'Sugar Hooker' Hopes to Break Houston's Kickstarter Curse by Raising 50K for Bakery

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Photo from Kickstarter
Pastry chef Rebecca Masson is seeking funds through Kickstarter to open a permanent bakery.
After three years of operating a sizable baking business on an eight-foot table in the kitchen of Kraftsman Baking, Rebecca Masson was ready for a little more elbow room.

She's the creator and owner of Fluff Bake Bar, a company that makes cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods, and she has achieved enough success to warrant a space of her own. Masson, who uses the nicknames "Sugar Fairy" and "Sugar Hooker," stocks her products in shops and restaurants around town, but with the business growing, she needs a storefront and another employee.

Instead of turning to the bank or investors, though, Masson turned to Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website that's been gaining popularity among would-be restaurateurs across the country. Here's how the outfit defines itself:

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others. Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

There's the catch, and the thought that sometimes runs through Masson's head as she works toward her goal: If she doesn't raise $50,000 by 10:04 a.m. on December 19, she gets nothing.

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Get To Houston-area Estate Sales for Culinary Finds

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Not a bad price for an antique grinding mill.

I've never thought of myself as a "garage sale person." You know, the type that gets up at the crack of dawn every Saturday with a pre-planned itinerary of all the yard sales and flea markets around town and a steadfast determination to wrangle great bargains on novelty items. During this past summer, however, I have become much more interested (my husband might say "obsessed") with estate sales because of the wide assortment of interesting, and often discounted, culinary accessories to be had at them.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of an estate (or tag) sale, it's similar to a yard or garage sale, except that the wares are usually marketed inside a house that has been recently sold. A number of private companies in Houston handle larger estate sales; this website can be helpful in determining times and locations for sales at which you might even score a set of vintage Fiestaware.


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Food Porn: 12 Houston Instagram Accounts To Follow

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Photo from Instagram
Food Porn Alert! If you've been trying to completely ruin your diet or you just like to spend your time trolling and salivating over pictures of food, have we got the list for you!

We've rounded up some of the most drool-worthy Instagram accounts in Houston for your following pleasure. Commence #foodenvy.

Here they are (and in no particular order):

12. @PONDICHERI

Bask in the glory of Pondicheri's "vibrant and innovative Indian cuisine." Then head over to the restaurant to bask your face in some of it.

11. @EATSIEBOYS

If you're ever confused as to where to get brunch on Sundays, just follow the Eatsie Boys. They post photos of their Trust Us brunch menu each and every Sunday to get your mind dancing with thoughts of Eggman Sammys and Disco Biscuits. Plus, they fill their feed with shots of the food-truck-turned-cafe's fun food and antics.

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Photo from Instagram
10. @FEMME_FOODIE

Our own Mai Pham chronicles her life and travels through food under the handle femme_foodie. And my what a life that is. Pham's photos of food are some of the best in town. She probably says it best -- "I work hard to make people hungry."

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Finding the Best in Houston Is Easier Than Ever: Check Out the Improved Houston Press Best Of App

Categories: Food Tech

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Want to know where to go and what to do in Houston? Your essential mobile guide -- also known as our Best Of app -- just got better. You already know you can count on the Best Of app to offer restaurant, shopping and nightlife recommendations from Houston Press's expert critics. Now the app has been redesigned to be faster, sleeker and packed with even more carefully curated local content. Not only can you find the best burger or martini in town, you can scan critics' picks and other recommended options in those and dozens of other categories. And now that we've combined our Best Of database with our comprehensive local listings, you can always find something nearby. Wherever you are in Houston, the Best Of app is your window to what's around you. It's fast, it's fun and it's still free. Download it today.

Find Your Next Meal with the New Version of the Houston Press Mobile App

Categories: Food Tech

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If you're one of the many Houstonians who have already downloaded the Houston Press mobile app, you know just how handy it is to have the Press with you wherever you have your smartphone.

Today we're happy to announce that we're taking things up a notch with the new and improved version of our mobile app, available now for iPhone and Android users.

We know that when you open an app, you want to get straight to the information, and that's exactly what this new version of the app does. We've cut to the chase and ditched the home screen to get you to the information you're looking for faster than ever.

With the new app, you'll have access to our fully searchable event, concert and restaurant listings; slideshows of local events and nightlife; and all our daily blog content. You'll also have access to Voice Daily Deals if you're looking to save some cash next time you go out.


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Evernote Food 2.0 App: Your Digital Cookbook

Categories: Food Tech

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Evernote Food 2.0 has more features for you to explore recipes and restaurants.
Evernote released Evernote Food last year as an application for you to remember the food you recently ate. Rather than just snapping a quick picture of your gorgeous meal you either created at home or enjoyed at a restaurant, and vowing you would blog about it but really ended up never looking at it again, this edition of Evernote Food allowed you to store those photos in one location, making it easier for you to find your photos and do what you wanted with them.

Basically, the original application was a digital food journal. While you made your meals, you could take photos and notes of the steps, or just take a picture of your meal and write a little note about it so you would remember what it was, where it was and how it tasted.

The upgraded version of this food application allows you to do so much more than just take pictures of your food. Whether you're on your iPhone or iPad, you can organize all of your culinary explorations.

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Holiday Gift Don'ts: 5 Useless Gifts Nobody Wants

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Even Snooki doesn't need a pickle slicer...
Every week this holiday season, we'll be posting our favorite food-centric gift ideas. Earlier this week, we featured Useful Kitchen Tools Under $30. To further help everyone avoid that awkward "Hey, didn't I get you that last year?" re-gifting moment, now we're sharing 5 Holiday Gifts That Nobody Actually Wants.

Make sure to avoid these useless gifts:

See also:
Top 5 Seasonal Booze Gifts
Top 5 Gifts for Wine Lovers
Top 5 Gifts for the Baker
5 Gifts for the Coffee Snob
Keeping It Kosher: Top 5 Hanukkah Gifts

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Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Useful Gifts Under $30

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If all else fails, just get the puppy.
Every week this holiday season, we'll be posting our favorite food-centric gift ideas. This week, we're featuring Useful Kitchen Tools Under $30. Be sure to check back for guides on Gifts for Kids Who Cook, Last Minute Homemade Gifts and even Useless Gifts Nobody Really Wants.

Here are 5 Useful Items That Every Kitchen Needs (and I know this because I don't have/really need half of them):

See also:
- Top 5 Seasonal Booze Gifts
- Top 5 Gifts for Wine Lovers
- Top 5 Gifts for the Baker
- 5 Gifts for the Coffee Snob
- Keeping It Kosher: Top 5 Hanukkah Gifts


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What Was That Dish on That Show I Saw? There's an App for That

Categories: Food Tech

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The Food Network
You're in Las Vegas, and it's dinner time. Sure, there are hundreds of hotel restaurants you could try -- some of them even worth it -- but you are remembering a restaurant you saw on the Food Network. It was on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and it was about a Chinese place with a very spicy dish that Ming Tsai liked. Do you give up and hit the buffet? No, pull out your trusty phone app MapMuse or The Food Network On the Road.

There it is - Lotus of Siam on East Sahara Ave., and you are ordering the nam prik ong. Dinner saved. These apps are chock full of your favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel TV shows, and MapMuse even has shows from other networks, like No Reservations. Of course, there are good and bad things about each one, so I have both on my phone.

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A Food Scale That Tells You More Than Just Weight

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Photos by Molly Dunn
This food scale guarantees accurate nutritional information to help you follow a healthy diet.
Last Christmas, my mom purchased the Eat Smart Nutrition Pro Scale for me to use while I cook. I have type 1 diabetes and need to know how many carbohydrates and grams of fiber are in each item of food I eat. So, when I'm cooking, especially with foods that don't have a nutrition label on the back of the package (mainly produce and protein), this handy-dandy nutrition scale solves all of my problems.

Now, not everyone has type 1 diabetes and needs to take insulin to cover each gram of carb they take in, but if you want to watch your calories while you're on a diet plan, you most certainly can do that, too. Or, if you just want to weigh your ingredients while you're baking, you can do that as well.

The nutrition food scale tells you the ounces or grams in one ingredient -- the calories, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, total fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, calcium and vitamin K.

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