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Singer Kelly Clarkson Laments LA’s Lack of Quality Tex-Mex Queso

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Some are rushing to the city’s defense

AJ’s Tex Mex BBQ
Queso from AJ’s
Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Singing legend Kelly Clarkson took some time out from her busy schedule of smashing pop charts to drag Los Angeles a little bit yesterday for its lack of quality Tex-Mex. The Fort Worth, Texas native spent some time on Twitter venting to her 12 million followers that she simply can’t find “great Tex-Mex queso” anywhere in greater LA, though her mentions quickly filled up with regional recommendations for the homey foodstuff.

Clarkson’s tweet, embedded below, is in reference to a Houston Chronicle article about a different singer, fellow Texas native Sarah Grace, who is currently in Los Angeles filming for the competition singing show The Voice. In the article Grace says that, by and large, queso doesn’t exist in the city (and that most everyone here eats corn tortillas), to which Clarkson enthusiastically agrees.

The pair have a broader point, which is that Tex-Mex is not as ubiquitous in Los Angeles as it is in the state for which it’s named. But that’s not to say LA doesn’t have its share of queso options, including two places brought up often in Clarkson’s mentions: HomeState and Bar Ama. The former is run by the Valdez clan, formerly of Austin, while the latter is a Josef Centeno (born and raised in San Antonio) spot. Other options for queso include AJ’s Tex-Mex and Sol y Luna up in the Valley, as well as El Condor in Silver Lake.

The above list of options is no shade on hit singer Clarkson, though. It’s possible she’s tried all the queso spots in greater LA and still come away wanting more Texas food in her life, but it’s not entirely accurate to say the city is completely empty of queso. Rather, Angelenos just prefer to eat a little different. And besides, Tijuana-style tacos are all the rage right now anyway.