Friday, September 14, 2012

L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade September 29 Food Event

Culver studios backdrop
Chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz, along with Suzanne's business partner Caroline Styne, for the third year are assembling some of the best celebrity chefs and mixologists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York City to raise funds for pediatric cancer research on behalf of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF).  L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade event on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at the Culver Studios from noon to 4 pm will again be among the best food events occurring  in Los Angeles.  A general admission ticket is $175 with a significant portion ($100) of that amount tax deductible.  The story of the creation of ALSF by Liz and Jay Scott is heartbreaking, as they watched in amazement how their very young daughter Alex raised over a million dollars to find a cure for pediatric cancer, such that they captured her passion by creating ALSF after her passing.  Having the opportunity to talk with Liz and Jay in 2010 was a cherished moment, and I was fighting back tears.

Just like Suzanne, David, and Caroline masterminded this Los Angeles foodie event, my late wife Karen Gibbs and I also became enchanted with the mission of ALSF and we volunteered four shifts (working all day and into the night doing cleanup) during the initial 2010 event in which over $300,000 was raised.  Unfortunately, Karen was battling for her own life during November 2011 for the second one that cleared $400,000.  I so much wanted to make a token volunteer appearance,. but with the stormy weather, I could not afford to be sick, and thus be kept out of the ICU.  When Karen lost her own battle, I encouraged our friends to donate to ALSF along with several other non-profit organizations close to our hearts.

Having all of these chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, vintners, and craft brewers  in one place is an opportunity to sample their offerings and engage in short conversations during this four hour period.  In addition, one can spend an additional $75 to attend an after party at The Hungry Cat Hollywood from 5 pm to 8 pm.  For those that follow my occasional blog posts on ExperienceLA, you would know that I am a major fan of the restaurants owned by Suzanne, David, and Caroline, and have covered The Hungry Cat annual Crabfest. I have had many conversations with David about his growing up in Maryland, and the long time love affair of Maryland and Blue Crabs.  My long time fascination of the Chesapeake Bay in recent years has been replaced by the Gulf Coast, and the trend setting cooking coming out of Louisiana.  For myself, having just gotten back from my 13th visit to Louisiana, and checking out the Cochon outpost in Lafayette, I am again looking forward to talking to chef/owner Donald Link who was so personable back in 2010. Below is my mobile picture of Chef Link with New Orleans Chef Susan Spicer from 2010 taken with my mobile phone:

Susan spicer and Donald link in culver city supporting alex's lemonade stand

Last year appearing for the first time was Shelley Lindgren, sommelier/owner of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco, and author of two cooking/wine books. It was a visit to A16 during its initial six months of operation, that Shelley introduced me to southern Italian wines, especially those from Sicily. I remember being very intimated from the wine list, as my familiarity was with northern Italian wines. Shortly thereafter, Shelley was named the best sommelier under 30 by one of the leading wine publications. Recently I had an opportunity to catch up with Shelley Lindgren at an event at Book Passages in Corde Madera in which I had the following picture taken with her. DSC_5907

Shelley will be joined by her husband mixologist Greg Lindgren who works out of San Francisco's Rye on the Road.  And what would be a food event featuring the best mixologists without our own Eric Alperin from the Varnish (hidden inside Cedd Moses' Coles) in downtown Los Angeles.  Recently, at the international Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans., Eric and Cedd were honored for the Varnish being the Best American Cocktail Bar. Also watch for mixologist Tim Staehling who manages all three Hungry Cat restaurants who earlier this year went with David Lentz to compete in the national Lobster Roll competition.

I am a major quail fan which I love to cook and seek out in restaurants.  Thus, I was in heaven over the last several weeks eating quail at various restaurants and festivals in Louisiana.  Back in 2010, Chef Michael Tusk of Quince in San Francisco was serving quail as shown below.  Chef Tusk will be back for 2012, but have no idea  whether he will cooking quail.  But I suspect one of thirty plus chefs will decide to play with quail, and I will be a fan.
Quince restaurant quail platingbr />
Finally, as we all should know by now, September 29th is Carmegeddon II, the weekend of the San Diego Freeway 10 mile shutdown from the Santa Monica to the Ventura Freeway. Thus, this would be a great event for all of those on the westside to stay local. Plus, for those with Metro access, the Culver Studios are only a few blocks away from the western terminus of the Expo line from downtown Los Angeles. An easy walk or very short bus ride.  So checkout the official ALSF web page for the event, and Like the L,A.Loves Alex's Lemonade on Facebook.

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