Visit Louisville.am to hear the Deliciously Louisville podcast and other great shows

Want to hear me talk about food with fascinating Louisville people?

Me after a recording in the Louisville.am studio.
Me after a recording in the Louisville.am studio.

Check out Deliciously Louisville, my podcast on Louisville.am. I interview folks around town about dining, restaurants and whatever strikes our fancy.

I’m three episodes in, and I’ve had some great conversations with the first guests:

Each of the six shows (and counting) on Louisville.am focuses on some aspect of Louisville, such as Cardinal sports and family-friendly activities. I’m excited to be a part of this start-up collection.

View from the desk.
View from the desk.

I’m still getting the hang of this hosting thing. It’s a lot harder than I thought. There’s something about slipping on headphones and sitting in front of a microphone that turns me into a pile of nerves. Bear with me as I work out the kinks.

New episodes of Deliciously Louisville are available to download on Wednesdays. You can see the list of episodes and download them here.

Thanks for listening, guys. It really does mean a lot.

Review: Menu and Hours app for Android is worth the wait

A screenshot of Menu and Hours. This is a portion of the Dish on Market menu.
A screenshot of Menu and Hours. This is a portion of the Dish on Market menu.

Let me start this review with a few disclosures.

I’m friends with Michelle Jones, the creator of the Menu and Hours app. Michelle began to publish my $10 Challenge pieces on her popular blog, Consuming Louisville, back in 2010 when I was just a fresh-faced blogger fresh out of a traditional newsroom. I consider her a role model and a friend.

I’m a financial supporter of Menu and Hours. I donated money to the Menu and Hours Kickstarter campaign, which means I received this app for free as a reward for my donation.

I’m not a tech writer. I still haven’t figured out the technology behind fax machines (something about pictures or magic, I think).

We square?

Good.

*clears throat*

Menu and Hours is a Louisville-centered restaurant app that provides you with the basics — the menu, hours, location and phone numbers of some of the region’s local restaurants. There’s no reviews, PDFs or other annoyances I’ve found on similar food-centric apps. Instead, Menu and Hours uses a slick, clean design to relay the information that really matters when you’re hungry.

Menu and Hours debuted on the iPhone in September and arrived in the Google Play store last week. As a devoted Android operator, it’s been a long few months of seeing iPhone-leaning friends plug the usefulness of this app. Now it’s my turn.

The app’s appearance immediately grabbed me. There’s no pictures and not a lot of color, just some bright blue spot color and a couple of clean sans serif fonts. It’s odd to see a food app without a lot of bells and whistles, but the sparse displays help me hone in on the basic information I want from my favorite restaurants.

The restaurants are sorted into basic categories such as American, Chinese and Breakfast/Brunch, but I really like the special categories listed at the bottom — Louisville Classics, New and Noteworthy and Fancy Cocktails, to name a few.

Non-traditional categories in Menu and Hours.
Non-traditional categories in Menu and Hours.

Restaurants are easy to find throughout the app, whether you search by keyword, location or type of food. When you find a restaurant that you particularly enjoy, you can add them to your favorites by typing the star in the top right-hand corner so the name will appear in the left sidebar for easy access any time you use the app. This will come in handy when I want to show friends and co-workers the items available at some of my go-to establishments (I’m looking at you, Dish on Market and Wild Eggs).

The menus are comprehensive in the Menu and Hours listings. Prices and descriptions are available for most restaurants. It gets a little dicey with places such as Sweet Surrender bakery that have menus that change daily. But Menu and Hours includes a note when a restaurant has a flexible selection and, in the case of Sweet Surrender, lists all the items that could be offered on a given day.

Some of my favorite Louisville restaurants haven’t agreed to be listed in Menu and Hours — yet. I remember Michelle making the rounds of some Louisville businesses to ask for their inclusion in this app. Now that Menu and Hours has arrived in the Android space, I hope restaurants can see the value of providing her with their information for inclusion in Menu and Hours. I’d also like to see restaurants working with Michelle to make sure the most up-to-date menu is available on the app. I found one case (Café Lou Lou, specifically) in which the menu had been changed in real life, but not on Menu and Hours.

Even though Menu and Hours is a fairly new addition to the smartphone horizon, I already wonder what I did without it. Menu and Hours is one of those few apps that I can see myself using every day, right along with Twitter and Facebook. This app tells me where to go and what to expect when I get there. I don’t just love Menu and Hours because I’m a Louisville food writer. I love Menu and Hours because I’m a Louisville food eater.

Louisville restaurant info + iPhone app + Michelle Jones = Kickstarter project of awesomeness

“We’re hungry and we have questions.”

Michelle Jones, publisher of Consuming Louisville, a friend of this blog and a gift to the city of Louisville, is in the process of developing an iPhone app called Menu and Hours. This app will provide basic information to users about Louisville restaurants: location, hours, menus and contact information. No flash, no PDFs, no annoying Muzak — just the basics of what you need to know to find some good dinner.

Michelle needs some help getting this program off the ground, so she has turned to Kickstarter to raise $6,000 to pay for a programmer and graphic designer to get the app created. If this isn’t a project worth backing, I don’t know what is. Michelle has done a lot for the city of Louisville through her blog, her involvement in the Louisville Digital Association and her creation of Let Them Tweet Cake. On a personal note, Michelle has been a great friend and helped me dive into the Louisville blog scene when I moved back to town.

Why don’t we give back to someone who truly loves this city and the people in it?

As it is with other Kickstarter projects, there are different giving levels and gifts that come with each pledge to Menu and Hours, and no money comes out of your account if Michelle’s $6,000 goal is not met. Menu and Hours’ Kickstarter page addresses issues you might want to know about before donating, such as Android availability and restaurant participation.

If you want to make Menu and Hours a reality, click here to visit the Kickstarter page. You have 25 days, readers. Let’s do this.