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February 10, 2015 — by EMILY FISHER
This week for our app spotlight we’re looking at Evernote 2.0. Check it out!
Evernote Food Basics
Evernote Food has four sections: Explore Recipes, My Cookbook, Restaurants, and My Meals.
Explore Recipes The first section does what its name implies: shows you recipes to browse or search. If you have the willpower to peruse photos of chocolate haupia pie, grilled pepper-crusted sirloin, Singapore noodles, and perfectly pink raspberry gin fizz without rushing off to stuff your pie hole, then you’ll fare better in this section than I did. The recipes come from a wide variety of websites and blogs, including Serious Eats, Food52, Bon Appetit, The Pioneer Woman, Allrecipes, Simply Recipes, Martha Stewart, Smitten Kitchen, and many other online sources. Tap the image of any recipe you find, and you’ll see the full ingredients list, instructions, and any additional photos and text that come with them. A pencil icon lets you save any recipe you find into your Evernote account, and a little info box appears when you do that lets you add relevant tags and associate the recipe into whatever Evernote folder you like from your primary Evernote account.
You can also search the recipe area for specific terms. Type a key word or two into the search bar, and any matching results from the websites, as well as any of your own recipes from your Evernote account, will appear in the results.
The full list of included websites and blogs isn’t revealed, so you have no ability to add or remove sources, as you can do in other aggregation apps, like the Flipboard iPhone app (free, 4 stars), for example. I follow a number of food bloggers who don’t show up on Evernote Food, and I’d like to be able to drop their URLs into a customization screen to add them as recipe sources. I could, however, surf over to the sites I like and clip recipes I find into my Evernote account, which means they will turn up in relevant searches in Evernote Food. But that still requires me clipping specific recipes rather than browsing all the recipes from that site.
My Cookbook. The second section, My Cookbook, narrows down your recipes into just the ones you’ve saved from the Explore Recipe section and any others saved in your Evernote account. If you haven’t neatly organized your Evernote account by creating a notebook called Recipes (or a stack of notebooks that includes Baking, Breakfast, Side Dishes, etc.), here’s where the Evernote Food iPhone app really shines. Evernote identifies your recipes automatically, and if it mistakenly identifies a note as a recipe when it is in fact not one, you can hit a “not a recipe” button to remove it.
Restaurants. The Restaurants section works much like the Explore Recipes section, only it looks at restaurants stored in Foursquare rather than recipes from websites. Using geolocation services, you can look for restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bars, and so forth, near you, or key in some search words to find what you want. Because this section only taps into whatever information Foursquare has on hand, it will work best in the major cities where that social check-in network is used.
Special features in the Restaurant section let you save restaurants and their related information into your Evernote account (it’s very similar to saving a recipe), zoom in and out of a map view while exploring restaurants, and even pull up a restaurant’s menu when available.
While I like having a restaurant resource at my fingertips, this section of Evernote Food turned me off because it doesn’t offer any new information that isn’t found in Foursquare. I’d like Evernote users to be able to contribute photos from a café or notes about which dishes they like at a bistro so that unique content surfaces just for the Evernote community. Otherwise, this section has nothing more than Foursquare content with some Evernote clipping tools built in.
My Meals. My Meals is the most Evernote-y of the sections, and it’s the place for keeping photos and notes about things you eat. You can save pictures of foods you eat, or other images from a dining or cooking experience, like the friends who helped cook or joined you for dinner. You can add notes and other associated information, and save it all to your primary Evernote account.
My Meals is another section where I would like to see a little more help from Evernote, perhaps a list of suggested tags—how about red wines, white wines, sparkling wines?—to encourage people to log details and notes that might otherwise allude them. In a food-specific app, I imagine that many people are looking for advice and suggestions, although let me mention that I don’t think suggested tags and notebook names should be included in the flagship Evernote app. Its flexibility and openness in letting users choose how to arrange their information is pinnacle to its success.
Is Evernote an app that you would use? Let us know in the comments section below!