Creative Commons photo by Miguel Arroyo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The West is a big, big place, and every week our staff is all over it, digging up the shops and restaurants, beaches and trails, performances and, well, phenomena that make the region so vibrant. Here’s the Best of the West this week

Sunset Staff  – October 21, 2019 | Updated October 31, 2019

Doing Good by Sounding Great

Creative Commons photo by Chris of Arabia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You’d really only know this about me if you ever snuck into my house when I thought I was home alone, but I like playing acoustic guitar (quietly, for my neighbors’ protection). For my furtive forays into folkdom, I have always been partial to D’Addario strings. I discovered them early on and found that their bright, clear sound had just the perfect amount of warmth for a campfire sing-along. For that reason, I was particularly tickled to learn that the D’Addario company uses its powers for good, funding the D’Addario Foundation, which powers music education in schools and encourages girls in particular to pick up guitars. The foundation is having a benefit concert at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on November 2, and I’m itching to go. Performers include Mandy Moore, actor John C. Reilly (he of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story fame), and singer/songwriter LP. All proceeds go to the foundation. (Don’t worry; I could be in the audience, but I won’t be on the bill.) —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Tickets from $50
   

Perfect Food and Wine Pairing in Oregon

Photo courtesy of Hiyu Wine Farm

From March through November, the biodynamic Hiyu Wine Farm in Hood River, Oregon offers a winemaker’s lunch in their serene and spacious tasting room. They call the offerings “snacks,” but when I brought my family in on a rainy October day, we were treated to an array of satisfying plates served family-style: a house-smoked salmon filet with creamy brandade, roasted scallions, and plum mostarda; a bowl of tender borlotti beans dressed simply in grassy olive oil (and roasted baby turnips handled with the same restraint); juicy roasted chicken on a bed of peppery arugula; and a dessert of luscious wedges of kabocha squash simmered in chai-spiced syrup and topped with whipped cream and toasted pepitas. This was all thoughtfully paired with a flight of six wines (including the fabulous dry and funky Floréal cider, redolent of damp oak duff and as tart as an unbletted medlar). You can make reservations (Thursday-Monday 11am-4pm), but drop-ins are also welcome on weekends (2-5pm); your spontaneity will be rewarded.  —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden editor

Hiyu Wine Farm Winemaker’s Lunch, from $35/person
   

Reach Pasta Perfection

 

Courtesy of Evan Funke

Eating good pasta can be immensely enjoyable. Eating exceptional pasta can be a spiritual experience. The latter is what happens at Evan Funke’s trattoria Felix in Venice, California, where the American-born, Bologna-trained chef shapes exquisitely tender and expertly sauced pastas that have earned him a reputation as one of the best pasta makers outside of Italy (sfoglino is the honorific bestowed on master pasta makers in Bologna). Now with the publication of his new cookbook American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta, you can achieve, or at least imagine achieving pasta transcendence through recipes for handmade pappardelle, tagliatelle, and tortellini. Sauces range from simple (tomato sauce enriched with 2 sticks of butter) to painstaking (a long-simmered Bolognese-style ragù that utilizes no fewer than five kinds of meat).  I can’t think of a better autumn hobby than playing wannabe sfoglino. —Hugh Garvey, executive editor

American Sfoglino, $26.49
   

Come for the Fish, Stay for the Kit Kats

Courtesy of Tokyo Fish Market

There’s a market in Berkeley that is hands-down one of my favorite places to shop: Tokyo Fish Market. The family-owned business has been operating on San Pablo Ave. since 1963, selling an impressive array of Japanese grocery items, produce, and fresh fish. Whole mackerel, fresh Tai snapper, live lobsters and crabs, stunning sushi-grade tuna and hamachi, shrimp, mussels, clams, tobiko, ikura, and more are all found at the fish counter. There’s also a selection of wagyu beef, Kurobuta pork chops, freshly prepared poke and sushi, plus Japanese sake and beer. And don’t miss the excellent selection of Kit Kats on the way out. —Ellen Fort, food editor

Vinyl Heaven

Creative Commons photo by Erich Iveans is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’m in a period of paring back now, inspired less by Marie Kondo and her ethos of personal minimalism than my own come-to-Jesus acquiescence. One key area of glut: my vinyl collection. I’ve been lugging more than 300 albums around since college, some of them liberated from my folks’ vestigial stash, others acquired along the way—garage sales, flea markets, friends abandoning the format. But who needs duplicates of the seminal 1981 Men at Work title Business as Usual? Is a scratched copy of the Grateful Dead’s Axomoaxa really worth anything if it won’t complete one song without skipping? Suffice it to say I had a healthy stack of records for the clerk at Amoeba Records on Haight Street in San Francisco to explore when I rolled up this weekend. You’re over a barrel when you step up to any used goods counter for exchange, given you’d be a fool to lug the cargo back home or (worse) to a series of subsequent stores. So when he offered me trade-in, I happily swapped 40 pounds of stuff I’d never listen to for two slim volumes of albums I couldn’t wait to unwrap. Simple, swift, and satisfying. A fair trade? Who knows. I’m happy to support Amoeba, as anyone should be to support their local store. —Matt Bean, editor in chief