Dining News

Berkeley Is First in the U.S. to Ban Candy, Chips, and Soda From Grocery Store Checkout Lanes

Snack seekers shopping in Berkeley stores will have to travel a little further if they want chips, candy, soda, or other treats deemed unhealthy, after its city council unanimously approved a ban on checkout-stand displays of so-called “junk food.”

According to Berkeleyside, the ban is the first in the nation and applies to all retail establishments that are 2,500 square feet or larger — so your corner store will still have Ruffles or Snickers by the register, but places like Safeway, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Berkeley Bowl may only display healthy snacks in those final, coveted spots.

The SF Chronicle reports that Berkeley council members Kate Harrison and Sophie Hahn were behind the ordinance, which will take effect on March 1, 2021, and will be actively enforced by health inspectors as of January 1, 2022. “The healthy checkout ordinance is essential for community health, especially in the time of COVID-19,” Harrison said via a statement. “What is good for Berkeley customers is also good for our businesses.”

Here’s how it works: Any food items that contain 5 or more grams of added sugars and/or 200 milligrams of sodium can’t be displayed within two feet of the register, nor can gums or mints with added sugar, or soda and other drinks with either artificial sweetener or added sugar. Instead, shops are encouraged to stock juice, water, nuts, and fruits in those spots.

The goal is to improve public health by encouraging healthier choices, Harrison says, especially for more vulnerable communities. “We know that people that eat a lot of high-sugar and salty products have worse health outcomes, and this particularly besets low income communities and people of color,” Harrison tells ABC 7. According to the Daily Californian, the ban has widespread support in Berkeley, with 95 percent of respondents to a recent poll stating their approval of the measure.

And this certainly isn’t the first time Berkeley has made a landmark law around public health: In 2014, the city was the first to pass a tax on soda and other drinks with added sugar. Since then, cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder (among many others) have followed suit. According to a 2019 study, three years after passing the tax, consumption of added sugar drinks dropped by 52 percent.

All in all, this new snack placement ban applies to about 25 stores across Berkeley, including locations of Trader Joe’s, CVS drugstores, and markets like Mi Tierra, the manager of which tells KPIX that after seeing that “people tend to purchase that which is accessible to them at the last minute or they’re about to pay, out of impulse or just out of visually attracted to the product or being hungry,” the store proactively limited the sugary and salty offerings at checkout.

“We do have a variety of candies that we sell and sweets,” manager Rafael Del Rio says, and ”everything is still accessible in the store,” just not at the impulse-driven point point of purchase. Harrison also emphasizes that the ban on snacks isn’t store-wide, saying “You can buy anything you want, just not within two feet of the register, so, it’s right behind you. If you really want that thing, go ahead!”

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Breaking New

Huawei says Qualcomm has applied for a license to sell it chips

The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their main U.K. offices in Reading, west of London, on January 28, 2020.

Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP via Getty Images

Huawei said that Qualcomm has applied for a license to sell it chips and will use them in smartphones if permission is granted by the U.S. government. 

China’s Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist last year that restricted American businesses from selling products to the Chinese phonemaker. U.S. companies, including Qualcomm, were required to get a license from the government to export goods to companies on that list. 

Then in May this year, Washington amended a rule to require foreign manufacturers using U.S. chipmaking equipment to get a license before being able to sell semiconductors to Huawei. The U.S. government tightened this rule in August, a move which could lead to a “near-total” cut-off for Huawei from key semiconductor. 

Huawei designs its own smartphones chips called Kirin, via its HiSilicon subsidiary. But Kirin is manufactured by Taiwanese contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. From Sept. 15, TSMC was no longer able to supply chips to Huawei. 

“The U.S. has been continuously attacking us … and that has posed great challenges to our production and our operation,” Guo Ping, rotating chairman at Huawei, said on Wednesday. “We got the last batch of chipsets in middle of September, we are still evaluating more details.”

Guo said that the company has “sufficient stock” of chips for its business to business divisions, which would include its networking equipment. He did not comment on how much stock is left for its smartphones.

Due to the U.S. sanctions, Huawei has very few options when it comes to procuring the chips it needs now. 

Qualcomm has been lobbying the U.S. government to allow it to export chips to Huawei, according to a Wall Street Journal report in August. The U.S. chip giant argued in a presentation seen by the WSJ that the export restrictions will hand billions of sales to Qualcomm’s competitors. 

I’ve noticed Qualcomm has applied for a license to export products to Huawei from the U.S. government and if they get the license we are willing to continue to procure from them and use their chipsets in our smartphones

Guo Ping

rotating chairman of Huawei

During the company’s second quarter earnings results last year, CEO Steve Mollenkopf blamed the export restrictions on Huawei for weakness in its numbers at the time. 

Huawei has more recently used its own Kirin chip in its smartphones. But now that it cannot get those semiconductors, Qualcomm could fill the gap if it gets an export license. That would be a big boost for Qualcomm’s business. 

“Qualcomm has always been a very important partner of Huawei. Over the past decade and more, Huawei has been procuring chipsets from Qualcomm. I’ve noticed Qualcomm has applied for a license to export products to Huawei from the U.S. government and if they get the license we are willing to continue to procure from them and use their chipsets in our smartphones,” Guo said. 

Qualcomm was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. 

Meanwhile Intel has been granted a license by the U.S. to sell certain products to Huawei, according to Reuters

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We Used Wood Chips In Our Ninja Foodi Grill. Here’s What Happened

There’s nothing quite like food that’s fresh off the grill. It’s that smoky charred flavor that comes from fire, charcoal, and wood that you really can’t replicate by other cooking methods like roasting, pan searing or frying.

Last summer when we first reviewed the Ninja Foodie Grill, Ninja’s latest indoor appliance that brings the convenience of grilling indoors (it also air crisps, dehydrates, bakes and roasts), we were immediately impressed by its ability to grill food quickly and conveniently leaving it super moist, flavorful, and complete with gorgeous grill marks. Yes, I still love traditionally BBQ’d food on an outdoor grill. Who wouldn’t? But the Ninja Foodie Grill is perfect for those times you don’t want the hassle of dealing with an outdoor BBQ, but still want to be able to grill. It’s also a fantastic solution for small space or urban living where you may not have access to an outdoor living space that would accommodate a BBQ.

You can read our original review of the Foodie Ninja Grill linked here.

BUY → Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 4-Qt. Air Fryer, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate Indoor Electric Grill

While we love how incredibly well the Ninja Foodi Grill grills for an indoor appliance, the only thing missing is that lovely infusion smokey flavor that you get only get by cooking on an outdoor BBQ. So we decided to do a little experiment to see if we could really get that same wood-smoked flavor when using the Ninja Foodi Grill.

Through a little research, I found that wood chips are your best bet when dealing with an outdoor electric grill so I decided these would work best with the Ninja. You can easily find them pretty inexpensively at the grocery store, home improvement, or hardware store in a variety of different wood types. For this little experiment, I picked up some pecan wood since it pairs well with a variety of different meats like pork and chicken. Other woods that I would like to give a try in the future are applewood, mesquite, and hickory.

Bag of Pecan Wood Chips

Something to Consider if You Want to Use Wood Chips in Your Ninja Foodi Grill

Here’s a warning coming for you. The Ninja Foodi Grill does not make any mention of using wood chips in their instructional guide and it is not designed to wood smoke. We can’t predict how this will turn out in your own Ninja Foodi Grill, so take this into consideration if you decide to try this at home.

To Soak or Not Soak?

Many pit masters recommend not soaking wood blocks or wood chips before using them in a traditional BBQ since the wood doesn’t absorb much water at all and prevents burning. Researching oven smoking, almost every guide recommended soaking. We tried it both ways and soaking the chips did seem to make a slight difference flavor. If soaking your chips, be sure to soak for at least an hour in warm to hot water and drain the water before adding to the basket.

Where Do The Wood Chips Go?

The Ninja Foodi Grill’s lower insert basket that catches any drippings easily fits a few handfuls of wood chips. I originally made a little foil basket for them, but after inserting the grill grate it just got flattened underneath. Keep it simple and just toss enough in the basket so they just cover the bottom.

Start By Pre-Heating The Ninja Foodi Grill on The MAX Grill Setting

To give the wood chips the best chance of releasing their woody essence, we heat the Ninja Foodi Grill on the highest heat grill setting labeled as MAX (500 degrees F). Once the grill is finished preheating just lower the heat setting to your desired temp as much of the heat will be released once you open the hood to add your food.

Try Lowering Cooking Temperatures and Cooking Longer

Cooking with the Ninja Foodi Grill even once will tell you that it cooks food quickly. To get a good amount of woody flavor I recommend cooking temperatures should be cut by 25-50 degrees to lengthen the cooking time to let your food have a better shot of absorbing that woody essence. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your food has safely just come to temperature and be sure not to over-cook.

You’re Going To Need An Open Window

Even though we’re not dealing with fire here I suspected the wood chips might give off some smoke when heated at over 500 degrees. Just in case I dragged mine over my screened sliding back doors and set it on a small table. Sure enough, even with the door open my nearest smoke alarm was set off. When using wood chips in your Ninja Foodi Grill be sure to have some sort of ventilation in play. Bring your unit over to an open window, near a screen door, on a balcony, or even outside to your patio. If you have a good hood over your stove that can help as can a fan to blow the air towards an open window.

Pork Kabobs made with the Ninja Foodi Grill and wood chips

How Did It All Work Out?

Using the wood chips in the Ninja Foodi Grill definitely resulted in a noticeable and pleasant infusion of woody flavor. During the tests, I cooked both marinated pork kebabs seasoned with garlic, lemon, oregano, salt, and pepper and also chicken tandoori the following day each with cooking times of at least 20 minutes. Remember longer cooking times will allow for more wood flavor to penetrate. While there are a lot of pro recommendations for not soaking wood chips in use with outdoor BBQs, my cooking tests found the soaked wood chips gave a little more flavor. This was most likely the result of the steam from the soaked chips when pre-heating.

So all in all, the answer is yes! Yes, you can use wood chips in your Ninja Foodi Grill to enhance the flavor of your food. Just be sure to use fresh wood chips as they can lose flavor over time.

wood chips

Here’s How To Use Wood Chips in Your Ninja Foodi Grill

Step 1: Soak 3-4 handfuls of wood chips in a bowl in warm water for 1 hour. It should be enough to cover the bottom of the basket insert. While the wood chips are soaking, set up your Ninja Foodi Grill near a screened window, door, patio or another area with ventilation.

Step 2: After 1-hour drain the soaked wood chips and add to the bottom insert of the Foodi Ninja Grill. You can line it with foil for easier cleanup with fattier foods if you like but it’s not required. Put the grill insert in next.

Step 3: Pre-heat the Ninja Foodi Grill on the Max Grill Setting to heat the wood chips. Once it is ready lower the temperature to your preferred food cooking temperature. We recommend lowering it at least 25 degrees F below what you would normally do to allow for longer cooking times so the food can have a chance to absorb the woody essence. Use with a meat thermometer to make sure food is cooked comes to a safe and proper temp.

Step 4: Cook your meat or veggies of choice as usual. When you’re done cooking throw the wood chips away. Enjoy!


I’m excited to continue trying different woods and wood products with this method. Besides the pecan wood we used, there’s also apple, hickory, mesquite, cherry, oak, and alder wood to choose from. Variety packs like this one from Western, Zorestar, or Jack Daniels are a fun option to experiment with to see which woods you like best. You can also mix and match and create your own blends.

BUY → Western Premium BBQ Smoking Chips Variety Pack


BUY → Zorestar Oak |Alder |Cherry | Apple Wood Chips Pack


For something a little extra, try these whiskey barrel smoking chips from Jack Daniels.

BUY → Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips

Woody Alternatives to Wood Chips  

Cedar planks are great for grilling fish and would be an alternative to wood chips.cedar grilling planksBUY → Premium Cedar Planks for Grilling

These cedar grilling wraps pictured below are another great option and can be wrapped around the food as it’s grilling for yummy little wood flavored packets.
package of cedar grilling wraps

Just note that both the cedar planks and wraps will most definitely need to be soaked before you start cooking. Just follow the directions on the package.

How To Get That Smokey Wood Flavor in The Ninja Food Grill With Minimal Hassle

If you’re looking for that wood-smoked flavor infused into your Ninja Foodi Grill cooked food without possibly having to set your smoke alarms off, liquid smoke is your best bet. This flavoring is quite literally the concentrated essence of wood smoke in a little bottle. It’s made by burning wood which is then captured through a steam distillation process. They even come in a variety of wood-like flavors like hickory, mesquite, and applewood. This stuff is pretty strong so all you need is just a few drops added to your marinade or brush lightly onto your meat and veggies before grilling.

Liquid smoke can usually be found in the same section of the grocery store as the BBQ sauces. We’ve also linked to a few below of the many that are available on Amazon.


BUY → Wright’s Liquid Smoke in Applewood, Hickory & Mesquite

There used to be a concern that liquid smoke was harmful to our health since smoke is known to contain carcinogens. But liquid smoke products are usually filtered and distilled to remove the majority of these types of compounds. You’re certainly getting exposed to these types of compounds with fire-grilled foods cooked on a traditional outdoor BBQ, so liquid smoke may even be a healthier option. They are even believed to have anti-microbial properties.

BUY → Colgin Assorted Liquid Smoke Gift Box

Some other ingredients often added to liquid smoke products include molasses, vinegar, caramel color, and salt. If you want a purer product where you can have complete control over the flavor going onto your food, look for liquid smokes made only with water and smoke concentrate included like the one made by Lazy Kettle.

BUY → Lazy Kettle Brand All-Natural Concentrated Hickory Liquid Smoke

And last, but certainly not least is the option to use dehydrated smoke flavor. This is a product made from condensed wood smoke that is then dehydrated into a powder similar to a ground spice. This stuff if very strong and a teensy tiny bit is all you need to get a powerful punch of smoke flavor. This option gives you the most bang for your buck versatility wise. Like liquid smoke, it can also be added to things like marinades, pasta or veggie salads, salad dressings, baked beans, gravy, ketchup, sauces, and the list goes on. But since this is a dry product it can also be added to rubs and spice mixes you can toss with things like trail mixes, crackers, popcorn, nuts, and chips.

It also comes in a variety of wood flavors. With its simplicity and ease of use you might just be sorry you haven’t been using it all along. You can find dehydrated smoke products at really good spice shops or linked below on Amazon.

BUY → Hoosier Hill Farm Mesquite Smoke Powder
BUY → Spice Jungle Dehydrated Hickory Smoke Flavor


→ Do you or have you ever used wood chips in your Ninja Foodi Grill? Did you think it was worth it?

Let us know in the comments what’s your favorite way is to add smokey flavor to your Ninja Foodi Grill food!

BUY → Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 4-Qt. Air Fryer, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate Indoor Electric Grill

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Dining News

Fish and Chips | The Recipe Critic

Super Easy Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe! This fried cod comes out super crispy and golden brown and flakey on the inside! The homemade french fries are perfectly golden brown and crisp! Serve this Classic Fish and Chips with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, malt vinegar or coleslaw!

Fish is one of my favorite main dishes! Try these Baja Fresh Tacos, Grilled Citrus Salmon with Pineapple Salsa or Best Baked Cod Fish Recipe.

Fish and chips on a sheet pan with parchment paper overtop with French fries and lemon slices on the side.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Is there anything better than homemade fish and chips? Perfectly crisp homemade french fries with beer battered cod! These fish and chips are just like the classic. The fizzy beer creates an airy batter perfect for fried cod. Both the fish and the fries get cooked in one pot of oil which means less clean up!

To get perfectly crispy french fries we fry them 2 times! First at a lower temperature then again at a higher temperature. The lower temperature cooks the fries and makes them tender and the higher temperature just crisps them up.

How to Make Fish and Chips:

  • Start with the french fries (1st Fry): Cut potatoes into 1 cm thick fries. Place in colander and rinse in cold water to remove some of the starch. Lay them out on a towel and pat dry. Heat 2 inches of oil on medium low to 200°F-250°F. Add in fries and let cook slowly for 12 minutes, maintaining a 200-250° temperature in the oil. The potatoes will be soft and flexible. Scoop out fries and lay them out on a cookie sheet.
  • Second fry: Raise oil up to 375°F. Refry, this time in small batches 5-7 minutes each,so that the oil temperature stays around 350°-375°F. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Next make the cod: Cut fresh cod into 8 even pieces. Pat any excess moisture off of fish with a paper towel. In a bowl combine 3/4 cups of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, old bay. Whisk in 6-8 oz. of cold beer. It should be slightly thiner than pancake batter. Toss fish in remaining 1/2 cup of flour, then dip into beer batter, allow excess to drip off for a few seconds, then place carefully into 350°- 375°F oil. Fry no more than 3 pieces at a time so that the oil temperature dose not drop too quickly. Fry for 7 minutes, flipping half way through. While you are frying the rest of the fish keep the already done fish in a 200 degree oven to stay warm.
  • Serve: Immediately with malt vinegar and lime wedges for serving. I also like to have lots of dipping sauces for my fries. Ketchup, ranch and barbecue sauce are a must!

Fried fish on parchment paper with a slice of lemon next to it.


  • Pat the cod dry with a paper towel. This is especially important if you are working with thawed frozen fish. This will help the batter stick to the fish and keeps the batter light and crispy.
  • Don’t over crowd the pan when frying the fish. This will cause the fish to stick together.
  • Make sure to use a thermometer when frying the fish and the french fries to ensure the oil is the perfect temperature.

Sliced potatoes in the shape of French fries ready to bake.

Do I Have to Use Beer?

No you can substitute sparkling water in place of the beer. Anything will carbonation creates a crisp airy batter.

Fish on the side with French fries, coleslaw and lemon slices on the side.

What to Serve with Fish and Chips:

Fish and Chips

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Author Kelley Simmons

Servings 4

Super Easy Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe! This fried cod comes out super crispy and golden brown and flakey on the inside! The homemade french fries are perfectly golden brown and crisp! Serve this Classic Fish and Chips with tarter sauce, lemon wedges, malt vinegar or coleslaw!

French Fries

  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • oil for frying

Beer Battered Cod

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh cod
  • 6-8 oz. light beer
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp old bay
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Nutrition Facts

Fish and Chips

Amount Per Serving

Calories 288 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Cholesterol 73mg24%

Sodium 684mg29%

Potassium 1421mg41%

Carbohydrates 32g11%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 34g68%

Vitamin A 139IU3%

Vitamin C 11mg13%

Calcium 49mg5%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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