‘Not Hotdog’ and 7 Other Hyperspecific (Surprisingly Real) Food Apps

How ripe is your watermelon?

This week’s Silicon Valley saw two characters, Erlich Bachman and Jian Yang, luck into the creation of an app that can identify whether an object is a hot dog, or not a hot dog. Funnily, an official version of that app, called Not Hotdog, is now real and available in the App Store, so you can see for yourself whether things in front of you are hot dogs, or not hot dogs.

Not Hotdog is great. And after a quick test run, it capably revealed that several everyday objects were not, in fact, hot dogs (even a stapler that is extremely hot dog–ish). It is also far from being the only hyperspecific food app in the App Store. Here are seven more food-and-drink apps that actually exist, and that you might find useful.

PickAMelon: Some watermelon farmers have long claimed that you can tell if a watermelon is ready to eat by the sound it makes after you give it a few good thumps (if it’s a full-sounding tenor, it’s ready). But if you’re uneasy trusting your judgment with that method, a Washington State man — frustrated by past watermelon purchases that ended up being unripe — developed custom software to help you out. Tap on the melon three times — right into your phone speaker — and the app tells you whether the melon is ready.

Pearl: People often find themselves asking this very question: Where is the nearest oyster happy hour, and how much does it cost? Pearl not only tells you about seafood dishes and happy hours in your area, but can also educate you on the oysters you’re about to eat.

Next Glass: You sign on; rate about a dozen beers, wines, or ciders from one to four stars; and within two minutes, you’ve got recommendations of other beers you’ll like — it’s basically the Pandora of beer.

Liquor Cabinet: Enter the liquors and mixers you have lying around, and this app will offer some cocktail options. (The app will also let you know about other options, if you’re willing to hit a store and buy an extra ingredient or two.)

Food for All: You’ve probably been there, lingering at a coffee shop during closing time to see what’s happening with those leftover croissants. Good news for both thrifty eaters and those concerned about the world’s growing food-waste problems. Food for All lets you search for food that restaurants didn’t sell, offers a pickup time, and lets you buy at a discount (up to 80 percent). Fresh off a successful Kickstarter campaign, the app is offering early access now.

BuffetGo: It’s Food for All, but the buffet version. The app leads to spots like Hilton Hotels in places like Pasadena and Costa Mesa, California — late morning or late at night — or fast-food joints like Soho Tiffin Junction in New York City, where you can stock your plates at a steep discount. The developers are expanding its partners, and launched their app just a couple weeks ago.

Ginventory: This Belgian app lists and provides ratings and descriptions for more than 3,000 gins, but the real appeal is that it also pairs them with 400-plus tonics and about 200 potential garnishes, meaning it’s actually kind of a must-have now that gin-and-tonic weather has arrived.

‘Not Hotdog’ and 7 Other Ridiculous (Real) Food Apps