A Bite with Bitcoins: Local Food Businesses That Accept the Online Currency

The BitDonut. | Illustration by Kelsey Meyer

Even before it had a bricks-and-mortar shop, Strange Donuts (2709 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-932-5851) was big on experimentation. It did, after all, create a hamburger doughnut with pimento Cheez Whiz. But the next frontier in the done zone is not how the doughnuts are made -- it's how they're paid for. The shop hopes to soon accept digital currencies like Bitcoins and DogeCoins.

See also: A Pre-Dawn Line for Donuts (Not Cronuts)

"DogeCoin just helped raise over $30,000 for the Jamaican bobsled team," co-owner Corey Smale tells Gut Check. "When I heard that story, I was like, 'This is a real thing, and there's a real community behind it. Why don't we just take that next natural step?'"

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Saint Louis Bread Co. Insults Farmers Via Twitter

       The EZChicken-less campaign. | Panera Bread Company

Corporations are still trying to navigate the tricky world of social media. Of course, you can't please everyone, and an account with hundreds of thousands of followers is going to get a few nasty tweets. Companies are wisely learning to utilize Twitter for marketing purposes, with varying degrees of success. The Chipotle Twitter "hack" was funny at best, and at worst, it was simply stupid. But now Saint Louis Bread Co. (we refuse to say Panera) has farmers across the country up in arms over its latest Twitter campaign.

See also:
- Chipotle Twitter Hack Was Just a PR Stunt
- Panera Bread Debuts Slow-Carb Hidden Menu in St. Louis Today
- Mob Testimony Gives Panera Bread Awesome Ad Opportunity

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New App Aims to Reduce Food Waste By Trading Leftovers With Strangers

Categories: Technology

Sometimes you just can't finish your pizza. | Jennifer Silverberg

Over at Gut Check, we often eat anything and everything, but sometimes, even we get full. So we box up our leftovers in some handy tupperware (or not -- there may or may not be a half-eaten Imo's pizza on our counter right now) and throw it in the fridge. But what is a food-lover to do when you just can't eat those leftovers before they go bad? Why, swap with a neighbor, of course!

See also:
- Want Local Fresh Produce? There's an App for That
- Our New and Improved App is Here!
- St. Louisans Love Leftovers, Yet We're Still a Wasteful Lot

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RFT's Voice Places is New and Improved -- Read All About It

Jennifer Silverberg
The scene at Mission Taco Joint in the Loop.
By now our lovely regular readers are familiar with Voice Places, the listings engine behind all of the RFT's restaurant reviews and calendar picks. Today that engine got a lot more powerful, with a new design that brings even more content to the fore.

Take a look. You'll find more pictures, more stories, more user reviews (hey, that's you) and even integration with tips from Foursquare. If you're already a commenter on Gut Check, you can start leaving reviews immediately. Otherwise it sounds like you've got some good excuses to sign up.

Below a few of the improvements and fixes.

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New Gut Check Feature: The "Vocalizer" Badge for You, Prolific Commenter

Categories: Technology

If you spend any time in the comments section of our blogs, you may have already noticed that some people have "Editor" or "Community Manager" next to their usernames. Well, there's a new badge on the block, and it's called the "Vocalizer." Check out some examples from our sister papers, the Phoenix New Times and Denver Westword, below.

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Wanna Play With Your Food Before It's Food? There's an App For That

Pig Chase (0_opt.jpg
courtesy Playing With Pigs
It's about to be playtime for these piggies!
In certain circles, it's come to be accepted that a happy pig will not get bored and attack its fellow pigs or feel undue amounts of anxiety. And a happy pig is not one that wallows in shit all day -- pigs are actually very clean animals -- but one that gets to play.

For the past decade, under European law, it's been compulsory for pig farmers to provide their charges with "entertainment." On most farms, this means a few toys tossed into the pigsty. But a group of philosophers, animal welfare specialists and designers in the Netherlands banded together on a project called Playing With Pigs in order to improve on porcine playtime. The best way, they decided, was to get humans involved.

The result: an interactive iPad app called Pig Chase.

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Tabbedout Is In: Free Smartphone App Takes Barhopping to a New Level

Three Kings Pic.jpg
Stephen Fairbanks
Three Kings Public House is one of three Delmar Loop restaurants using the Tabbedout app for smartphones.
Tabbedout is a free app for smartphones that allows patrons to open a tab at a bar or restaurant, view the tab in real time and close the tab with a tip -- even after leaving the establishment -- without handing over a credit card.

For customers the advantages are obvious: You don't need to have a credit card on you, much less hand it over, and when you're done you don't have to wait for a busy bartender or server to close your tab. In areas where restaurants and bars cluster in bunches -- the Loop, the Central West End, Maplewood, South Grand, Washington Avenue -- Tabbedout can take barhopping to a new level.

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Deliver STL Makes Delivery Food Even Easier (Also Lazier)

Categories: Technology

Courtesy of Deliver STL
Patrick Conner gets hungry sometimes. It happens to the best of us. About a year ago, he became both hungry and inspired, a less common combination that resulted in a website, deliverstl.com, and a fledgling business that it turns out is not protected by patents. The full-time attorney who specializes in tax and estate planning wanted delivery that night, and he wanted it to be easy. The only problem: There weren't a lot of options.

Later, he would learn that's untrue. Today, through the website he and his partners created to track down and sort food-delivery options by ZIP code, Conner tells Gut Check that the city currently has 580 options for lazy late nights. That's 580 restaurants he could have called that night, had he known then what it took his team about eight months to figure out. In the end, he called Jimmy John's. Gut Check talked to Conner about the motivation behind his website, the city's best bet for delivery food and the take-out guru's favorite delivery option (still Jimmy John's).

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Check Out Our Brand New Best Of iPhone App

Categories: Technology

Best Of App.jpg
Of course you know about our annual Best Of issue -- the RFT's guide to finding the best of everything in St. Louis.

But what you may not know is that there's an app for that. With the brand-new Best Of app from Village Voice Media, you can read up on (and get location info for) all those hidden gems around town, whether you're partying in Soulard or shopping at Plaza Frontenac. The free app is networked to all of VVM's publications, so if you're vacationing in New York, L.A. or San Francisco, you can easily use it to explore the city you're in.

Currently, the app can only be used on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. But don't worry: The Android version will be available at the end of April.

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I <3 UR ( . Y . ) -- The Choicest #CandyHeartRejects for Valentine's Day

Categories: Technology

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, Twitter has lit up with the hashtags #rejectedcandyhearts and #candyheartrejects, with which users brainstormed unromantic candy heart messages. Perhaps inspired by the Bittersweets product sold at www.despair.com, the short-and-snarky phrases twisted traditional sentiments imprinted on Sweethearts, the chalky candies stamped out by the bazillion by NECCO since 1847.

A choice sampling after the jump...
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