What’d you have for breakfast this morning? How about two weeks ago? And hey, remember that time you and your friends went to that really fancy Japanese restaurant? If you’re a bit fuzzy on the last two questions (or even on the first), Evernote Food is a great way to answer them. I covered Evernote Food for Android before, when all it could do was log your meals. Now it’s time to give it another look, thanks to an all-new version that adds fun ways to track down new recipes and restaurants, as well as a fresh new look.
We’re big fans of Evernote here at MakeUseOf: We’ve previously shown you why you should be using it to remember everything, five uses for its desktop clients, as well as ten unique uses for Evernote itself. But even if you’re not so big on the core Evernote service, Evernote Food can be used on its own, and you don’t even have to have Evernote installed on your device.
Getting Started and Exploring Recipes
Evernote Food does a good job laying out its main features as you launch it:
Right off the bat, two things become obvious: It’s a beautiful app, and it lets you work with recipes, restaurants, and meals. Let’s dig into the Explore Recipes screen:
This mouth-watering screen pulls in recipes from a selection of food blogs (preconfigured with Evernote Food — those are some lucky food bloggers). The “huge thumbnail” aesthetic shown here carries through the rest of the app, as you will see later in the meal log. Tapping into a recipe, however, yields a disappointing result:
Evernote Food simply serves up the original website, making no attempt to summarize it or even apply a phone-friendly layout (like Pocket does so well). Reading the recipe off a phone screen will involve lots of zooming and panning, and is really not that great of an experience. Zoomed in, the text becomes a scosh more readable, at the expense of cropped graphics:
Tiny indeed. So yes, you can find new recipes using Evernote Food, but you’d be better off reading them off a tablet or a computer monitor. Fortunately, this is easy to do, because Evernote Food lets you clip those recipes to your own cookbook. Tap the familiar elephant icon in the top-right corner, and Evernote Food shows the clipping screen:
By clipping the recipe, you will be able to access it from any other Evernote client (not just Evernote Food).
Finding and Clipping Restaurants
Evernote Food also includes a new screen for searching and clipping restaurants you’d like to eat in. Powered by Foursquare, you can use the feature both for searching nearby restaurants, and to prepare for an upcoming trip. Here’s a search for restaurants around London:
An individual restaurant’s screen looks like this:
It has pretty much everything you’d expect: The name, a Foursquare rating, a map and an address, a phone number, and sometimes even a few tiny images (which cannot be resized). Notably missing are reviews, but that’s understandable: Evernote is very much an individual experience, and by including crowdsourced social reviews the company would risk muddling its focus. Still, this limits the restaurant’s screen usefulness: If you’re serious about finding some good eating, you may have to use Evernote Food in combination with a tool like Urbanspoon or one of these other helpful apps for deciding where to eat.
The Heart of The App: Logging Meals
New features notwithstanding, Evernote Food’s raison d’être is logging meals. Whether you enjoy logging only special meals with friends or, like me, you use it as a diet log to record all of your meals, Evernote’s meal logging feature is the most mature part of the app, and remains pleasantly polished in this new release. This is what an individual meal looks like:
You get plenty of fields to fill in, as well as automatic location tagging (which you can toggle off if you wish). New to this version, you can now pull down a gripper below the image to reveal a full-size photo:
Evernote’s meal browser uses the same layout as the recipe browser, and the wide, generous thumbnails are just as effective:
These are all photos I took with my own phone during routine use, and I can’t help but admire how nice Evernote Food makes my food look. Yes, I like chocolate — who doesn’t, really?
Making The Most Of Your Free Space Quota
I’d like to end off with one important trick. As a free Evernote user, you get a monthly storage quota of 60MB. If you use Evernote Food several times every day, this can fill up very quickly: A full-resolution 8MP image can easily take over half a megabyte. Fortunately, Evernote Food lets you pick what resolution you want the built-in camera to use:
If you go to the Settings screen and then pick Image Options, you’ll be able to set Image Size to Small (640×640). This is a completely adequate resolution for documenting your meals, and even for sharing particularly nice photos. If you intend to print photos of your food you might want to go for a higher resolution — but for most other use cases, 640×640 would be plenty. And photos at this resolution take up just a fraction of the space they’d otherwise take, stretching your 60MB monthly quota that much farther (in about a year of using Evernote Food, I have yet to hit my monthly quota even once).
Is Newer Always Better?
I can’t say I love all of the new additions in this version of Evernote Food. The new features are of limited use: One lets you browse recipes but doesn’t make it easy to actually read them, while the other lets you browse restaurants but doesn’t include diner reviews. So, in the feature department, I’d have to say Evernote Food now suffers from a bit of bloat.
On the plus side, the new look works very well, and Evernote Food is a pleasure to use and browse. It remains my food log of choice on Android.
Do you log your meals? Do you use Evernote Food, or another app? Let me know below.