Videos of the Week: Watch Houston Area Chefs and Restaurants Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Mark Gabriel Medina and Tai Nguyen of Soma Sushi

It's become something of a badge of honor for people around the country -- chefs, celebrities, whole restaurants -- to be nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. A viral social media campaign meant to bring awareness to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, the challenge is to dump a bucket of ice water over yourself or donate $100 to ALS research at (most people do both).

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, progressively causing total paralysis while the mind remains fully lucid. The prognosis is dire for those who are diagnosed, who have a life expectancy of two to five years.

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5 Best Cooking Video Sites for When the Printed Word Isn't Enough

Categories: The Interwebs

Photo by Molly Dunn
My Hollandaise sauce could have been saved if I had watched a video explaining how to make it first.
Have you ever read a recipe and had absolutely no idea what it was saying? You try to dissect it and attempt to figure out what it means by looking up certain words, or reading user reviews online, but nothing helps. That's because you can't cook the dish until you see how it is done.

A couple of years ago, I attempted to make Eggs Benedict at home. I have eaten Eggs Benedict multiple times, but up until that point I always had this breakfast indulgence at restaurants. If I had only researched how to make Hollandaise sauce and watched a video of the process, I might have been able to save my sorry attempt at Eggs Benedict.

If you find yourself stumped by the description of a recipe, then search for a video that will visualize the difficult tasks. Check out one of these five resources offering videos for a multitude of recipes that will certainly save the day.

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Happy Holidays!: What Happened When We Searched for "Sexy Christmas Food"

The task was simple: Go to a stock image website and find some holiday food photos for a "Happy Holidays from Eating Our Words" post. The problem is that searching stock image sites is so utterly boring. After a few minutes of searching in vain for an image that spoke to us, a lightbulb went off in our brains.

We typed "sexy Christmas food" and clicked enter. We're real mature, you see.

When it comes to "sexy Christmas food," the most popular item by far is the candy cane. We can't say we were too surprised by this finding. What did surprise us was just how many images of women and candy canes existed. If this journalism thing doesn't pan out, we're totally moving to the world of stock image photography; we think we could have a lot of fun with the world of [person] + [item] + [action].

Enjoy the photos, including the utterly bizarre one of the only image we could find of a guy listed under "sexy Christmas food." You're welcome.

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

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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Dining Web Site EatWith Invites You to Share a Home-Cooked Meal With Strangers

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
Alice and Carlos (right) invited James and Angela (left) and me to their home for a north African dinner.
A few weeks ago, I went online, found a stranger who can make North African food, and paid her and her husband to make dinner for me and a few friends.

It's not as weird as it sounds.

Alice and Carlos had created a profile on, a Web site that invites people to connect through dinner parties all over the world. The site started in Israel and Spain in 2011 after co-founder Guy Michlin found himself eating at the home of locals on a vacation in Crete. He spent four hours with the family and some friends they invited for the occasion, downing Cretan food and liquor and talking about everything from the Greek economy to where the locals eat. When the evening was over, he began thinking about how much the experience of traveling is enriched by interactions with people in their own privates spaces.

"When I returned home [to Israel], I shared my experience with my friend Shemer, and we began to envision a global community of enthusiastic guests and passionate hosts." Michlin writes. "We imagined a website where users could discover amazing hosts around the world, delicious homemade cuisine, and recount their stories of unforgettable experiences."

And so EatWith was born. In August of this year, the site expanded to the U.S., after becoming popular across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Most of the EatWith hosts in America are in New York City, but there are several other home cooks spread out across the country, including a couple right here in Houston.

And that's how I ended up arriving at the apartment of people I'd never met, ready for a feast.

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7 Of Houston's Best Takes On The Classic Bacon & Eggs

Sammy's Wild Game Grill 002.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Fries gone wild.
Last year, Urban Daddy rounded up some of New York City's best alternatives to the classic Bacon & Egg Sandwich. Well, watch out, NYC, because H-town's come to play.

Readers, we give you seven of the most mind-blowingly delicious takes on bacon & eggs in Houston:

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The Gang's Back: 5 Foods to Serve at Your It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Premiere Party

It's the new Wine Wednesday.
You guys, it's finally here. Season 9 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia begins this Wednesday on FXX.

If you're not a fan, you should be. Rumor has it that even the Game of Thrones creators are down with the gang, as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have co-written an episode. This is like TV Inception; consider our minds blown.

We don't know about you, but we've got our wine in hand (in a can, of course) ready for the premiere. And we've come up with a few other Sunny treats to go along with it.

Here are 5 Foods for Your Always Sunny Viewing Pleasure:

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Food Porn: 12 Houston Instagram Accounts To Follow

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):


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.


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.

Photo from Instagram

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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12 Houston Chefs with Celebrity Doppelgangers: Restaurant Weeks Edition

It's Doppelganger time! See which Houston local chef tried to steal a kiss from Natalie Portman and who plays for the MLB in his spare time.

And don't forget to support Houston Restaurant Week by visiting the chef's restaurants all month long (special bonus: if you sneak into the kitchen without getting arrested, you can compare the lookalikes in person).

See also:
- 13 Houston Chefs Who Have Celebrity Doppelgangers
- 12 Celebrity Chefs Who Have Cartoon Doppelgangers
- 13 Celebrity Chef Doppelgangers

Photo by Mai Pham
12. Jeff Axline vs. Vincent Cassel

This newest executive banquet chef at Hotel Zaza chef looks eerily familiar. Did we see him backstage at Swan Lake...or was it heisting a jeweled Fabergé egg opposite Brad Pitt? Wait, maybe it was at Brooklyn Athletic Club. We can't remember.

Photo by Mai Pham
11. Brandi Key vs. Natalie Maines

Executive chef of Coppa and 1/3 of the country trio the Dixie Chicks. For a taste of Key's delicate Italian dishes, we are ready to make nice.

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10 Food-Related Life Hacks, Thanks to Reddit

A wise man once told me, "All good things come from Reddit." Sure, I found this man on Reddit, but somehow, I believe him. So we perused the life hack section (the number of ways you can use pool noodles is just limitless, you guys) for some kitchen and food-related hacks.

EOW readers, we give you the Top 10 Food Hacks from Reddit (thank you, Reddit man, thank you):

10. Water Bottle Yolk Separator

Did you know you can separate an egg using a plastic water bottle? Now while we find this completely unnecessary, it's soooo cool-looking. Plus if you try it, you can make a YouTube video and get over 800,000 hits. Hooza!

9. Marshmallow Cupcake Frosting

Out of frosting? No problem! Place a marshmallow on top of each cupcake during the last five minutes of baking. VoilĂ ! Gooey and delicious marshmallow frosting.

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