Tommy Bahama's third cookbook is all about laid-back, island cooking.

flavors of california cookbook
Photography by Jennifer Causey
| Credit: Photography by Jennifer Causey

Most people associate Tommy Bahama with laid-back resort wear, but my favorite thing about the brand is its restaurant in New York City—home of the best mai tai I've ever had on the mainland. Because of that, I couldn't wait to try out Flavors of California: Cooking With Tommy Bahama, the third Tommy Bahama cookbook, by Rick Rodgers. This book captures the brand's Live the Island Life motto with its relaxed, approachable diverse Cali cuisine. The Pozole Rojo got me over my fear of making the classic Mexican soup, and the Chicken with Dried Apricots, Green Olives, and Toasted Almonds (a nod to the Central Valley's Armenian dishes) will become a weeknight staple for me. When I want to be transported to the beach, there's the Lump Crab and Avocado salad, which I'd happily pair with the Rum Runner, the classic tiki drink. Sarong and paper umbrella optional, but encouraged.