2014

That Is Some Gorgeously Cut Sushi

Image via adafruit

Sushi is delicious in and of itself, but now, the geniuses behind Unimo Seaweed Shop have made it beautiful, too. In cahoots with I&S BBDO, owner Unimo Hiroyuki has created (and is now selling) elegant and intricate laser-cut seaweed for aesthetically pleasing sushi. Even better, this special seaweed is slightly thicker than the average stuff, so it won’t crack or lose its shape and you can rest assured that your sushi will last to impress all your dinner guests from start to finish. 

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|  March 21st, 2014

The Service That Lets You “Cook” Without All The Hassle

Image via Sweet Roots NYC

Hosting a dinner party or cooking dinner for your better half is a great idea in theory – but sometimes, it’s much harder in practice. Between long days at the office, crowded Whole Foods lines and recipe indexes with thousands to comb through, wouldn’t it be nice if cooking was as fun as the thought of it?

Well, thanks to Sweet Roots NYC, there’s finally a way! Founded by Marisa Claire Smith, this convenient (and we actually mean convenient) service delivers pre-packaged and pre-portioned ingredients for a full meal (that you approve ahead of time) and totally intuitive step-by-step instructions to execute the recipe. And, even better, it’s entirely affordable: breakfast packages, are just $12, lunch $16 and dinner $25 per person. Simply go online to start building your personal “preference profile,” including dietary restrictions and set up orders in a two-hour delivery window.

There’s just one more missing piece to the puzzle: To round out your handy dine-at-home experience, you’re going to need some alcohol delivered, right? Thankfully, we have a solution for that, too. Meet Minibar, the latest app providing a speedy liquor hook-up – just enter your address and your favorite bevvies, and they’ll have bottles at your day in 60 minutes.

Sounds to us like there’s no need to leave your apartment again. Ever.  

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|  March 21st, 2014

Better Than A Sous, Meet The Side

Image via SideChef

Every chef needs an assistant, and SideChef, a newly Kickstarter-funded app for your iPad is a pretty great one.  The concept, developed by founder Kevin Yu, combines the most modern technologies with international recipes, easy how-to instructions and more for an expert chef-ing experience, even if you only have amateur skills.

Features of this voice-enabled app (which is available to purchase in the App Store) include step-by-step video, text and audio recipes designed by celebrity chefs and bloggers, verbally responsive commands (never again will your iPad by marred by those raw-chicken-fingers), shareable grocery lists to send your better half to the store in a snap and even built-in native timing tools so you can rest assured that the butter won’t burn. For those more experienced in the kitchen, SideChef has a recipe building tool that allows anyone to become the blogger of their dreams, helping users create beautiful, photo-driven recipes to share with friends and followers.

Even further, SideChef allows users to build up their “recognition” within the online community of culinary explorers by earning tokens – and as a special offer to Gastronaut readers, SideChef is offering an extra 150 automatic bonus tokens when you enter the code GASTRONAUT150 upon registration. 

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|  March 14th, 2014

A Beauty Of A Grill

Image via Rockwell Group

Architect David Rockwell, the mastermind behind the Rockwell Group with design projects ranging from JFK’s JetBlue terminal in New York to the innovative Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas, has just taken to the kitchen.

Launching later this month, Rockwell’s newly created Caliber outdoor grill will be marked by his signature elegance and functionality. Some of our favorite features include a fully retractable metal hood, Caliber’s signature “Cross-Flame” burner technology, and a beautiful Brazilian cherry wood table built right in. But, beauty ain’t cheap, and this bad boy will cost you: the grill is set to retail for $9,500, making it ideal for those who are looking to invest in their grillin’ future.

Curious to see it in person before dropping that dought? If you’re in New York, stop by the product’s launch event, a “Spring BBQ” with famed chef Jonathon Waxman manning the grill, on Saturday, March 22nd at 3:00pm on breezy Pier 94. 

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|  March 14th, 2014