My Top 5: Chef Monica Pope

Chef Monica Pope - My 5 Favorite Things to Do in Houston

On Mondays, we highlight enterprising Houstonians who share their five favorite things to do in Houston in “My Top 5.” This week we caught a moment with Houston’s own culinary star Chef Monica Pope, who told us about some of her favorite spots and escapes inside the Loop. 

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Chef Monica Pope

  1. Buchanan’s Native Plants nursery in The Heights on Sundays – It’s an awesome place to go with the family and get some plants for the porch or garden and also grab a Good Dog hot dog for lunch too – YUM.
  2. 13 Celsius – It’s a favorite place for a few of my favorite things – wine, wine, and well, more wine. This old European style spot also offers a nice selection of charcuterie and cheeses plus tableside s’mores.
  3. Discovery Green for its extensive programming right through the year – We’ve made visits to the ice skating rink, watched ice sculpture carving, attended concerts and splashed in the fountain playscapes.
  4. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark off Sabine and Allen Parkway – Our kids love skating, and I think the major Buffalo Bayou enhancement project between River Oaks and downtown is really coming along well. I recently did a cooking demonstration on a pontoon as we floated up and down the bayou. It’s a cool way to see the city from a different perspective.
  5. Walks around Hermann Park – It’s a really nice park with beautiful trees and grounds – and a perfect place to escape for an hour. I go incognito in hat and sunglasses and don’t look anyone in the eye while on my walks.

About Monica Pope

Dubbed the “Alice Waters of the Third Coast,” German-born, Texas-reared chef Monica Pope has been revolutionizing Houston’s culinary scene since she debuted her first restaurant in 1992. Pope shares her passion for connecting local farmers and consumers with cooking classes, an online cookbook Eat Where Your Food Lives, plus Sparrow Bar + Cookshop and Beaver’s restaurants. Pope has enjoyed national recognition in the form of a James Beard award nomination and a spot competing on the 2010 second season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo. She is the only female Texas chef to be named Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine thanks to her inventive “eat where your food lives” cooking style.

Photo credit: Debora Smail