Lounging on a velvet couch near the fireplace at The Bowery Hotel, Tamera Mowry-Housley is praising the New York lifestyle.

"I love how you can just throw your hair up like that," she said, referring to this reporter's very professional messy bun, "I love it." Mowry-Housley looks flawless, with a chic blowout and camera-ready makeup, but we'll take the New York-lifestyle compliments. 

The California mother of two doesn't get to luxuriate in New York City often, though Manhattan holds a special place in her heart. 

"One of my favorite memories would have to be when I was with my husband [Adam] and my son Aiden," she said. "I just wanted to have some family time. Because I work a lot, family time means a lot to me. All we did was walk Central Park and it was amazing. We saw the zoo, the scenery ... It was awesome. I had never done it by myself and it was the perfect day."  

Beyond leisurely strolls in Central Park, Mowry-Housley enjoys cooking to bond with her family. 

"My sister [Tia] and I started learning how to cook at 16 years old," she recalled, though her mom had welcomed her into the kitchen to help cook when she was just 8.

As a 14-year-old, Mowry-Housley and her twin began working on "Sister Sister." Though their teenage years were starkly different from most '90s teens,' the sisters embraced learning to cook. Their mom told them they couldn't "really cook" until they made Thanksgiving dinner, and at 16, the duo tag-teamed the entire meal. Mowry-Housley looks forward to cooking Thanksgiving again this year. Her sister currently hosts "Tia Mowry At Home" on the Cooking Channel. 

"I love to cook. I make it fun and it's my way of bonding with my family," she said as a plate of pasta was set in front of her. She was in town to promote Ragu's newest line of jarred sauces, which she said had been a go-to product in her life since college and especially since becoming a mom. 

"I look forward to cooking every night, even though I can't do it all the time," Mowry-Housley said. She employs her husband as her sous chef and is proud of Ariah, her 10-month-old, for having a "very ecclectic palate." She isn't your typical sauce-on-the-side kid; she just eats the sauce. "It's amazing," Mowry-Housley, a declared spaghetti-and-meatball enthusiast, said with a laugh. She then continues to eat her pasta -- flawlessly, of course. This cool-dressed New Yorker needed a few napkins.