15 LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade Moments

Yesterday (September 10, 2016) I enjoyed an afternoon of food, wine, cocktails and music during a fundraiser for the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation. This year the venue was at UCLA between the majestic Royce Hall and Powell Library. It was an ideal spot for James Beard winner and Executive chef Suzanne Goin to host the benefit with her culinary partner Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) and chef David Lentz (The Hungry Cat). All the chefs who participated (over 40 of them) graciously donated their time, food and talent to the cause for this event.

Photo of Suzanne Goin and Carloine Styne by Jill Weinlein
Photo of Suzanne Goin and Carloine Styne by Jill Weinlein

Here are 15 of my favorite experiences while attending this annual fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancers:

  1. Emmys Award and Late Night Host Jimmy Kimmell stepped onstage during the live auction, and offered his home as a venue for an all-star female chef team to prepare a one-of-a-kind dinner.  The bidding stopped at $55,000 and some of the top women chefs in America offered another $55,000 for a total of $110,000. Jimmy Kimmel was one of the many celebrities at the event.

    Jimmy Kimmell's special dinner with all-star chefs raised $110,000. Photo by Jill Weinlein
    Jimmy Kimmell’s special dinner with all-star chefs raised $110,000. Photo by Jill Weinlein
  2. Celebrity Chef Giada De Laurentiis was at the 7th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade event. She welcomed children to her booth to help her prepare Bruschetta with burrata and kale salsa verde. It was delicious!

    Photo by Jill Weinlein
    Photo by Jill Weinlein
  3. One of Los Angeles’ esteemed female chefs Nancy Silverton of (Mozza Restaurant Group) made an exquisite baked eggplant dish.

    Photo of Nancy Silverton by Jill Weinlein
    Photo of Nancy Silverton by Jill Weinlein
  4.  One of my favorite moments was watching the chefs interact with the children enjoying the event. Some of the children were in recovery of cancer, some lost a sibling to cancer and others were big supporters of the event. Children organized their own lemonade stand and donated their proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade to support Childhood Research to find cures.
Celebrity Chef Giada has a restaurant in Las Vegas. Photo by Jill Weinlein
The playful Celebrity Chef Giada with young chefs. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Giada had kids help her cook her unique bite sized burrata topped with a kale. Brian Voltaggio plopped vaporizing nitrogen ice into his mouth to have smoke appear from his semi-closed lips. This made the kids laugh. He also handed out cups of compressed watermelon cubes to a few cuties.

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Photo of Suzanne Goin and Carloine Styne by Jill Weinlein

Another touching moment was when esteemed chef Aaron Sanchez from New York came to support the event and shared a tender moment with a sweet little girl. He asked her to help he serve his small plates. As I took one from her, I snapped this photo of the both of them hamming it up. Man his Cobia Tiradito with Creole tomato and crispy hominy was delicious.img_4265

5. Guests congregated in the wine tent to experience wine tasting from over 50 vintners. Some of vintners included Amitié Wines -Black Sheep Finds – Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants – Emanuel Tres Wines – Grandes Places Sélections – Gregory Condes Wines – Habit Wine Company – Hitching Post Wines – Hoxie Spritzer – Hudson Wine Brokers – Indigenous Selections -Jardesca – Jelly Roll Wines – Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant – Kimberly Jones Selections – La Fenêtre – Lang & Reed Wine Company – Langdon Shiverick Imports – Martian Ranch and Vineyard – Melville Winery – Next Generation Wine Co. – Red Car Winery – Return to Terroir -Silverlake Wine – Storm Wines – Strange Family Vineyards – Tercero Wines – The Rare Wine Co. – The Wine House – Tyler Winery – Veritas Imports – Wenzlau Vineyard – Whitcraft Winery – WINC.

6. Guests who visited Clover Chadwick, Los Angeles at the Dandelion Ranch Farmers Market Flowers received a live flower boutonnière as a floral decoration.  I saw these flowers worn in women’s hair or attached to a ribbon as a bracelet. Nice touch!

Fresh flower booth - Photo by Jill Weinlein
Fresh flower booth – Photo by Jill Weinlein

7.  For a sweet treat Eva Ein from Santa Barbara based McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams  (now also at the Grand Central Market, Studio City and your local grocery stores) drove the ice cream truck to the event. She and her team offered McC’s Tea Set ice cream – Earl Grey Tea & Butter – Biscuits Ice Cream – Chamomile Tea & Oatmeal Cookies Ice Cream – Chamomile & Bergamot infused whipped cream that was served with a shortbread cookie. YUM!

McConnell's Fine Ice Cream - Photo by Jill Weinlein
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream – Photo by Jill Weinlein

8. A fun chef exchange was two esteemed Los Angeles based chefs – Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections chatting with Bruce Kalman  of Union Pasadena and Knead & Co Pasta Bar + Market. They were having a great time.

Valerie Gordon and Bruce chatting it up. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Valerie Gordon and Bruce Kalman chatting it up. Photo by Jill Weinlein

9. Los Angelenos chef Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station and  Neal Fraser of Redbird, BLD, ICDC, Fritzi Dog shared a booth together.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

10. One of my favorite dishes was by Executive Chef Maria Hines from Seattle, WA. Her restaurants include Tilth, Golden Beetle, Agrodolce. She made a cauliflower salad with Sultanas, Tahini and Cilantro that was fabulous.

Cauliflower salad - Photo by Jill Weinlein
Cauliflower salad – Photo by Jill Weinlein

11. Timothy Hollingsworth of Los Angeles’ restaurants Otium, Barrel & Ashes made a delicious bite sized burrata tart with tomato, basil, curry and onions. WOW! Amazing flavor profile.

Delicious! Photo by Jill Weinlein
Delicious! Photo by Jill Weinlein

12. Chef Jenn Louis of Portland, OR restaurants Sunshine Tavern and  Lincoln Restaurant grilled dates stuffed with a marcona almond and sprinkled lime juice and sea salt on top. They were heavenly.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

13. Pairing a craft cocktail with one of the Border Grill tacos was quite a treat. Mixologists included Marcos Tello of El Silencio – Beau du Bois of Corner Door – Darwin Manahan from Cliff’s Edge – Eric Alperin & Max Seaman from The Varnish – Christiaan Röllich of Lucques, a.o.c., and Tavern and Neal Bodenheimer from Cure.

Pink's Hot Dogs - Photo by Jill Weinlein
Pink’s Hot Dogs – Photo by Jill Weinlein

14. There was always a line for the classic Pink’s Hot Dogs.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

15. I learned that Alex’s Lemonade Stand raised over $1 million dollars at the event. This  money goes to the awareness about childhood cancer, with an emphasis on research into new treatments and cures. The organization also empowers individuals – especially children – to get involved and make a difference in the lives of children with cancer. I’m looking forward to next years event.

To follow Alex’s Lemonade, go to – http://www.alexslemonade.org.

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