Our My Top 5 series highlights a Houstonian who is shaping the culture of the city and making an out-sized impact on its character. In turn, each shares their own favorite things to do in Houston when not hard at work. This week, with Dining Out for Life happening on Thursday, April 25, 2019, we’re very pleased to feature Celia Moore, owner and founder of Beans Cafe. Her coffee shop is one of 30 restaurants participating in this annual fundraising event for AIDS Foundation Houston.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Celia Moore
- Fiorenza Park — We have some wonderful urban parks in Houston, but Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park is a something special: two lakes, a high hill, shady fishing spots, giant white pelicans, pretty wood ducks, a small island crowded with egrets, turtles that slip off tree limbs into the water with the alligators. This park is beautifully maintained, the walking paths are long and curvy, with trees on one side and water on the other. I’ve never been there when there wasn’t a breeze. It’s also never crowded, so let’s keep this a secret.
- Texas Art Asylum — My favorite place for complete diversion is the Texas Art Asylum. This warehouse store is filled with unusual items that have already lived one life, and I like to consider how to give them their next one. All the items for sale are donated and repurposed, and I like how they are presented in random order, not predefined by being placed in the sewing or painting or woodworking section. They are just waiting for me to decide where they belong next.
- Live music — The best lesson I learned in college is that live music generates spontaneous joy. One of my favorite Houston memories is at Fitzgerald’s on a Tuesday night, listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn. With a sparse crowd as his audience, he mesmerized all of us by sitting on the edge of the stage and playing “Lenny”. Now Shakespeare’s on Memorial is my neighborhood spot for live blues, and it never disappoints.
- Houston’s coffee community — Yes, we have a lot of great coffee shops, but all the talent that precedes the coffee you drink is also incredible. We have a plethora of wonderful roasters (Beans Cafe uses Cruiser Coffee), talented baristas, and intrepid shop owners who share their talents and knowledge. I recently attended two great Lift & Learn forums by Houston Coffee Collective. Houston may not have farms, but it’s not hard to find a farmer or farm representative from any coffee growing region. I believe Houston is the best place to own a coffee shop because you can be part of every step of the coffee industry, from green bean to brewed coffee.
- International Grocery Stores — When I have a day off, my plan is to combine adventure and food. In my neighborhood on Houston’s west side, we have a great variety of international grocery stores. While I always have an eye out for coffee and coffee products, I go in looking for ingredients that are simultaneously familiar and unusual. Recent additions are Seiwa Market, a Japanese grocery on Dairy Ashford, and Vishala Grocery III, an Indian grocery on Westheimer. Fiesta Mart and Phoenicia Specialty are not new, but often feature new products. The Energy Corridor Farmers Market on Saturdays is also a great place to find new foods offered by engaging vendors. Whatever I find, my recipe includes internet research and the result is usually a good surprise.
About Celia Moore
Based in the Energy Corridor, owner and founder Celia Moore opened Beans Cafe in 2010 after departing from her corporate accounting job. Armed without any experience in coffee or in small business, it took the whole family to turn the business into the area staple known today. After more than 9 years of unexpected leaps and luck, Celia is still happy (and surprised) to find herself running Beans Cafe. Her coffee shop is one of 30 restaurants participating in the annual Dining Out for Life fundraising event for AIDS Foundation Houston happening on Thursday, April 25, 2019.