Space Montrose -- the little store behind Brasil and cattycorner from Domy -- has been my go-to shopping spot since it opened two years ago, since it specializes in products from Texas-based artists, craftsmen and other artisans. Nearly every birthday, Christmas or anniversary present I've bought in the last two years has come from Space, not to mention the jewelry, cards and art I've bought for myself (including pieces from Graham Franciose, Tim Doyle, James Flames and Justin Anville).
And now there's one more reason to do my Christmas shopping at Space this year: the Nom Nom Friends.
It's tough to call the Nom Nom Friends stuffed animals, because that's not what they are. And it doesn't really work to call them pillows either, because they're more than that. Nom Nom Friends are completely damn adorable, plush, stuffed pieces of anthropomorphized food.
There's Monsieur Toast, who wears a beret made of butter and a very Gallic mustache -- the ultimate French toast. There's Eggbert Sunnyside, a sunnyside-up egg with an equally sunny face. There's Hamlet, a comically oversized leg of ham perfect for for your favorite carnivore to cuddle up with. And there's the newest addition to the Nom Nom Family, Mo the Ironically Vegan Hipster Bacon.
Says Sherry Wu, who creates the Nom Nom Friends right here in Houston with her partner John Suh of Mo the Ironically Vegan Hipster Bacon:
It makes complete sense that Mo, the Ironically Vegan Hipster Bacon is Eggbert Sunnyside's very best friend. The pair met when Mo's attempts at irony made him Eggbert's accidental champion. Additionally, Mo's seemingly unstudied, invariably laid-back mood provides a great foil to Eggbert's enthusiastic charm. They go together like... well, eggs and bacon. Mo's bowtie is attached by an alligator clip through a button hole so you are free to style him as purposefully un-stylish as you please. Hurry, get him before he's cool!
Wu and Suh not only founded Nom Nom Friends, Wu herself -- a licensed social worker -- who personally hand-sews every piece the pair sells. And Suh is married to our very own Christine Ha, former EOW columnist and the most recent winner of FOX's MasterChef. In addition to the Nom Nom Friends collection -- which also includes a plush watermelon and keychain-sized versions of their most popular creations -- Wu and Suh sell a Team Christine T-shirt that you'll want to wear proudly around town.
The Nom Nom Friends retail between $34 and $38 online and $40 at Space. And with each local purchase, you get to help a worldwide charity: the United Nations World Food Programme.
"Every full-sized Nom Nom we sell helsp feed eight children around the world," says Wu.
"But really, as we get bigger," she addes, "we would like to start funding self-sustaining humanitarian projects as well -- building wells, advancing education, et cetera. Hopefully we will get to that point."
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And it's not just the Nom Nom Friends who help support a worthy cause.
With the purchase of every Team Christine T-shirt, Wu and Suh donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation, which is dedicated to funding scientific research to find answers that will lead to prevention, clinical treatments, and an eventual cure for Neuromyelitis Optica -- the disease that robbed Christine Ha of her eyesight, but not her acclaimed talent in the kitchen.