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Five Free Food Apps for Smart Phones

I would die in combat if I didn't have my iPhone, and I mean that sincerely. Next to my dog, my iPhone is my favorite thing in life. It's gotten me through the trenches of downtown Miami. It's made sure I didn't overdraft money from my bank account. It's found the closest Chipotle in a place I didn't even know existed. There is a reason it's a smart phone, people.

It's beyond smart. It's genius, really, especially when food is involved. Any time my iPhone can make my life easier, whether it helps me cook a meal or find a delicious one around town, it's automatically a good day. Below are my five favorite free food apps for smart phones.

1. Epicurious - Based on the website, Epicurious offers more than 30,000 different recipes. You can mark favorites and then make a shopping list of everything you need for each dish you create. Searching is made easy, with choices of ingredient, course, or typing in actual keywords. There's even a drink portion where you can find alcoholic beverage recipes, either to compliment a meal or to drink alone.

2. Happy Hours - Since this is a product from my employers, I'd like to make it known that the only reason I'm mentioning this app is because I actually use it. While its main purpose is to browse restaurants and bars in the Broward/Palm Beach area for deals on drinks, it also searches for deals on food. While the app is still relatively new, users can vote on their happy hour experience at any restaurant. Search options include late nights, weekends, and even by amenities (free Wi-Fi, valet, outdoor seating).

3. Foodspotting - When it comes to an elite community restaurant-reviewing app, Foodspotting is quite possibly the best option. You don't necessarily have to browse by the nearest or most popular, but rather by what you're craving in the moment. Because it's mobile-based, the app understands that reading extended reviews about a place may not be what people are looking for when they are on the go. It's the ultimate optimist, actually, only asking users to spot the food they enjoy, not necessarily the food they don't like. It offers instant insight (and photos) on what is good around town. Simple as that.

4. Urbanspoon - Generated from its original restaurant- reviewing website, Urbanspoon lets the consumer be the critic. Much like Foodspotting, except a little less optimistic, the app lets the user browse reviews from restaurants all over the area. You can search by location (which is quite common), types of food, delivery, and even spots that offer gluten-free-friendly meals. (South Florida has 191 options on Urbanspoon, just in case you were curious).

5. Betty Crocker's Cookbook - While I'm normally a Duncan Hines girl, I credit Betty for creating something her male competition hasn't:  a mobile app. When it comes to simple and easy home cooking, no one does it like Betty. With more than 9,000 different recipes, users can browse by nearly any category imaginable (one of my favorites, of course, is bacon as a main ingredient). Unless you're out of the area, you may want to skip the coupons option, since they are store-specific for just about nothing that exists in South Florida.

Epicurious, Happy Hours, and Urbanspoon are all available for Androids and iPhones.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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Dori Zinn

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