It's time to get to know another one of the Slice contributors, this time Lara Bowman, who reports to us from the lovely City of Angels. Let's get 'er in the hot seat! —AK


[Photograph: Lara Bowman]

What type of pizza do you prefer?

I can embrace most types of pizza and am by no means a pizza purist. In fact, I am completely pie curious. But I do prefer a thin crust and lean toward New York or Neapolitan style.

The Pizza Cognition Theory states that "the first slice of pizza a child sees and tastes ... becomes, for him, pizza." Do you remember your first slice? Where was it from, is the place still around, and if so, does it hold up? On that note, has your taste in pizza evolved over time?

As a young child, my mom would take me to a neighborhood pizzeria in Houston called Square Pan Pizza. Thin-crust pies were served on a shallow sheet pan and cut into small squares. I remember that the slices were perfectly sized for my little hands. Looking back now, I would define it as Midwest-style tavern-cut pizza. We usually shared a sausage and pepperoni pie and I can still recall the taste and aroma like it was yesterday. It was an amazing introduction to pizza made by a wonderful family. The pizzeria sadly closed several years later, and I was upset to the point that I actually shed tears over it. It was definitely my first pizza love and the elusive one that got away. I can't say that my taste in pizza has enormously evolved because if I could have this pizza again, it would likely still be a favorite.

[Photograph: Adam Kuban]

What's your favorite topping or topping combination?

Give me cheese or give me death. Actually, it depends on the style of pizza. A mix of fresh specialty mushrooms is definitely my favorite on a fancy-pants pizza. And I love buffalo milk mozzarella on a Neapolitan pie. But for New York–style, count me in with the masses as a pepperoni fan. I prefer a minimalist approach to pizza toppings and tend to limit topping combinations to a maximum of three ingredients.


A Margherita pie from Terroni. [Photograph: Lara Bowman]

I'm with you on the three-topping limit. So, where do you go for pizza now that you're in L.A.?

I have been enjoying Danielle's Wood Fired Pizza lately and I adore the "Bufalina" pizza at Terroni (reviewed here). A guilty pleasure is an occasional single cheese slice at Joe Peep's. We often have Prizzi's pizza delivered when I visit friends in Hollywood. And Tomato Pie is on a fairly regular rotation as well. But even favorite hits can change and I continually enjoy the search for my next slice.

Do you make pizza at home? If so, how? What recipes do you use?

No, I do not make pizza at home. Am I fired? Actually, I've been inspired (if not intimidated) by the drool-worthy pies of Slice's My Pie Monday but have only recently taken my first baby steps at homemade pizza.

Good deal! It's easier than you think. ... So, what one thing should NEVER go on a pizza?

I consider myself an adventurous eater and will usually try almost any topping combination at least once. But if pressed for just one topping, I will choose canned mushrooms. I don't think they belong anywhere. If anyone loves them, they are welcome to my lifetime share.

Most unusual pizza you've ever eaten?

Perhaps not unusual by today's standards but it would be the Canadian bacon, canned pineapple, pickled jalapeño, and anchovy pizza I took a large bite out of as a young teenager. At the time I thought it must have been a cruel joke and was certainly not thrilled. I had not even heard of pineapple as a pizza topping, and it was my first introduction to anchovies. Although I now like all of the ingredients and definitely love pickled jalapeños, it was the odd combination that shocked my young palate. If this happens to be your favorite pizza, I sincerely hope that you are not offended. But perhaps you should seek therapy immediately.

What's the farthest you've traveled for pizza?

I have traveled thousands of miles in my dreams. Naples, Sicily, Rome, New York, Istanbul... Wait. What? But in reality, I've been fortunate to encounter amazing pizzas while traveling but cannot claim to have specifically traveled long distances for pizza. Although, sometimes just getting to the door for a delivery can be quite a long journey.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

As a fairly recent transplant to Los Angeles, I am still just beginning my quest for great pizza in this sprawling metropolis. But I'm happily eating my way through a rather long list of prospects, and there is a lot of ground to cover indeed. My hope is that Slice'rs will follow my pizza adventures here with an open mind and a curious belly. I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Adam Kuban and all of the Slice team for giving me the chance to be part of their wonderful online community.

Awww. We're glad to have you! ... Let's see, what's next? Oh yeah, anything you'd like to get off your chest?

Get off your bleeping high horse, pizza snobs! There, I said it. Not quite the way I intended, but I feel better already.

I feel the same way. ... Now, pay it forward: Who would you like to see interviewed next?

I would be interested in interviews with our very own J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Adam Kuban. It's about time, don't you think?

I'll talk to Kenji about putting him in the hot seat. I think folks probably have had just about enough of my bloviation, though, don't you think? ;)

Thanks for putting up with the Qs, Lara! Here's to more and better pizza in your future!


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