4 Reasons to Love California
All-American Rye For the perfect Sazerac: Old Potrero Hotaling's rye whiskey, aged for 11 years in bourbon barrels, from San Francisco's Anchor Distilling ($60; anchordistilling.com).
Reality TV News Bravo's spectacularly popular Top Chef, beginning October 18 with new host Padma Lakshmi, features locations around L.A.
During Prohibition, rum runners used to stash liquor in caves along the shoreline of the Heritage House estate in California's Mendocino County. The latest news: Jaya Pratomo Ibrahim (the designer behind the ultrachic Setai in Miami Beach) recently redecorated its 20 cottages, and renovated the restaurant. In addition to dishes that focus on local ingredients, the restaurant offers an expanded wine program, including exceptional Burgundian bottles (doubles from $400; heritagehouseinn.com).
Alice Waters's buy-local philosophy even extends to plates. She recently created a line of custom dinnerware for her iconic Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, with Heath Ceramics in Sausalito and Los Angelesbased Christina Kim of the Dosa clothing and housewares line. Fifty ginger-and-cardoon place settings are now being sold to the public each month, with 10 percent of the profits going toward Waters's Edible Schoolyard program ($146 for a four-piece setting; heathceramics.com).