Pregame prep, smoothie escape

Getting a preview of the Chico Heat’s big return and a taste-test at Maui Wowi

There are few summertime pastimes more iconic than sporting your team’s colors, lathering up the sunscreen, munching on a hotdog and sipping a beer while singing along to the national anthem and cheering for a home run. For me, growing up in St. Louis, the summer was never complete without going to at least one Cardinals game.

Here in Chico, it’s been several summers since the Outlaws gave us something to cheer for, and before that, the Heat disbanded in 2002. But, Heater and his team are coming back! And the excitement is beginning to brew. I was driving down Mangrove Avenue recently and noticed a team store had opened, so I dropped in.

Obviously, the shop sells all kinds of apparel and other stuff with the Chico Heat logo on it. But, as the store doubles as the team’s offices, I was able to speak with George Laver, assistant general manager, and I learned that fans also can purchase tickets there. Until single-game tickets go on sale online May 16, that’s the only place to buy them aside from calling the office at 725-5444 (only season tickets are available online now). They’re also offering five- and 10-game packs behind home plate or first base.

Back to that national anthem: The Heat are holding open auditions this Saturday (April 2), 11 a.m.-1 p.m., for those interested in singing at one of this season’s 30 home games. Arrive on time (to the team offices/shop at 1722 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 24) and with the words memorized.

The season’s first home game is Saturday, June 4, against the Marysville Gold Sox. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Island flavor I’ve driven by Maui Wowi a few dozen times since it opened in the shopping center at the northwest corner of Mangrove and Vallombrosa avenues, but the weather’s been cold and I wasn’t craving a smoothie … until last week. I finally stopped in the Hawaiian-themed coffee and smoothie shop and was pretty impressed by how large it is—there are some comfy chairs along with half a dozen small tables and a large one perfect for a study group or work meeting.

Then there’s the menu. When I first walked in, I was immediately greeted with an “Aloha!” and asked what I would like. I was flustered, because I’d never been there before! But I knew I wanted a smoothie, so I perused that part of the menu, rather than the coffee side. My super friendly server explained it to me—there are single-fruit smoothies and special house blends. All come with banana, to which I am horribly allergic, but she assured me she could make me one without. I chose the Black Lava Beach, which is strawberry and black raspberry, and it was awesome. It even came with a little drink umbrella. Mahalo!