Creative Commons photo by Elvire 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 7, 2019

Andrea Osojnik Pottery

Courtesy of KeraMika

Lately I’ve been loving the clean, dramatic look of these vessels by ceramicist Andrea Osojnik, who lives and works out of Los Angeles (by way of Toronto, by way of Belgrade). She fashions and hand-glazes all manner of objects, from jugs and planters to the custom commissions of your wildest dreams, and offers hands-on classes in her airy KeraMika studio (keramika means “ceramics” in Serbian). Stop into her Clay Babe Club for some female-driven energy (plus snacks, chats, and plenty of time at the wheel), or check out her new offering: In collaboration with friend and aspiring sommelier Anna Patrikian, of LA Clay & Wine, a handmade vessel will be waiting for you to personalize as you learn glazing techniques and sip on a variety of curated natural wines. See more of Osojnik’s work and get a sense for her polished yet approachable style at @keramikalosangeles. —Kate Wertheimer, travel editor

The Most Welcome Tourists

Migratory black-throated blue warbler; Creative Commons photo by Paul Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s that most wonderful time of the year—if you’re a birder. The annual fall migration is underway, which means that if you keep your eyes open, you may notice some unfamiliar little puffs of color in your backyard. These are likely to be songbirds such as sparrows, warblers, and thrushes, which typically migrate from north to south every fall as the temperature drops and food gets scarce. Venture out of your neighborhood and into places like lakefronts or sheltering patches of forest and you may find larger flocks of birds like whimbrels or starlings treating the areas like a rest stop. And If you can get out on the ocean, you may get a chance to spot some truly exotic visitors, like sooty shearwaters, passing through on their way home to New Zealand. Some outfitters offer trips specifically geared toward spotting pelagic (sea-going) birds, but more common whale-watching excursions can do the trick, too. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

They’ve Got (Wild) Game 

Courtesy of Nicky USA

Things got pretty wild this weekend at the Pacific Northwest’s premier food event, Wild About Game—where some of Portland’s and Seattle‘s finest chefs went head to head in a friendly competition. Best of all, the public got to taste it all. (Ok, I’m partial to this event because the host, Portland-based wild game and exotic meat purveyor Nicky USA, are friends of mine and I make a lot of really tricked out food with their products.) The first time I attended WAG back in 2006 or so, I got Alton Brown to autograph my beat-up copy of McGee’s On Food and Cooking (he was a judge at the event and I ambushed him), but now I come for the sizzling meat-vapor facials, the service pros-only afterparty (where I *may* have challenged some chefs to a push-up contest), and to stay the night at the stunning Mt. Hood Oregon Resort in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, where the event is held. —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden editor

Mt. Hood Oregon Resort
   

Good Smells, Good Vibes 

Courtesy of Sandoval

I’m a proud new dog mom, and while I love cuddling with our massive (75 lb.) Lab-Retriever mix on the couch, I’ve noticed a faint “wet dog” smell on our furniture. Luckily, California-based Sandoval exists. Their “Wood” home spray is an earthy blend of cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, cardamom, and herbaceous marjoram—and the best part is it comes in the sleekest glass bottle containing a small rose quartz crystal that’s been charged under the full moon for positive vibes. Plus, the entire line is completely non-toxic, so you can feel great about spritzing it on your sofa, sheets, sneakers, car, and even your body. —Jasmin Perez, digital strategy director

Sandoval Wood Spray
   

Farm-to-Bottle Lotion

Courtesy of Etta + Billie

Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, I’m facing down the inevitable march toward winter—and the havoc it wreaks on my skin. I’m fortunate to live in a relatively mild climate compared to the rest of the U.S., but the SF Bay Area’s dry winter weather makes a mess of my hands. Enter Etta + Billie, a made-in-SF skincare company that delivers intensive hydration in amazing scents. With a base of organic ingredients like aloe, coconut oil, and cocoa butter, you’re clued into the moisturizing potential. But it’s their mission “to create farm to bottle skincare…[that] reminds you of your favorite food or beverage” that puts their products over the top. Case in point, the bottle of Grapefruit Cardamom Body Lotion I’ve been using for months leaves my skin silky and is a citrusy, lightly spiced dream to inhale. And now that I’m milking every last drop out of that bottle, it’s time to re-up for winter. The company also makes body oils, lip balms, soaps and body washes, deodorants, and room sprays, so you can treat yo’self to the full experience. —Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

Grapefruit Cardamom Body Lotion
   

Genesee Valley Ranch Beef

Courtesy of Genesee Valley Ranch

With patio season on the wane, I’m taking any available opportunity to  fire up the grill. This weekend found me dropping an elevated caliber of beef onto my grates with a handful of cuts from Genesee Valley Ranch’s Brasas Food and Wine Society. The cattle are Wagyu, prized for their superior marbling and unctuous flavor, and they enjoy quite possibly the finest of pastures in the heart of California Gold Gountry. Genesee calls its region “the Napa Valley for exquisite beef,” and practices holistic ranching with organic feed comprised of native grasses. Their meat subscriptions aren’t cheap—each delivery is $350—but compared to pricing for similar cuts of beef, they’re within range. I received sirloin strips, which I marinated in puréed onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, and a healthy dose of pepper—heaven on a plate. Bonus: the package also included a four-pack of transcendent Wagyu bratwurst. —Matt Bean, editor in chief