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APPetizing - Chicago Gourmet Guide for iPhone

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 23, 2011 3:20PM

2011_9_23ChicagoGourmet.jpg We haven't written a ton about this year's Chicago Gourmetis back for Year Four this weekend. (If you haven't bought tickets, about 100 are still available for Sunday, so buy quickly.)

As usual, the event will be filled with celebrity chefs, book signings, tastings, and more wine than any 1,000 people could possibly drink; our one piece of advice is to bring water. Brand new this year - a free mobile app to help guide you around the event. This will make attendance a much less intimidating prospect and will allow those who didn't get tickets to drool from afar.

The app is very well designed, easy to use and filled with useful functions. The main screen is a basic event calendar, which can be broken down into categories - demos, tastings, seminars and book signings. For instance, we can tell you that Tony Mantuano will be signing Wine Bar Food - an amazing cookbook, by the way - at 3 p.m. Saturday without having to navigate through a confusing website or read a huge paper booklet.

Visitors can also send tweets, Facebook updates or text messages with information for every event on the schedule. So, if you want to be sure to meet up with your friend at Rick Bayless' cooking demo, send them a text with the info. Users can create lists of favorites - people or events - with optional alarms and reminders, so nothing gets missed in the confusion. The app also has a "who's here" tab, allowing visitors to identify every important person at the event and send tweets when you spot celebs.

The map leaves a bit to be desired - because it uses Google maps rather than creating a custom diagram, the number of pins clustered on Millennium Park makes the function difficult to use. But for a first attempt, this app is sure to be a huge hit - If you see us on Sunday looking at our phone, it's because we're using the app.