Recap: L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade Brings Out the Culinary Stars


It would’ve taken a superhuman appetite to try everything at the third-annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, which packed nearly 40 chefs and even more bartenders, brewers and vintners onto the lawn of historic Culver Studios. But that didn’t stop some 1,200 attendees from trying. Between ticket sales and some luxurious auction items, over $500,000 was raised for childhood cancer research—L.A. Loves Alex’s is by far the city’s best culinary event with a conscience.


Donald Link (Herbsaint and Cochon) brought with him the flavors of Louisiana: a cool black-eyed pea salad, a knob of excellent Cajun sausage and a hunk of boudin turgid with rice and pork. Whereas many of the day’s plates seemed only like festival-sized bites, Link’s felt like a fully formed dish, a complete Cajun meal downsized only to accommodate the bacchanal. 


Michael Voltaggio (ink.) went high-concept with his fried chicken oyster with buttermilk dressing and oyster leaf. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun), meanwhile, delivered the fried chicken of your dreams: a massive, perfectly fried drumstick napped with heirloom carrot salsa, crema and strewn with marigolds.

Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina (Mozza) sliced up a never-ending stream of tiny, billowy pizzas, including a very good margherita and a somewhat messier fennel sausage, scallion and red onion. Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco) kept to pizzas, too, turning out mini marinara pizzas dotted with strategic slices of roasted garlic.

Michael Cimarusti (Providence) presented a preview of the forthcoming Connie and Ted’s with a fried clam sandwich. Russell Moore (Camino) offered a juicy lamb kebab with a subtly spicy carrot salad, precisely the kind of dish you might want to pack for a picnic in Morocco.


Zoe Nathan (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry and others) brought a bevy of beautiful, tiny desserts, but many attendees simply couldn’t be pried from the day’s craft cocktails. Rye on the Road refreshed with a drink of Bluecoat gin, kiwi, cucumber and lemon. Bartenders from Lucques opted for a cocktail built with Bols genever that packed a gingery punch. The Varnish had what may have been the best drink of the day, a simple blend of scotch, lemon and honey that looked all the more enticing in an iridescent punch bowl. If that wasn’t enough, the Varnish team even brought an ice luge, convincing a number of attendees to assume the position and catch a shot of Brugal 1888 as it cascaded down the ice.

If your idea of a nice day in the sun is a star tour, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade had that, too. There was Jimmy Kimmel serving as the day’s emcee. Allison Williams and Lena Dunham from HBO’s Girls. Parks and Recreation was in part represented by the lovable Jim O’Heir who plays Jerry Gergich (or is it Gerry? Or Gary? Not even Wikipedia knows). And if you looked carefully enough on your walk through the lot, you may even have seen the Bluth Company stair car.


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