Undercover Food Critic

yelpI’ve officially joined the ranks of mystery diner providing reviews of meals eaten at any and every restaurant. After relying on Yelp and the advice of other diners, I decided it’s time to return the favor.

Before eating at a restaurant, checking it’s rating and the comments of others has become automatic, especially when away from home.

Yelp reviews led us to Timoti’s Seafood Shak and Tasty’s Fresh Burgers and Fries in Fernandina Beach as well as the McLeod House Bistro in Inverness. And I wish we’d heeded warnings about The Lost Parrot in Mt. Dora, but it looked like a good place to eat…the reviewers know best.

My first two reviews have been posted. I’ve become an undercover food critic. Thanks to all who post to Yelp and help me make decisions. I hope my reviews assist others.

Maybe I've found a use for all those food pictures!
Maybe I’ve found a use for all those food pictures!

7 Favorite FREE Travel Apps

How did we ever travel without a phone and all the great apps that make the trip easier to plan and enjoy? After returning from NYC, I realized how many of these apps improved our time away from home.

Postagram – Use the pictures you take while away to create your own postcards. With this app, any picture on your phone can be sent as a postcard for only $1 and best of all you don’t need to find a post office or buy stamps. Select the image, create the postagram and message, include the address of the recipient, and friends or family members will receive the Postagram postcard in their mailbox in less than a week.

HopStop – Simply input your location (or let the app use your current location) and your destination and HopStop develops routes for walking, using mass transit, or a taxi. Routes, estimated time, and cost are provided for each route. For city travel HopStop is a must!

TripIt – This “all-in-one” trip organizer tracks reservations for flights, hotels, restaurants, or events to create a master itinerary that can be shared with traveling companions or those back home that you want to make jealous. I was amazed that my airline reservations automatically appeared in my TripIt itinerary. Someday when I become a world traveler, I may even upgrade to the paid version of TripIt Pro.

History Here  Perfect for a history geek. This travel guide uses your current location and GPS to locate nearby historical locations including descriptions, pictures, hours of operation, and admission price. History Here led us to Theodore Roosevelt’s Boyhood home, a National Park in NYC with free admission, guided tour, and lots of interesting information about the city and its history.

FlightAware – An easy way to track the status of flights including flight status, gate number, delays, cancellations, and live flight tracking. This may even be a better app for those picking up travelers at the airport.

Yelp – A terrific city guide to places to eat or shop or visit based on the experiences of others. With the help of Yelp we found Amici II, a great restaurant in Little Italy.

Zinio – This app with the free magazine collection available from the public library made for a better flight. Just download a few magazines before leaving home for hours of reading pleasure at the airport or on the flight. No more last minute trips to the airport newsstand!IMG_1718

I’m still looking for the perfect weather app. I’ve downloaded five, but I’m still looking. Any suggestions?