Thursday, November 25, 2010

How I’m Using Hotpot to Plan My Thanksgiving Weekend

[Cross-posted from the Hotpot Community Blog. We recently announced the availability of our new local recommendation engine powered by you and your friends, called Google Hotpot. Read on about how folks in your local area can find your business through the ratings, reviews and recommendations on Google. - Ed.]

The word “Thanksgiving” conjures up images of my family gathering around the table in Pennsylvania, passing the turkey and mashed potatoes to one another. But not this year. While my family's off on a surfing trip in Mexico, I'm staying in New York to spend time with my boyfriend Wes.

But I don't want to spend the next several days lazing about the apartment. I want to use the time to discover new local places, and maybe even visit a few forgotten ones. So here I sit, with my Google search fired up and my Hotpot recommendations — based on what I’ve rated and what my Hotpot friends have rated — ready to set my course. What new places should Wes and I check out? Here's what Hotpot suggested:

Sure, I could attempt to cook, but why make Wes suffer? In Maps, I search for "restaurants new york, ny,” and in the left navigation where I see my search results, I find friend recommendations listed with the top several results. Here’s one restaurant that catches my eye, recommended by my friend Vivi:

I’m thinking we can get an early meal at Freemans, and then treat ourselves to some delicious dessert. Preferably close to home — Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn — so we can load up on sweets and then roll ourselves back to the couch. Searching for "dessert brooklyn, ny" pulls up this local gem, one I’ve been meaning to visit:

Note to self: Remember to schedule in some gym time.

My family's big into books, so for Black Friday, I want to go somewhere a little less big bookseller, a little more worn-and-torn. I’ve rated and reviewed a bunch of independent book shops already on Hotpot, so by searching for "book shop new york, ny,” Google should know exactly what kinda bookseller I’m looking for. And voila:

I live in New York, but, sadly, I don't always take full advantage of the many wonderful cultural institutions we have. So this weekend, I'm committed to getting us to a museum. But which museum? The search "museum new york" pulls up a great recommendation from my friend Daniel:

After an eventful few days, Wes and I will most likely just want to chill out in front of a movie. To avoid the crushing Harry Potter crowds at the cineplex, I'm thinking we should see something at a local independent theater. Searching for "cinema new york, ny" shows me a few options based on theaters I’ve already told Google I like. This one stands out:

And they're showing Woody Allen's latest! Perfect.

Now that I’ve shared with you how I’m using Hotpot to plan my Thanksgiving weekend, do tell: How are you using Hotpot for the holiday? Share your stories in the comments.

Posted by Vanessa Schneider, Hotpot Team