Anyone who's been to high-profile food festivals in L.A. knows what to expect: hot sun, parking jams, long lines, celeb chefs, actors and affluent women in floppy hats. There was plenty of that at this year's L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade (cast of Criminal Minds and Parenthood, Jimmy Kimmel, Scott Wolf, Laura Dern, Nolan Gould, etc), but there was also feel-good speeches and loads of money raised — $530,000, including nearly $250,000 in auctions for childhood cancer research.

There was also Lena Dunham in a backless bright yellow dress and hair-raising cocktails. The Pinkerton, made with blackstrap molasses and Russian Imperial Stout by Christiaan Rollich, head barman of Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin's Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern, was particularly thirst quenching.

More than 1,700 guests gathered at Culver Studios on Sept. 28 to sample goods from chefs such as Michael Cimarusti (Connie & Ted's, Providence), Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes West, Duff's Cake Mix), Jon Shook (Animal, Son of a Gun), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec) and many others. Stand-out dishes of the day included Matthew Accarino's (SPQR) chilled corn panna cotta with smoked mushrooms and black truffle, chargrilled beef short ribs from Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit) and pistachio, red onion and rosemary pizza from Pizzeria Bianco's Chris Bianco.

The foundation was built on lemons, sugar and a little girl with big dreams. In its fourth year, hosted by chefs Goin, Styne and David Lentz (The Hungry Cat), L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade was founded in 2000 by four-year-old neuroblastoma patient Alexandra Scott (1996-2004) who had a lemonade stand in Connecticut to raise money for doctors to help fellow children with cancer. In total, the event has raised more than $1.5 million in the fight against childhood cancer.

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LA Weekly