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The west is a big, big place, and every week our staff is all over it, digging up the best takeouts spots, beaches and trails, artisans, services, and well, phenomena that make the region so vibrant. Here’s the Best of the West this week.

Sunset Staff  – February 23, 2021

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A Soundtrack for Running

Courtesy of Ellen Reid

I hike and run in L.A.’s Griffith Park nearly every weekend and my soundtrack is typically the rush of wind through the eucalyptus, the chatter of fellow hikers, the shrieks of hawks, and the whir of helicopters. But I just downloaded the new Soundwalk app from composer Ellen Reid and can’t wait to give it a run for its money (actually, it’s free). Reid was tapped by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance to write a modern classical music score performed by the Kronos Quartet that synchs with your position in the park (she’s written one for Central Park and has other hikes and rambles in the works). The idea of some of my favorite trails having their very own geotagged soundtrack has me rethinking my no-AirPods policy. It’s available for iOS and Android phones. ––Hugh Garvey, Editor-in-Chief

The Best Accessory

Arkon Mount

Courtesy of Arkon

I am a novice at filming myself cooking, but for the sake of sharing with everyone how easy recipes can be to make at home, I’ve started filming myself making dinner for the Magdalena’s Corner section of the weekly Pantry newsletter. The only way I’ve been able to put together these epic shorts has been with my handy dandy camera mount. I keep this one from Arkon Mounts on my back burner (the small one that never really gets much use) and clip my phone into the stand with time-lapse on and let the camera roll. Long story short, this California-based brand really knows how to turn any space—like my studio apartment—into a Hollywood-style set. ––Magdalena O’Neal, Assistant Editor

The Perfect Travel Pants

Courtesy of Stio

When a traveler stops you in the Salt Lake City airport to high-five you for your pant selection, well, you want to stock your closet with multiples including this perfect pair of gray Pinedale Pants from Stio. Yes, we love the flattering cut, but the breathable fabric and articulated knees make it our go-to choice for a range of activities, from biking to hiking. The bonus thigh pocket allows for convenient phone storage for quick snaps on the trail. All of this means it also functions as the perfect everyday pant. It has officially kicked my denim to the curb. ––Christine Bobbish, Photo Editor

The Ultimate Dog Grooming Experience

Courtesy of Barkbus

I’m always on the lookout for better and more efficient ways to care for my two dogs. This past year in quarantine I’ve struggled to find ways to get my dogs groomed without coming in too much contact with people. Luckily, I discovered Barkbus––they come to your house and get your pup squeaky clean. But what really got me excited about Barkbus is their commitment to each pup’s wellbeing. They not only customize the session to your dog’s specific coat, skin, allergies, and sensitivities, they also do their best to soothe your dog’s anxiety. Plus, they require each pet stylist to complete a day of working with dogs currently in shelters. ––Jasmin Perez, Digital Director

Keen Astoria West Sandal

Keen Astoria Sandal

Courtesy of Keen

Monday was one of those glorious clear, warm days that make you want to go full Abbey Road in celebration of the possibility that winter is over. That’s an illusion, of course. We’ll have lots more rain where I live in Northern California before the balmy weather is here to stay, but it was gorgeous enough to make me dream of the day, coming soon, when I can ditch the clunky hiking boots I’ve been sporting all muddy winter and slip into something more comfortable, like these all-terrain sandals from Keen. They’re comfortable enough to wear walking a mile into town on sun-blasted suburban sidewalks, grippy enough for hiking forest trails, and a joy to wear at my favorite hot-spring resort, which has sometimes slick and sometimes jagged natural rock-bottomed pools. (They dry quickly, too.) None of these things—summer, travel, or open-toed shoes—will be happening any time soon, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Rides Through Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive
View of famous Mulholland highway as it winds through mountains and canyons in Southern California

Ed-Ni-Photo/Getty Images

During the anxiety-filled and closed-off days of the pandemic, my roommates and I have found solace in taking long rides through Mulholland Drive. We usually have all our windows down as we take in the fresh air instead of our rickety AC unit. “Enough to Believe” (Jamie Jones Remix) by Bob Moses has become the soundtrack to that moment. Bob Moses is a band based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Even though the song has few words, they still resonate in me “Trying to find an answer in the wind, hoping I can make it to the end.” Whether it be the end of the day or the end of this pandemic, good music and the wind in my hair will always get me through. ––Teaghan Skulszki, Editorial Intern

Canteen Coffee Roasters

Canteen Coffee Mug

Courtesy of Canteen Coffee

Supporting local businesses has been especially important over this past year, and with a substantial shift to remote work, why not prop up the makers of an item quintessential to improving the in-home work aesthetic? The San Diego-based Canteen Coffee Roasters is a family owned and operated coffee company that is a great go-to for a delicious cup (or four) of morning fuel. CCR sources their goods from FarmGate beans, ensuring not only the incredible quality of their blends, but also a significantly higher payday for farmers. That means when you buy from Canteen Coffee Roasters, you’re getting a product from farmers who are getting paid 50% to 100% over Fair Trade pricing, farmers who make more than just a living wage and who care about their product. So, support local, support good sourcing, support some damn good coffee. —J.D. Simkins, Staff Writer

K’apostrophe Is Good––Full Stop

K'era Morgan

Ashley Randal

I was turned on to artist K’era Morgan’s work by my friends at Wall for Apricots, an interior design firm in Los Angeles. Morgan is a multimedia artist who has translated her vibrant, abstract art on canvas to a line of textiles called K’apostrophe. She prints tapestries and throw pillows with her images, but her throw blankets are what I’m most excited about. They’re 100% cotton, manufactured at one of the few remaining American mills, and they add a pop of truly unexpected pattern and color to the foot of a bed or a living room. I bought one thinking I would curl up with a piece of modern art on the sofa. But it was so stunning that I ended up hanging it on my wall, draped over a wooden dowel instead. —Christine Lennon, home and design editor

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