How Houston Weekends
Farmers market guru loves Backstreet Cafe, Alabama Gardens & "smart ass" MonicaPope
You probably have seen him buzzing around, always wearing something on his head, smiling and keeping everything running smoothly at the Urban Harvest farmers markets. Mark Bowen, executive director, is always up to something, scheming mischievously and finding additional ways to support his constituents. Bowen is as local as they come.
CultureMap caught up with Bowen and asked some not-so-probing questions in hopes of discovering what he is up to this weekend. He shared. We listened.
Favorite weekend restaurant: "Four generations of my family have been haunting Tracy and Hugo's Backstreet Cafe and probably still are. I love the Sunday farmers market dinners, outstanding vegetarian entrees and the fact that Sean Beck still brings it with fresh drinks like the local beet martinis is an added bonus. Fave outdoor dining spot too."
Hidden gem in Houston: "Alabama Gardens in the Third Ward, Houston oldest community garden at 25-plus years. This is where Houston's best veggie gardeners, cooks and bullshitters gather. Talk about great food and even better company."
The happy hour spot: "t'afia. For starters, back in her Boulevard Bistrot days, Monica (Pope) was the first chef that would buy local from the farmers I was working with 20-plus years ago. And of course, I love that she is a fellow smart ass who likes to go for it. At tafia's, I treasure the moji-tejas with Railean white rum (from San Leon, Texas) fresh mint and Paula’s Texas orange.
"I also love the local appetizers such as the redneck cheddar with house panforte, the fresh shell pea hummus with lavendar pizzette, the local sprout salad with miso dressing and the agedashi tofu with sunflower sprouts from Twin Persimmon Farm."
What's on the bill this weekend: "Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband at the University of St. Thomas plus a potluck with some friends visiting from Germany."
On the clock: "Sowing some seeds at the Fifth Ward Farmer Street Garden and then hanging out at our Eastside and Highland Village Markets while enjoying all the best of local."
Where to kick back: "Sailing with the kids and salty dog Jake or off to camp and chill at State Parks like Pedernales."
Tea or coffee?: "Mexican Chiapas fair trade organic from Grizzaffi Coffee!"