I think I have all of my exploratory code / prototyping done at this point.
Rather than jump directly in real code tonight, I will gather some VPS hosting data for the ultimate deployment.
I am currently running EEE Cooks on a shared hosting site with Hosting Rails. I have had absolutely no problems with them and their service, but they are not going to allow me to run a CouchDB instance in their shared environment.
|Hosting Rails VM256||Linode 360||Slicehost 256 slice|
|Disk Space (GB)||20||12||10|
Aside from those variables, the three options are pretty much the same. All offer Debian & Ubuntu (the only distributions that I would manage). All offer root access. All offer a dedicated IP address.
So all I have to do is decide which of these variables (if any) really matters and maybe add one or two intangibles to the list.