Pedro Angel Garcia hosts Spanish wine dinners

Chef Pedro Angel Garcia

Pedro Angel Garcia was born in La Habana, Cuba to a Cuban mother, Esperanza Colarte, and a Spanish father, Pedro Angel Garcia Sr. The Garcia family immigrated to the United States in 1963 and immediately moved to New York City where Pedro was raised. His love of food was sparked at an early age and as a teenager worked in his father's restaurant, Los Parados, on 162nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan, as a short order cook. There he learned the basics of chopping vegetables, cutting meat, and making coffee.

Garcia graduated from Aviation High School and attended Queens College before moving to Houston and opening El Meson Restaurant with his father in 1981. He learned about food and wine the old fashioned way, buying, selling, and tasting along the way. He took the helm of the family business after his father passed away in 1992 and began turning out regular Spanish wine dinners winning recognition and acclaim.

El Meson won the Houston Chronicle Palate Award for Best Service in 1997 and the Houston Press Best Appetizer Award in 2000 for his Cuban Nachos, a fusion of Tex-Mex and Cuban flavors that continues to be a top-selling item today. In 2002 El Meson took first place in the Top Ten Wine List Awards by Houston's Dining Magazine My Table and received the Award of Unique Distinction from Wine Enthusiast in 2008. El Meson was a finalist in the Cartaví International Catalan Wine List Award of 2010, and has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence each year since 1999.

Garcia is a certified sommelier recognized by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He also holds a Senior Diploma from the International Sommelier’s Guild, and an Advanced Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine recognized by the Society of Wine Educators and Certified Spanish Wine Instructor recognized by the Wine Academy of Spain.

Over the years, Garcia has always been involved in his community having served on the board of directors of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, the City of Houston's Main Street Market Square Redevelopment Authority, University Area Rotary Club, South Main Alliance, Express Children's Theatre, The Back Porch Players, and Institute of Hispanic Culture. He served as president of the Knollwood Village Civic Club, Casa Cuba of Houston, and the Talento Bilingue de Houston Arts Center. He also served on the Houston–Harris County Arts Task Force Commission and currently serves on the Recipe For Success Chefs Advisory Board which named him the 2012 Chef of the Year.

As an actor, he has performed in various theatres around Houston, the Alley, Stages Repertory, and The Ensemble among others. He remains involved in the arts, most recently having directed the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Anna in the Tropics,” by Nilo Cruz in 2011, a joint production of The Country Playhouse and Talento Bilingue de Houston performed with a bilingual cast.

Garcia holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Drama from the University of Houston and recently he published his first novel, “Arame and the Golden Apple,” (AuthorHouse, 2011). He is married to Regina and has a daughter, Jessica.

Regina Garcia of El Meson and Bike Houston

Regina Garcia

The League of American Bicyclists presented Houston's Regina Garcia with its 2007 National Education Award. The award recognizes individuals whose efforts have resulted in significant achievements in the education of cyclists or motorists regarding cyclists' rights at a state, regional, or national level. Garcia is an instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, Chairperson of the H-GAC Pedestrian-Bicyclist Subcommittee, member of the H-GAC Technical Advisory Committee, founding board member of Bike Houston, member of the City of Houston Pedestrian Bicyclist Advisory Committee, board member of the Memorial Park Conservancy, and overall bicyclist safety expert for all ages and levels of experience. She and her husband own and operate El Meson restaurant in the Rice Village and she is the team captain for the El Meson MS150 Bike Team.

Jessica Garcia of El Meson Restaurant & Wine Bar in Houston

Jessica Elaine Garcia

Jessica Elaine Garcia is a native Houstonian, graduate of The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Philosophy and Science from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has studied wine with the International Sommelier Guild completing level 2 and has worked as a sommelier at El Meson in Houston, Texas. Her ambition however is to become a wine maker and she's doing it the old fashioned way. She worked the 2012 vintage with the Pisoni Family Winery in California and is currently working the 2013 vintage with Lawson’s Dry Hills Winery in New Zealand. In her spare time she enjoys singing the blues.