The Great Digital Food Hunt

Baja Shrimp Tacos at Surfside Sandwich Shoppe N Padre Island TX (photo by Sheila Scarborough)A little over a year ago, the Gowalla and Foursquare apps on my phone led me to Houston’s House of Pies – a slice of their Bayou Goo pie, to be precise, with chocolate and pecans and whipped cream and all sorts of other unmentionables….

This time it was Yelp on my phone leading me to these delicious grilled shrimp tacos at Surfside Sandwich Shoppe in a small strip mall on North Padre Island, Texas, near Corpus Christi.

A GPS-enabled smartphone is really changing how I find places to eat.

Yes, I still lug my usual stack of print guidebooks out of habit, but many times I have a carload of hungry family members and I just want to know, right then, what is good within about a 2-mile radius of wherever we are.

No, the dude behind the counter at the local gas station has pretty much struck out for me as a source of restaurant recommendations.

While we’re ordering, I always tell the proprietor that, “Hey, we found you through reviews on Yelp (or Gowalla or Foursquare.)”

The response is either, “Oh, yes, we get a lot of activity on there. Thank you!” or it’s a blank, quizzical stare – as we say sometimes in Texas – “like a cow looking at a new gate.”

All I know is, I don’t have to end up at Wendy’s unless I want to.

Update:  This post was included in Wanderfood Wednesday: Between the (Bean Curd) Sheets – food stories from around the world. Wander Foodie badge

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  1. Carolyn July 29, 2011
  2. Sheila Scarborough July 30, 2011
  3. Mental Mosaic August 3, 2011

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