Courtesy of Enchantment Resort

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  – July 8, 2019

Know Your Chicken!

Apart from fried chicken, I never cared for the stringy white meat of my Midwestern childhood, and it wasn’t until I started making beer-can chicken and chicken under a brick in my twenties that I started loving chicken again. So I wanted to know what the heck “Jidori chicken” was when I tasted it at two all-day Los Angeles spots: Joy, Vivian Ku’s hip family-and-friends-style Taiwanese cafe in Highland Park, and Tres, Jose Andres’s casually upscale dining lounge at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Sure, Jidori ticks all the Portlandia boxes: small-farm-raised, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-grain-fed, had a good life running around with friends under the warm sun, nary a cage in sight. But whether in Ku’s Chiayi chicken rice or dan dan noodles, or in Andres’s rotisserie chicken, Jidori’s taste gives it an extra oomph, amplifying chicken’s essence—akin to my first time tasting a sun-ripened heirloom tomato that had never been packed into a refrigerated truck. Jidori was created by brothers Dennis and Eric Mao to supply demanding Asian restaurants in L.A., and is often delivered fresh within a day of its slaughter, making that tomato comparison even more apt. I made it my mission to try Jidori chicken all over town, and what started as a demand for succulent, pure-tasting chicken is now the sourcing option at spots that know their chicken, from Yardbird to The Crack Shack to Hinoki and the Bird. Cibo Matto would be proud. —Dakota Kim, staff writer

Book Passage to Alaska

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 🏔 “With no local police and no one to call for help. All this time, Dad had taught Leni how dangerous the outside world was. The truth was that the biggest danger of all was in her own home.” 🗻 This pretty much sums up the theme of the book. A POW from the Vietnam war comes home damaged and broken. This was a time before the world knew what PTSD was and how to manage it. So I guess those who suffered most were the families and loved ones. 🗻 The Great Alone is set in the wildness and isolation of Alaska where the darkness is long and unrelenting and friends are few and far between. All of these factors aggravate what is already a fragile and violent situation. 🗻 The way Hannah explores the complexities of human relationships is noteworthy. Every dynamic in this story is layered and complicated and she deftly handles it all. 🗻 What really stands out is the knowledge she has of the Alaskan way of life. While reading the book it struck me that only a person who has lived there could have this detailed a grasp on the intricacies of Alaskan life. 🗻 However this is not an easy book to read. She doesn’t mitigate the horrors of the story or the suffereing of the characters. You have to go along the ride with patience and clutch your heart till the end. 🗻 I wasn’t really a fan of the last ¾ of the book. I would have preferred things to have ended differently but all in all a spectacular book which merges many genres with great skill. 🗻 Defintely worth a read. Check It Out Now!! . . #mybookshelfpk #pakistanibloggers #onlinelibrary #pakistanionlinelibrary #makepakistanreadagain bookclub #booknerd #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #booknerdigans #krhreads #booksandtravel #bookaddict #bookphotography #readinglist #goodreads #ilovetoread #readinglove #readingrelaxation #bookish #bookshelf #bookclub #toreadistotravel #kristinhannah #thegreatalone #krhreads #bookhaul #booksandtravel #bookgeek #bookish #booklove #readingtime📖 #readingislove

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I just read inhaled Kristen Hannah’s novel The Great Alone. Set in Alaska in the 1970s, the book tells the tale of a family that moves way up north from Seattle to live the homesteading life. They’re completely unprepared for the challenges of hunting, growing their own food, surviving the brutally multi-season winter—not to mention the “thousand ways to die in Alaska.” Told from the perspective of the family’s teenage daughter, the story poignantly blends coming-of-age motifs with domestic drama and the thrills of a wilderness adventure. I don’t want to spoil anything more, except a) the novel is long, but reads like a page-turner; b) keep some tissues handy in case, you know, your eyes get a bit sweaty; and c) Sunset gets name-checked in the text, which was a nice little Easter egg for this particular reader. —Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

Every Dog Has Its Day

If you’re a dog owner, you’re probably already aware of Rover, the Seattle-based app that pairs pup parents with eager gig-economy dog walkers. Now Rover is rolling out a new service: in-home dog grooming. With a few clicks you can summon a security-screened groomer to come to your home with a pop-up grooming station. Get you dog bathed, coiffed, manicured, even, um, expressed on its own turf for less stress all around. The service is currently available only in Seattle and Austin, but look for it to expand soon—and for them to eventually be able to pair you with someone to trim your cat’s couch-shredding claws, too. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Sign Up for Mountain-Biking Boot Camp

Fall may seem a long way off, but now is the time to reserve a spot at Enchanted Resort’s Ride the Red Rocks mountain biking camp, November 3–6 in Sedona, Arizona. The famed wellness resort launched the program—which runs in spring as well as autumn—in 2018 to bank on the hundreds of miles of newbie- and pro-friendly trails that surround the remote property, etched into a canyon. I participated last year as a first-time mountain biker and walked away a convert. Daily rides take off in the morning and are organized according to skill level, so you won’t find yourself waiting on slower riders or struggling to keep up with the pack. All the gear—including top-of-the-line, super-smooth bikes—is provided, and you return from the outings to a hospitality suite stocked with snacks, beer, and a new crop of like-minded friends. Advanced riders can sign up for more biking in the afternoons, or you can breakaway for New Agey and Native American–inspired treatments at the luxe Mii Amo Spa (one fellow rider loved her Past Life Regression session, while another fawned about the Dosha Balancing Wrap), hike to a vortex, or take the 20-minute drive to downtown Sedona. There’s no shortage of chill and hardcore activities you can add to your experience: astrologist-led stargazing, group workouts, tennis clinics, meditation sessions in the Crystal Grotto, drinking cucumber water by the pool. It’s the perfect getaway if you’re craving adventure and zen-inducing downtime. Who knows? You might just walk away with a new hobby. I sure did. —Stephanie Granada, travel contributor

The Only Newfangled Martini I’ll Drink

While I’d like to think I’m a martini purist (London dry gin, stirred, vermouth wash, olive) the crudité martini at Lincoln Carson’s new restaurant Bon Temps in DTLA has me rethinking my position. Made with Plymouth gin, extra-dry vermouth, carrot eau de vie, and something called “cucumber and snap pea essence,” the drink tastes like a sea breeze floating through the Santa Monica farmers’ market on an early summer day. Don’t be fooled by the cute miniature carrot garnish or the diminutive size of the Nick and Nora glass: This drink is made with high-octane, 57% ABV navy-strength gin. To soak up some of that proof, order the restaurant’s excellent shrimp cocktail, thoughtfully served with the shrimp heads fried, like at a good sushi joint. —Hugh Garvey, food editor

A Frozen Treat That Encapsulates Summer

Pinolo Gelato’s Fioritura is no ordinary strawberry sorbetto. Along with sweet Oregon strawberries, Fioritura (Italian for “flourish,” such as an opera singer would make to her melody) is embellished with elderflowers from my Portland garden—I gave a big bucket of them to Pinolo’s owner Sandro Paolini for experimentation, and he did the very most. It has the most exquisite strawberry flavor, gilded with the heady fragrance of tiny, dewy flowers. Another of Pinolo’s seasonal flavors, Foresta, is flavored with Douglas-fir tips and juniper, and tastes like a stroll through a snow-capped, piny weald. —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden contributor

Make Mosquitoes Hate You

I’ve tested mosquito-beaters in the most painful way imaginable, by thrusting my bare arm into a tank full of rabid parasites. Thankfully those days are behind me, and I’ve found my go-to defense mechanism. For years now I’ve depended on Thermacell’s products. They work almost like a Glade air freshener, with a heated element—either electric or butane-powered—warming up a gel pack or strip that emanates into the air, keeping the bugs at bay. Older models were nuanced, one might say, but the Radius is a one-touch device that runs for at least 6 hours per charge. You’ll get 10 square feet of breathing room, and it’s smaller than a can of soda. Great for stow-and-go solutions. —Matt Bean, editor-in-chief

Thermacell Radius 2.0