We’ve shared things we do when it’s hot before, but this heat just isn’t breaking and we’ve still got cool things on our minds. It’s Best of the West, heat dome edition.

Classic Daiquiri
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The Coolest Dude in Baseball

Trey Mancini

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As a baseball-obsessed kid growing up in the 1990s in the Washington, D.C. area, I didn’t have a team to call my own. So I latched on to the Baltimore Orioles, often driving the hour or so north to Camden Yards to watch mid-’90s teams led by the likes of Cal Ripken, Jr., Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina. 

During those formidable years, I developed an infatuation with blue-collar players—those who didn’t possess the God-given talents relative to super-stardom but touted the perseverance to hustle and grind. One player who has embodied that approach at every stage of his career is Trey Mancini. The Florida native was never a top-rated prospect, but when he burst onto the MLB scene in 2016, it was obvious he belonged. Multi-million dollar contract offers poured in. But in March 2020 Mancini was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and missed the 2020 season. Miraculously, the cancer went into remission and he returned to the Orioles this season. Currently sitting at 16 home runs half-way through the year, was invited to participate in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. 

In the 2011 film Moneyball, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, quips, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” I can think of few stories that capture that sentiment better than Mancini’s. (You can read more about Mancini’s journey in the July 12 ESPN Cover story.) —J.D. Simkins, WildLands editor

Walking Near L.A.

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This past weekend I ventured out of Los Angeles and into the forest to celebrate National Forest Week. It was my first time exploring the Angeles National Forest, which to my surprise, many residents do not know exists. (Yes, those picturesque mountains behind DTLA do have a name!) I went on a 4-mile hike that took up most of the afternoon but it was just the right amount of time to reset and get a breath of fresh air away from the city. —Teaghan Skulszki, editorial intern

Taking the Daiquiri Seriously

Classic Daiquiri

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I’m a big fan of rum, so I was pleased to note that July 19 is National Daiquiri Day. Cocktail culture’s most misunderstood drink definitely deserves at least a day to help it reform its slushy, syrupy reputation. Put away the blender, please, and forget those frozen tubes of red dye #3-flavored concentrate. A true daiquiri is a spirit-forward, shaken drink that’s only mildly sweet. It has three ingredients: rum, lime and simple syrup. I’m not sure how the Cuban-born, favored beverage of Ernest Hemingway turned into the official drink of underage spring breakers, but I intend to devote a portion of my Monday evening reforming the rep of this much-maligned adult beverage. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Let Someone Else’s Kitchen Get Hot

This week, I was too hot to cook, too tired to deal, and Triple Beam Pizza in Highland Park made everything better. For anyone who doesn’t know, Nancy Silverton—of Mozza fame—and Matt Molina, the chef at Hippo, teamed up to make Roman-style pizza that you order by halves. This means I can satisfy my daughter with a simple pizza Margarita while I dive into more complex fare like acorn squash pizza with mozzarella, cacio di roma, cheese, honey, and crushed red pepper. Meanwhile it would be just plain wrong not to get myself a jar of Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino Gelato. With Mediterranean sea salt and just a hint of rosemary, this rich flavor somehow makes summer both cool and cozy. —Deanna Kizis, garden editor

Pro Tip: Museums Are Always Climate-Controlled

legion of honor doormouse trap

When I heard that California museums were reopening, I was eager to see how they would curate the new IRL experience. I’m a museum fan, I grew up in the Bay Area, and I’m Sunset’s de facto food person, so the San Francisco Legion of Honor‘s exhibition on food and drink in ancient Pompeii caught my eye. Escorts, guided tours, and the ability to reserve tickets online are all new policies to help make patrons feel more comfortable. The exhibition runs through Aug. 29. —Magdalena O’Neal, assistant editor


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