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How do you keep track of your restaurant list(s)?

Living in the L.A. area and being an avid reader of these boards, I now have a huge list of restaurants that I like or want to try, but there are so many that I often find myself forgetting most of them when a dining out opportunity presents itself.

Often, I have time to plan and then just pull up my computer document (copied/pasted from many posts here) and go from there.

But sometimes I'm out running around or with friends in a specific area of town that is somewhat unfamiliar, and end up missing a great restaurant opportunity. :)

I think I'm going to break down and buy a smartphone/PDA which would not only give me access to this site, but also allow me to upload my own saved information.

I'm in the process of creating a simple spreadsheet that tracks cuisine type, general area, address & phone and recommended menu items. I already have about 200 places (and it's growing all the time)!

Anybody else have some creative solutions to this uniquely chowhound problem??

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  1. Break down and buy a smartphone.

    1. 1 - 200 is a LOT of places

      2 - I have a daily "to do" list on ... um, what's the name of that stuff? ... oh, yeah, PAPER! ... and right there in the same document, Page 2 is my page of "where do I want to eat today?" addresses. I only print out Page 1 daily but a fresh copy of Page 2 (when updated) is always in my car.

      1. Moleskine.

        and I only write down what I am definitely interested in, not everything I see.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cathy

          I love my Moleskine, which is always in my purse. I keep a list of places I really want to eat, plus the phone number and major cross streets. Then if I'm somewhere unfamiliar and feeling hungry, I check the list to see if any of the places are close by.

          I'm very good about crossing things off the list or putting them on the back burner if the list gets too long, so it doesn't get any longer than 20 restaurants at a time. And honestly, I don't see more than a couple of new places each week on my local board whereI really want to eat, so the list isn't growing like crazy.

          Special occassion restaurants go on another list since they're usually destinations in and of themselves.

        2. This is 200 places in all of California, as I travel around the state a great deal. For example, there are about 10-15 restaurants in Santa Barbara alone that I want to keep on my list, depending on my mood, time of day, budget and dining partner(s).

          I tried keeping a simple list but ended up leaving too many things off and not being prepared when I was outside my immediate area.

          In fact, if it was only a short list, I wouldn't need one at all, because my memory is good enough for that. :)

          I'm pretty sure I'm going to transfer my sortable spreadsheet to a smartphone because my list is only going to grow.

          3 Replies
          1. re: okie

            If you get a smartphone with Web access, you can just check Chowhound.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              > If you get a smartphone with Web access, you can just check Chowhound.

              Is there a low-bandwidth "mobile" version? I find most web sites a chore to browse on a (Sprint) Treo 650...

              1. re: Jefferson

                I'd like to know this too.

                Some sites (Yahoo I think) sense if you're on a PDA and auto-port you to a custom-tailored page.

          2. As much as I hate to say it, a smartphone might be the right one, along with a mapping software like Google has, so that you can put in your address and see what's on your list and nearby.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              I really, really, really like Microsoft Streets and Trips... we bought a version of it for our BC trip, and it was a more expensive version, but it also came with a GPS locator. So, we can type in a restaurant that we want to go to, and the GPS locator tells us where we're at, and then tells us directions on how to get to the restaurant. I have the regular version at work and it's SO easy to use! Also, you can mark all restaurants in the area, or you can pinpoint Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, essentially whatever you want. We created maps for all of the restaurants we wanted to go to in BC, and then saved the maps to my husband's phone, but we also could look up random restaurants in the area we were in.