Design Grocery Health

A Guide On Exactly How To Pick The Freshest Produce

I’m only a few days into the New Year and still feeling pretty good about my resolution to eat healthier. Whether or not I’ll stick with it in the weeks to come remains to be seen, but until then I’m eager to stuff myself with as many fruits and vegetables as I can get my chubby mitts on.

One hurdle I’ve come across, is that I’m not entirely sure at times whether or not I’m picking the freshest produce. I don’t want to have a bowl of fruits sitting around waiting to ripen at home.

Pounds to Pocket, a UK-based money saving blog, created this fresh infographic that helps you know how to select the freshest produce possible every time you’re at the grocers.

The infographic details things to look out for like color, firmness, texture, and smell. It also covers a diverse list of fruits and vegetables including strawberries, mangos, pineapple, apples, grapes, watermelon, avocados, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, kiwi, rhubarb, broccoli, corn, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and mushrooms.

Next time you’re shopping in the produce aisle, you can strut with confidence knowing that there’s a cheat sheet like this ready to jump in if you’re ever feeling uncertain.

Check out the fruit-picking guide below.

Courtesy of: Pounds to Pocket
Culture Drinks Humor

10 Tips From a Former Barista That Will Ensure The Best Coffee Experience Ever

Listen, I get that the empire that is Starbucks has been crumbling in the past few weeks. With closures due to public outrage, the coffee conglomerate has seen better days.

However, it doesn’t mean that one bad egg ruins the bunch. The bunch is human, the bunch gets that what happened is abhorred, the bunch still has to go into work the next day and deal with the hundreds of people yelling and screaming at their faces for something so insignificant like coffee being too bitter.

So show the bunch some humanity.

I’m not asking for sympathy, just decency towards the people that have been up since 4 A.M. trying to give you a little pep in your step.

I’ve been a barista for five years, give or take. I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see when it comes to inept customers not getting the simple and relatively easy to understand ins and outs about coffee.

I see how this complaint could be petty, but petty turns to torture when it’s hammered into my head every day. The fact that I have nightmares of my face melting off from someone angrily throwing coffee at my face, telling me it tastes “like dirt,” is a problem.

Instead of getting angry for not getting what you want like a child, there are steps you can take to  keep your latte from being spat into, and make your experience a little more pleasant at your local coffee shop

If You’re in Line, Decide

Figure out what you want before you get to the register. I can’t tell you how many times someone will mess around on their phone until they get to the register and still not know what they want. I’m not your mom, I’m your barista, I will help you if you know what you want. If not, at least lead with that.

Caffeine ≠ Coffee

Too many times people will walk in and say they want coffee, but aren’t down to drink a 16 oz cup of dark roast, or squeal when their cup is full of espresso. If you want coffee, say coffee; if you want caffeine, that’s a different story.  There’s so much more for you if you want caffeine. You can have espresso, iced coffee, cold brew, tea, or a mix.

There’s More Than One Type

Not all beans are equal. Certain coffee beans produce a different flavor profile and complexity. Even Starbucks, with their unicorn bs, still has three different types of coffee brewing in the morning. Ask the difference and taste it too, you’ll have a better morning if you have the coffee you like best.

Hot is Different From Burnt

Extra hot milk is just burned milk. Anything over 200 degrees is just burned. If you’re trying to save it for later just get a stopper to keep the heat from escaping, or get it later, I doubt there isn’t a starbucks around wherever you are.

Ethnocentricism is no Excuse

Cold brew has been around for a long time. Just because Starbucks recently began doling out the new drink doesn’t mean they created it. According to historical records, cold brew finds its origins in Japan, specifically in Kyoto. It used to be referred to as Kyoto-style coffee, and only recently has been proliferate amongst US markets. See, pretty interesting huh? Ask a barista, and if they’ve got an ounce of intelligence and care, they’ll gladly tell you any further information or tidbits.

Don’t Play Yourself

Milk/cream and sugar are not needed. Sometimes the reason your coffee tastes so bad is because it’s just not the right type. Not all black coffee is a bitter charcoal pit. This isn’t a one size fits all type of situation. Just like there are different flavors of tea, there are different roasts with varying characteristics. Experiment a little, baristas are there to help you with that. Don’t just say it’s gross and expect us to read your mind, tell us what flavors you’re into.

This is Not That

If you order a Caramel Frappuccino with extra caramel because you want “coffee,” I will slap you. In my mind, at least.

There Are Actual Sizes

“Regular” is not and has never been a size. I assume you mean medium, which is mostly correct, but for those special folks that think I’m being dumb when I ask what exactly they mean, regular is not real.

Seek Within

If you really don’t know what you want, just ask yourself these three questions: 1. Do I want something hot or cold? 2. Do I want caffeine? 3. Do I want sugar? If you just tell your barista these three things and give them free reign to do whatever, they’ll have a blast and you’ll probably find a new favorite drink.


Overall, enjoy the experience that the barista is trying to impart. We genuinely care about the coffee, it’s what’s keeping us from throwing a bagel in your face at 5 in the morning. So take a minute, soak in the environment and know this isn’t a vending machine, it’s a cafe and we have real beans with real hot water and real people, not a robot.


How To Get Massive Likes On Your Instagram Burrito Photos

This guide is part of a series called “Being Your Best #Foodbeast” on Instagram. If you’re gonna document your food, you might as well do it well. These guides are here to help. Indulge.

So you order a good looking burrito, you whip out your phone or DSLR and you have no idea what to do next. You could just eat, but chances are you’re here because you are a food documentarian of some sort.

Full disclaimer, the following tips and tricks work for me, my audience and the some of Instagram’s most notable food pornographers. Pick and choose which of the following practices work for your Instagram. Those of you with your own personal style and aesthetic, I applaud you — you’re already ahead of the game.



Sounds obvious, but not a day goes by where I don’t get tagged in a photo, begging for a regram, only to land on a picture of a tortilla tightly wrapped around a mystery filling. What’s inside your burrito?! I don’t care what your caption says, I’m on Instagram and I deserve to know!

The psyche of the average food porn consumer isn’t predicated by the outside of the burrito, it’s the inside that matters. Unless you’ve ordered your burrito wet, drenched in cheese and beautifully plated in a tin circle with rice and beans, please split it open and show your audience what’s inside.

Also, pick it up with your hands, it won’t bite.

2. Have a well organized, clear cross section

Don’t get lazy after cutting a burrito in half.

Once a burrito is halved, data shows that having clear, distinct ingredients filling the burrito is crucial. When you halve a burrito with a knife, you’ve likely sliced right through pieces of rice, beans, french fries and in some cases, ice cream (cotton candy burrito anyone?). The way the human eye reads a news feed, they need to see things as clear and whole as possible. Rice and beans cut in half don’t register as well on the eyes.

Once you’ve sliced your burrito in half, make sure you do a bit of finagling with your ingredients to bring some whole beans, rice and pieces of meat to the top. In the example above, you’ll see that I’ve buried the shrimp pieces I accidentally cut, and brought to the top unharmed shrimp. Same with the fries. I left some cut, then pulled whole ones to the foreground. There is no question to the subconscious this burrito is stuffed with whole french fries.


3. Grab the ass, and make sure people see it

The only asses you should be grabbing are of consenting adult friends, and halved burritos (consent optional).

Once you split a burrito, you have two asses and you’re gonna need some sizable hands to cup both in one frame. Don’t trip, if you have small hands, like our social media manager That’s That Fuego — it actually makes the food look bigger, which is never a bad thing.

What many food Instagrammers tend to miss when documenting burritos is cylindrical depth. Plates can vary in size and it is extremely difficult to capture the depth of a burrito when she’s lying flat.

By grabbing the burrito from the bottom and giving it a slight tilt towards the camera, a lot of nuanced mind trickery is at work.

Your audience is intrinsically expecting a tortilla to complete its own brain loop that makes them crave a burrito. If they don’t see the tortilla clearly, their mind might not register it as a burrito. Don’t assume people know a tortilla is in frame. Sounds extra, but remember that your audience isn’t in the room with you, they didn’t taste the burrito and they didn’t feel the tortilla.


4. Natural light, avoiding canopies & overhangs


A post shared by Elie (@bookofelie) on

Go outside. The sun is a beautiful tool and natural lighting is the easiest way to immediately take your Instagram food photos to the next level.

Avoid direct sunlight, and get away from walls that create weird colors when they reflect the sun.

Too often your camera will pick up on the reds illuminating off a nearby brick wall, or an orange tint on your food because you’re sitting at a table with a red umbrella above. Call me extra, but I’ve once taken my burrito into a nearby alleyway because the lighting was just perfect and nothing was skewing the light. Just try and find the side of the building where the sun is casting the softest shadow.

Also, if you’re eating a burrito at night — just enjoy it and keep your phone in your pocket. Your photo is gonna look like shit no matter what you do.

5. Keep the background clear of distractions

When shooting with the burrito held directly in front of you, make sure the background composition is free of clutter.

The more objects in the background, the higher the probably your audience will lose focus on the burrito.

Make sure the color of your background doesn’t blend in with your model, and avoid busy patterns or tiles that can confuse someone’s line of sight.

Your background doesn’t have to be empty, a little texture is always nice and human — but anything that competes with the model, in this case your sexy burrito, will hurt your chances of food porn success.

6. Have fun, eat well and get out there!

If y’all enjoyed this guide, feel free to follow me on Instagram. I eat a ton of burritos on my @BookOfElie account, as well as make sure things are looking sexy when y’all submit your goods to the main @Foodbeast account. Feel free to Tweet @BookOfElie to tell me what guide you want next, or email me once you’re Insta famous with Chipotle brand deals.




24 Grilling Tips To Crush Your Next Barbecue

If you love barbecue as much as I do, grilling season is all-year round.

On a recent trip to Bush’s Baked Beans BBQ Boot Camp, I got to learn some essentials to grilling from a seasoned pro. You may know Steven Raichlen from the PBS series Project Smoke or his bestselling book The Barbecue Bible. Raichlen served as the official grill master for Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp and imparted decades of grilling wisdom on a small team of amateurs.

Myself, included.

The day-long crash course on everything BBQ was designed to give even the most novice of barbecuers a strong foundation for handling the grill.

I spent some time and transcribed my sloppy writing from the course into a few tips for anyone interested in making their barbecue experience even easier.

Check them out!


Salt and Pepper are essential when it comes to seasoning meats. Sometimes that’s all you need.

If you want to add more layers, a rub of salt (salty), coarse black pepper (heat), paprika (earthy), and brown sugar (sweet) covers most taste sensations you’d want on your meat.

With the seasoning base mentioned above, you can customize it with additional spices depending on the type of cuisine you’re interested in cooking.

When salting meat, make sure to do it from an elevated angle (see SaltBae) to ensure that the salt is evenly distributed. This avoids getting irregularly salty patches in your cook.


When using a meat thermometer, make sure to insert it through the side of your cut and not from above to get a more accurate reading.

Use tongs or spatulas when turning your meat. Piercing cuts with a fork will drain the meat of its flavor and juices.

When making burgers, use ground beef that’s at least 15-18 percent fat. This prevents your patties from being too dry. Twenty-five percent, however, is too fatty.

Do not press your burger patty with the spatula when grilling. All this does is squeezes out the tasty juices inside your burger.


Direct grilling is when high heat is used to cook small or thin cuts of meats and vegetables.

Indirect grilling is when foods are cooked near or around the heat source while not sitting directly above it. This method is ideal for large or fattier cuts of meats or fish that will take a while to cook.

Charcoal burns hotter and drier and provides the best sear potential, but you won’t get too much flavor when cooking with it.

Propane grants you the option of controlling your temperature with the push of a button, but also provides little flavor.

Wood provides tons of flavor with a plethora of varieties. Different types of woods are paired with different types of meats. Wood, however, is a little more difficult to control in terms of temperature.

When cooking large cuts of meats, fight the temptation of opening your grill or smoker. Every time you peek, you lower the temperature and add to your cooking time. Just believe in yourself and trust your meat will come out beautifully.

Allowing your meat some time to rest after you cook it is a must. This creates a tastier and juicer product than if you were immediately primed to slice it open.

If your asparagus has the tendency to fall between the slits of your grill, take a skewer and carefully pierce four to five stalks of asparagus. These “boats” will keep from falling into the fire.

Basic Tips

Be as organized as possible. Have everything you need by the grill before you start.

Make sure you have enough fuel before you begin. You can’t stop halfway to go pick up some fuel.

Stay as clean as possible. Throw out waste and wipe your station down as you cook. Clean your grilling grates after every use.

After you clean your grates, make sure to keep it lubricated. Just take a paper towel soaked in oil or some kind of rendered animal fat and carefully oil the grate.

This is a no-brainer, but we can’t stress this enough. WASH YOUR HANDS after handling raw meat.

Try to avoid wrapping your food inside aluminum foil when grilling or smoking. Raichlen compares it to making love with protection on.

Instead of having to waste two plates for raw and cooked meats, just throw a layer of plastic wrap over one plate for the before and after. So picture it as plate, plastic layer, raw meat. Once all the raw meat has been cooked, remove the plastic and place it flush on the plate.

Never use the same cutting boards for raw meat and cooked meat. If you only have one cutting board, pour boiling water over it to kill any bacteria.

Design Hacks

13 Common Cooking Mistakes You Should Avoid In The Kitchen [Infographic]

Amateur cooks, myself included, tend to make mistakes here and there when it comes to cooking. Sure, mistakes happen, but they can drastically affect your final dish.

So how can we make the most of our kitchen experience?

Quid Corner cooked up a useful guide that shows us what the top 13 most common cooking mistakes made in the kitchen are and why we should avoid them. While a few of these are common sense for those with a modicum of experience in the kitchen, it’s always good for the less experienced to brush up on the basics.

Check out the infographic and see if it makes a difference the next time you’re in the kitchen!

Courtesy of: Quid Corner

This Is The Only Guide You Need For Eating And Drinking Your Way Through Miami

Without a doubt, Miami is one of the U.S.’s most diverse and wildly astonishing cities. And that’s not just because it’s where Pitbull AKA “Mr. Worldwide” was born and raised (dalé). and Google recently partnered to explore the town and discover what really makes Miami Miami, and now, they’re sharing everything there is to know about the Floridian mecca with the world. Using Biscayne Boulevard, aka a primary “artery” to the great city, as a reference point, our faves do all the dirty work and ultimately manage to break down the best places to eat, drink, and chill, realistically and with copious detail.

Watch the Streets by VICE: Miami episode, read the written guide, and lend your eyeballs to their carefully pinpointed map so you too can experience the most colorful neighborhoods, bars, eateries and more in the city. Here’s just a sample from the guide to Miami’s essential spots to eat and drink:


Burgers and Fritas

LoKal & KushLokaiFor dem artisanal burgers.

El Rey de las Fritas, Morro Castle, & El Mago de las Fritas El Rey de las Fritas For dem fritas, which are American burgers with a generous Cuban twist and make American burgers seem laughable.

A Trip to Havana

Versailles Versailles Since 1971—it’s the most notorious Cuban restaurant in Miami! One look at the menu, and you’ll see why they’ve been around for so long (and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon).

Azucar  azucarLA’s ice cream scene has nothing on Azucar, with unique, handmade flavors like sweet plantain, mamey, caramel flan, and cafe con leche

Enriqueta’s enriqueta What’s a trip to Little Havana without a Cuban sandwich? Enriqueta’s is claimed to be the best. 

Get Fancy

Prime 112 prime 112 Big shots and celebs are fans of their 21-28 day aged Prime beef. After peeping their online gallery…so are we.

Joe’s Stone Crab joe's stone crab Don’t worry, it’s nothing like Joe’s Crab Shack. Open since 1913, this classic Miami Beach hub is pure claaaaaass and has claaaaaaws for days, minus the singing.

Vagabond Restaurant vagabond restaurant Part restaurant, part art gallery, the Vagabond Restaurant maintains “…a casual fine dining concept catering to the ‘Contemporary Vagabond,’ a modern-day adventurer with a penchant for global food, drink, and art.” Part of the adventure should be trying out their peanuts and chapulines, a spiced up snack made with Mexican-imported grasshoppers.

On the Farm

Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Miami Brewing Company schnebly redland's winery The Miami Brewing Company is found within Schnebly Redland’s Winery. Double the farm fun.

Knaus Berry Farm knaus berry farm Apparently Knaus has some amaaaaazing cinnamon buns, amazing enough to make hour-long drives for! We believe it, they look sticky and delicious.

Robert is Here robert is here It’s hard to tell if Robert is Here is more for kids or adults. It’s a farm stand/fruit market/petting zoo that sells local and rare fruits from around the world, serves tropical fruit milkshakes, and hosts a tortoise petting zoo. Either way, this place is perfect for everyone. 

Only in Miami

Salty Donut salty donut Two words: boozy. Donuts.

Myumi offers ‘Japanese omakase dinners from a food truck that are pretty untouchable,’ according to VICE. But luckily you’ll can touch them all you want with your tastebuds.

Garcia’s garcias Garcia’s is a fish market/seafood restaurant combo that sits on the Miami River, and is literally everything you could ever want in a seafood joint. Ceviche, oysters, shrimp, crab cakes—yes, we confirm we want EVERYTHING. 


Gramps gramps The decor is the epitome of Miami, complete with the “Hotline Miami 80’s coke-den vibe” and Miami Blues poster. That’s hot.

Churchill’s Pub churchills pub The perfect dive to get down, dirty, and get your punk on. It’s where Marilyn Manson played his first gig!

Lagniappe lagniappe Jazz. Wine. Cheese. Pinky up, party down. 

For the full guide head to the VICE Guide to Miami.

#foodbeast Adventures FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss

VICE Launched An Extensive Eating And Drinking Guide To The City Of Chicago

Chicago—it’s known to most as the Windy City and/or the champion of deep dish pizza, but in actuality, Chitown is simply the greatest city in the States, according to Chicagoans,, and Google. Chicagoans are probably at least slightly biased, but we trust the latter two with all of our deep dish-loving hearts.

The media hub VICE recently teamed with Google to strategize the ultimate guide to navigating the city, using historic Halsted Street as a backbone. From arts and culture to sports, to food and drink, of course, the guide covers multiple aspects of the city in both written and visual form.

A pairing of video (Streets by VICE: Chicago) with a written guide and map to the best neighborhoods, bars, eateries and more, allows those who’ve never known Chicago to peer through a window-like portal into the richly complex city. Peep these samplings from the guide to Chicago’s coolest places to savor and slurp:




‘By far the best in town.’ The pizzeria resides in Lincoln Park.

Art of Pizza 

art of pizza

Two words: Stuffed. Pizza. Also voted #1 deep dish by the Chicago Tribune.

Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe

jimmys pizza cafe

Come for the white thin crust pizza. Stay for their “orgasm-triggering” garlic knots. 

Italian Beef



If it’s wrong to love a Chicago dog this much, we don’t want to be right.

Al’s Beef 

als beef

They’ve got spots all around Chitown, which means that many more opportunities to indulge in that GRADE A BEEF.

Jay’s Beef

jays beef

Of Wicker Park. VICE recommends ‘the grilled chicken sammy for a change of pace.’ 


DMK Burger Bar

DMK Burger Bar

They had us at ‘Parmesan Truffle Fries.’

Au Cheval

au cheval

The fancy schmancy stop is among several top lists from Zagat, Time Out, USA Today, and more. We’ll excuse the ‘bougie’-ness. 

Big & Little’s 

big and littles

Aka, the joint where Guy Fieri wolfed down some of their foie gras fries that one time. 

Everything Else



‘Out-fucking-standing Korean fried chicken and rice bowls.’ We’ll take it! 

Tango Sur

tango sur

We’ve never heard of a BYOB Argentine steakhouse, let alone an ‘affordadable’ one, but now that we know this exists life won’t be complete until we Tango!

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

honey butter fried chicken

Fried Chicken with Honey Butter… is this what Heaven’s made of? 


Spyner’s Pub

spyners pub

Unassuming on the outside. Kickass ‘lesbian karaoke dive bar’ on the inside. 

The Violet Hour

the violet hour

It’s obvious this bar takes their drinks as well as themselves seriously, but the floweriness is worth it. Get yo fancy on! 



Craft beer. Bumpin-n-grindin’. Fair chance of getting laid.

For the full guide head to the VICE Guide to Chicago.


How To Maximize Your Holiday Costco Shopping


For a bushel of mistletoe, there’s no better destination this holiday season than Costco. With their huge inventory and massive deals, this super store can give you some serious savings as you deck your halls, wrap your presents, and trim your treats. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips for buying some bulk cheer at Costco to make the season bright.

Holiday Hours and Warehouse Hours


Before we get ahead of ourselves on Yuletide planning, it’s important to know when Costco is a no-go this holiday season. The store is opened on Christmas Eve and the the day before Thanksgiving, but stores close a couple hours early. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are closed. On the other hand, some Costco Warehouses extend their hours specifically to make your life easier. Make sure to contact your local warehouse for more info, and bear in mind that seasonal weather conditions can also affect store hours.


Free Costco Cookbooks


Even while your digesting all that turkey, gravy, and stuffing, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your next holiday meal/gastronomical gauntlet. Costco’s got you covered yet again with a bevy of free cooking guides to give you plenty of ideas for a festive feast. Healthier fare falls under the purview of books like Smart Cooking, while you can get a little more extravagant with Simply Delicious. Either way, you’ll have tons of ideas, plus ways to incorporate affordable Kirkland ingredients.



Glowing polar bears

If you’re looking for something to keep up with the Jones’s and their electricity-zapping display, then you might want to cruise the Costco aisles. You’ll find everything from life-sized nativities to light-up LED reindeer to create a stunning display. They’ve also got a bevy of indoor decorations, including fresh firs and imitation spruces for your kids to decorate with some Kirkland ornaments. Check out more decorations here.

Gift Giving


Holiday Gift Baskets

Trying to get something that your family friends will enjoy? Costco has a variety of gift baskets that will suit a wide range of personal styles. Brands like Starbucks, Mrs. Fields and M&M are all in on the bulk giving trend.


Maybe, you just want to load your kids in the van and get away from all the pandemonium and insanity of your extended family? Costco has insider deals on tickets that make for a great seasonal get away. Head to a theme park, go on a ski trip, or plan a whole Disney vacation or cruise… the sky’s the limit with Costco as your ticketing partner. Even if you just want to catch a flick on Christmas day!


No kid’s going to turn down a trip to D-Land, but you might also want to get your little one’s something they can enjoy again and again. Bicycles, skateboards, building blocks, arts and crafts, big-box ride-in vehicles: Costco has all the toys you need to brighten their spirits and bring a twinkle to their eyes. Excuse me while I go throw up candy canes and Christmas spirit.