My Top 5: Ninfa’s on Navigation Chef Alex Padilla

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation Executive Chef Alex Padilla

At the top of each week “My Top 5” showcases enterprising and creative Houstonians making things happen in H-Town, revealing their favorite things to do in their down time. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Ninfa’s On Navigation Chef Alex Padilla, who shares some of his favorites inside and outside the Loop.

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Alex Padilla

  1. Catalina Coffee on Washington – It’s my favorite coffee spot in town. It reminds me of when I was cooking and living in San Francisco. It has that fun, funky vibe. I usually stop in to grab a cappuccino on the way to work or whenever I have a quick break.
  2. Hugo Ortega’s Caracol by the Galleria – I love the coastal twist on traditional Mexican cuisine. I love to eat seafood, especially fish, so this is my go-to spot even when I just want to grab a drink at the bar. I like trying the new menu items in the relaxed atmosphere — and I love to fish, so I know I can’t go wrong here.
  3. Listening to The Eagle 106.9 and 107.5 – I love oldies music! The music today just isn’t the same as it used to be. I love how the station showcases and inspires others by the beauty of great music. Coincidentally, I also love The Eagles, my favorite band.
  4. Downtime at home – I rarely get a lot of downtime and when I do, I like to relax. One of my favorite things to do is simply pour a glass of red wine and read. I love books, magazines, cookbooks — anything I can learn from. When I finish up at the restaurant, I usually go home and read for at least 30 minutes. It’s the perfect way to wind down from a busy day.
  5. Buffalo Bayou Park – I am so happy about the renovations. This has always been one of my favorite places and to see the multi-million dollar renovations taking place, gets me excited. What other major city offers 160 acres of beautiful scenery and that skyline? This is so rare and I’m happy we have this in our backyard, as our playground.

About Chef Alex Padilla

Executive Chef of Original Ninfa’s on Navigation and Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys (both owned by Legacy Restaurant Group), Chef Alex Padilla’s Ninfa ties run deep. His mother was one of the first employees hired by Mama Ninfa herself, as a line cook in the tortilla factory that evolved into the restaurant. He was born and raised in San Pedro, Honduras before moving to Houston with his family at age 16. He began his culinary career while still a student at Westfield High School. Padilla later trained with celebrated San Francisco Chef Nancy Oakes, served as the executive sous chef of Boulevard, Oakes, a James Beard-awarded restaurant. He returned to Houston in 2006 to lead the culinary team at the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation.