Tech test drive: Dinevore
Dinevore is a social network for foodies seeking other foodies and of course, food. Create a user profile and select restaurants you have tried, want to try and would like to recommend. Then link up with other food enthusiasts to share recommendations for restaurants around the world.
The road test: We joined Dinevore's network of food lovers and searched for friends with shared culinary interests. Then we followed friends and critics to learn more about what and where to eat in Los Angeles.
The highlights: We love the "follow" function since we can find out where industry bigwigs are eating and where they want to eat. We like collaborating on growing lists of hot spots, perfect first dates, dim sum and taco offerings. Most of all, we felt inspired to try new things based on others' recommendations.
The speedbumps: Mainly, we were deterred by the amount of work that goes into setting up a profile. Creating a user login was a piece of cake, but selecting all of the restaurants we have eaten in/want to eat in and adding an optional blurb about them takes a while. Also, we don't like that the restaurants (by site design) are not linked to multiple reviews. We want to know what to order, when to go, why it is different from other places, etc. Finally, while we love the lists, we hate them. There is a lot of overlap in content and even worse, they are mainly geared toward American, and in particular, New York, diners. International offerings are slim to none.
The bottom line: While we love food, a taste for this site is going to vary by person and probably location. We see the value in social networking for restaurant recommendations, but frankly our preference is still for sites with less of a time commitment (Eater.com, Chowhound, Squid Ink, etc) than Dinevore.