Help me make a restaurant journal before Christmas!
December 22, 2014 3:17 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I want to have some kind of restaurant journal where we can record the different items we've gotten from various restaurants and whether we liked them or not. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make the layout. Details inside.

I've seen some samples of restaurant journals you can buy, but my problem with them is that they seem to require you to make a new entry for each restaurant. I want ours to be organized so that there is a "section" for the restaurant, and then we can add new entries every time we go to that place.

My current ideas are either having a 3-ring binder with dividers for the restaurants and then adding pages of entries behind the dividers - maybe 2-3 entries per page? I'm also considering having a box like a recipe box, where there are dividers for the restaurants and then we can add index cards for entries. I want to be able to alphabetize and sort things as we go, which is also why I don't like the pre-made journals.

My other concern is for one-off restaurants - would they have a whole section to themselves, even though we might never go there again? But then if I make a section for one-offs, and we do end up frequenting one of those more often, I wouldn't necessarily be able to move it to its own section if there are multiple one-offs on one page.

Anyway, that was a lot of rambling - does anyone have any suggestions for putting this together that I'm not seeing? I know a digital journal would probably be the easiest thing, but we like the idea of a physical book.
posted by majesty_snowbird to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe consider using takeout menus (where available from the restaurants) as your dividers, with blank lined pages behind them? Then annotate menu items with like 1, 2, 3 corresponding to an entry for when you ate there? If you're item-centric, this could be a quick way to see what you haven't ordered. I used to do this on a much smaller scale with direct star annotations on a takeout menu from my favorite restaurant to keep track of what I'd tried and liked (their menu items rarely changed, though the prices did.)

Regardless, it doesn't seem like that much of a waste to have at least one page per restaurant, rather than multiple one-off restaurants per page. If you go back, you have space to add more entries on the same page. If you don't, then they're just in the book wherever they are, alphabetized or whatever.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 3:46 PM on December 22, 2014

If you want it to be fancier than a three ring binder, you can get an expandable scrapbook. Or a photo album could hold 3x5 index cards, so it would be easy to move a card from the "visited once" page to it's own page. A three ring binder might hold more, though.
posted by rakaidan at 3:50 PM on December 22, 2014

What a cute idea! The recipe box idea reminds me of those office business card a-z directories, they can hold quite a few cards. Maybe colored stickies for multiple labels too. Also, Japanese stationary stores (or even grocery stores) are the best for decorative organizing scrapbooking activities.
posted by ana scoot at 3:51 PM on December 22, 2014

You can get little binders, and then use one page per visit. Little means you can take it with you.
posted by kjs4 at 3:52 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Circa notebooks from Levenger are as expandable as three-ring binders but look more polished. The sampling kit is a good way to check them out ($40 sampler includes a $40 Circa gift card).
posted by Lexica at 4:10 PM on December 22, 2014

Staples Arc system is very similar to the Levenger Circa system, if you don't have time for mail-ordering, and you like that system.
posted by sarajane at 4:35 AM on December 23, 2014

I like the scrapbook idea. A slight twist on that would be trading card binder inserts coupled with blank white cards. Have an alphabetized section of "one-offs" that you can transfer over to a full section when you have enough reviews for one restaurant to warrant it.

I use the blank white cards for game prototyping, and they're fairly sturdy. You may have to wait a few seconds for ink to dry when you write on them, but they're a bit smaller than a playing card, and give a lot of room to write on.
posted by codacorolla at 7:17 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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