If Nathan Turner, the Los Angeles–based interior designer and entertaining expert, ever finds himself out of a job, he could work wonders at the California Office of Tourism. Reading his latest book, Nathan Turner’s I Love California (Abrams, 2018) feels like party-hopping through the state with your most stylish, gracious, and in-the-know host and friend. Starting in the northern towns of his youth, tracking south through the fertile farmland of the state’s central region, and ending on the sunny beaches of SoCal, Turner creates more than a dozen gatherings, each inspired by a California locale.
There’s an outdoor lunch in Sausalito overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge with Pisco punch, deconstructed seafood Louie, and mud pie. In Calistoga wine country, it’s a meal in the vineyard with pitchers of sangria, fresh pasta, and vegetables from the garden. With a cowboy picnic of chili con carne, jalapeño corn bread, and berry cobbler, Turner taps boyhood memories of working the family’s cattle ranch and then goes exotic in Hollywood with champagne cocktails and chicken tagine.
This book is a visual feast, with sumptuous pictures of tables set against a blue Pacific, handy notes on party prep, advice on flowers and décor, and nostalgic trips down memory lane. “Forget about fussy,” writes Turner. Like the Golden State itself, this book is friendly and fun.
By Kirk Reed Forrester