Lara Bowman

Texas transplant now living in LA. I enjoy cooking, eating, traveling and am passionate for all things culinary. My grandmother was a wonderful cook and we enjoyed watching Julia Child together. I owe my love of food and zest for life to her.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite foods: oysters, shrimp, salmon, tuna, lobster, sushi, steak, pasta, pizza, cheeseburgers, pot roast, fried chicken, po-boys, gumbo, chili, enchiladas, eggs, cheese, potatoes, pinto beans, artichokes, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado
  • Last bite on earth: Tex-Mex in TX. Queso, guacamole, red & green salsas, fresh tortilla chips, single layer nachos w/ pickled jalapenos, crispy ground beef taco, cheese enchilada w/ chili gravy, sunny up huevos rancheros, creamy refried pinto beans and Don Julio margaritas.

Latest Comments

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

For anyone needing a poutine fix in L.A., I think the best in the city is at Jay's Bar on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake. Outstanding fries, scratch brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. Swoon!

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

Best Burger: In N Out Double Double
Best French Fries: McDonalds
Best Non-French Fry Sides: Sonic Tator Tots
Best Make-Sure-Nobody's-Looking Indulgence: I have no shame
Best Fried Chicken: Popeye's Spicy
Best Breakfast Sandwich: McDonalds
Best Straw: Whataburger
Best Ketchup: Whataburger
Best Way to Spend 99ยข: Two Tacos from Jack in the Box
Best "Not Real Food But I Don't Really Care": Tacos from Jack in the Box
Best If You're in Texas: Whataburger
Best Dipping Sauce: Popeye's
Best Service: In-N-Out

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

Prior post by @sscutchen "There is nothing like Whataburger. Here's why"

1. Toasted buns
2. Cooked to order burgers with all the stuff you want. Any way you want.
3. Fresh cool veggies that aren't wilted. Including chopped jalapenos.
4. The bacon is that thick kind that is well cooked, but still slightly chewy.
5. If you get chicken strips instead, they are white breast tenderloin in a great crust that is self-contained enough to eat in the car without getting crumbs all over the place.
6. Cream gravy. With just the right amount of pepper. And it will stick to the chicken strips without dripping... still great road food. And Texas Toast to dip in there if you want.
7. Real honest to God biscuits to go with that gravy.
8. Breakfast taquitos. Awesome.
9. Drink straws with serious diameter so you don't have to go all suckface on it to get a sip.
10. The ketchup comes in a little sealed tub rather than those obnoxious squeeze packages. It's big enough to have enough ketchup to do at least half of your fries. and it's got a bit of garlic in there... nice touch.
11. Go have a seat after you order. They bring the food to your table.
12. Outside every Whataburger is a newspaper machine. If you are there early, buy a newspaper. After you read it, you leave it up there with the trays. Everybody shares all day long.
13. In the bathroom you've got REAL FREAKING PAPER Towels! Not that infernal stupid drier that makes you wipe your hands on your pants.
14. They come to your table to check on you.
15. The folks always seem nice, like they know that they are serving good food and are proud to do so.

I've never been to a bad Whataburger.
Whataburger rocks.
I'm hungry."

Damon Gambuto's 14 Most Memorable Burgers in Los Angeles and Beyond

@Damon: I moved to LA 5 years ago and started reading Serious Eats and your AHT reviews several months later. I always loved your reviews (I love burgers!) and you certainly guided me very well on my burger eating adventures around my new city. I have enjoyed burgers at the following joints thanks to your reviews: Bill's (a favorite gem!), Bird's, Boneyard Bistro (going again tonight), The Counter, Dillon's, Hamburger Hamlet, Hook Burger (awesome), Island's, Jack's Classic, Pie N Burger (another favorite gem!), Rustic Canyon (divine), The Smokehouse and Umami. I have also avoided the bad burgers at the Federal Bar, Delphine's and Bottega Louie when visiting those restaurants so thanks for taking those burgers for the team! Still on my list of must do's based on your reviews are Comme Ca, Father's Office and Oinkster which I am sure I will adore. Long story short, I will really miss reading your LA reviews and I hope you stick around SE. Best wishes on your return to New York! Cheers!

Open Thread: When Did You First Fall in Love with Pizza?

I must have been around 5 or 6 years old. My mom and her best friend would take me to a neighborhood pizzeria called Square Pan Pizza in Houston, Texas. I can still remember the taste and smell of their pies. They made very thin crust pies in rectangle sheet pans and they cut the slices in small squares that were perfect for my little hands. They served small crumb sausage and tiny dice pepperoni that were perfect for my little mouth. I think this is where my crust preference began because they spread their ingredients all the way to the far edges and had very little perimeter crust. I literally cried when they closed the place several years later. I never knew why they closed and I've never found another pizza quite like it.

Adam Kuban's Bar Pie Pop-Up: Feeling Like a Proud Papa

Excited for you and proud of you! Gorgeous pies! Congratulations Adam!

How to Make Real Texas Nachos

Finally! Proper nacho respect! I was raised in Texas and SO MUCH prefer the classic single layer (with required pickled jalapenos) to the big, messy piles of train wreck nachos that are so often served outside of Texas. Thanks Josh!

Deviled eggs

LOVE deviled eggs! My standard is mayo, yellow mustard, S&P, white vinegar, Worcestershire and Tabasco which was also my grandmother's recipe. She would top with paprika but I also vary the toppings with fresh dill, chives, Sriracha, or capers. Need to try horseradish and wasabi!

How do you like your hummus?

I prefer a very smooth, creamy hummus with tahini, lemon and garlic and like olive oil drizzled on top rather than mixed in. Spices sprinkled on top are welcome but I'm generally not a big fan of flavored hummus.

Poll: Are You a Blotter?

Reminds me of Phillip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P.) in Along Came Polly when Ben Stiller blots grease from his pizza slice... "What are you doing?!? That is the best part!"... then he proceeds to drip Ben's extra grease on his own slice.

What's For Dinner- Sunday Edition

Grilled cheeseburgers, potato salad and beer.

Poll: How Do You Eat Your Leftovers?

Usually either cold or room temp. If I warm, I use the oven.

Grilled: John Eckre of Santa Fe Bite

This green chile cheeseburger is on my bucket list. Thanks John!

The 'Influential' Burger (That Influences You to Order Chili Dogs Instead) at The Varsity in Atlanta

I've been to the Varsity once when visiting a friend in Atlanta. I really liked the history, charm and chili dogs... the fries, not so much. I'm now grateful I did not order the horror burger!

Food-related deal breakers when dating?

My last 3 boyfriends had the following food issues:
BF 1) Severely allergic to garlic (hospital allergic)
BF 2) No vegetables (none!)
BF 3) No pork, no turkey, no dairy, no eggs, no sushi
I was understanding of these issues, however frustrating at times. But now, it will be a total deal breaker for me. I can understand if someone does not like 1 or 2 things (I have a small list myself) or has a legit allergy, but if they eradicate entire food groups, are closed minded about food or are not open to try new things, they are completely out.

Surviving Vegas

I will be staying at the Luxor myself in May - they did have some great deals recently!
Here are my suggestions:
Burger Bar (in walkway from Luxor to Mandalay Bay)
In N Out (a must if you've never had)
Border Grill (next door in Mandalay Bay)
Lotus of Siam (Thai)
Raku (Japanese)
Bouchon (French)

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

I prefer hot & spicy or original. Need to try Asiago!

Open Thread: Which Burgers Are On Your Bucket List?

Louis' Lunch - CT
Ted's - CT
Matt's Bar - MN
Holeman & Finch - ATL
Bobcat Bite - NM
Shake Shack - NY