The Royce Quad at UCLA was alive with the sound of music and aromas from some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 9, all in celebration of a little girl named Alex.
For the ninth year, James Beard Award winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne rallied more than 100 chefs, mixologists and vintners for the annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade culinary cookout, which benefits the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight childhood cancers.
When 4-year-old Alexandra Scott was diagnosed with cancer, she started a lemonade stand to raise money to fight the disease. Since her death 14 years ago, her family and a giving group of chefs and supporters have been on a marathon to raise funds to battle the disease and keep Alex's legacy alive. Los Angeles has raised more than $5 million for the foundation.
“We’ve sold more tickets than any other year,” Styne told L.A. Weekly. “And I’m going to be modest in saying that the Lucques/Tavern/A.O.C. table has some Spanish fried chicken that is the best Spanish fried chicken on the planet and I’ve eaten more than my share of it.”
Adam Perry Lang smoked and chopped 400 pounds of ribs, April Bloomfield from the Hearth & Hound cooled things down with a charred grape salad with tarragon, Bryant and Kim Ng from Cassia spiced things up with mandarin orange chicken with slaw, and a record $1.4 million was raised in one afternoon.
Jar’s Suzanne Tracht handed out BBQ pork sliders with pickles and Timothy Hollingsworth from Otium prepared yellowtail confit with smoked eggplant and sweet and sour tomatoes. Sotto's Steve and Dina Samson took a break from the restaurant's 7½-year throwback weekend to sling grilled swordfish spiedini with smoked eggplant caponata and herbed breadcrumbs from their Rossoblu menu.
Guests sipped on cocktails such as the Rude Barb from Providence, a thirst-quenching combination of strawberry brandy, rhubarb juice, charred rhubarb and strawberries. The Lucques group was pouring the New Lion, with Elijah Craig bourbon, lemon juice, sarsaparilla syrup and peaches. Hitching Post Wines flowed freely as guests stood in the longest line of day, waiting for Lang’s smoky ribs.
“I tell everyone to make one round first,” Goin says. “Everything is so good, you’ll get one third of the way through and be so full and sorry that you missed something. We have so many chefs now, I don’t know if it’s physically possible to hit them all.”