Two of L.A.’s favorite food festivals return to Los Angeles. After a three-year hiatus, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, hosted by Chef Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group along with Chef David Lentz, returns to the UCLA Royce Quad on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. And A Taste of Italy will take place once again at the historic Pico House in Downtown LA starting at 5 p.m. 

With food, wine and cocktails prepared by the country’s best chefs, winemakers and mixologists, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade also will feature children’s activities, silent and live auctions, as well as culinary samples from returning chefs Michael Cimarusti, Chris Bianco, Adam Perry Lang, Donald Link, Nancy Oakes, Nancy Silverton, Suzanne Tracht, Rocco Whalen and Marc Vetri coming together to cook for childhood cancer cures. 

First-time participants include Akasha Richmond, Dana Slatkin and Brittany Cassidy from  Violet, Tim Cardenas and Irene Widjaya from Caldo Verde and Cara Cara; Jeremy Tummel of  La Paloma Café in Santa Barbara; and Vivian Ku from Pine and Crane.

More than 2,500 people, including 100 chefs, mixologists and vintners, attended the last cookout in 2019, which raised more than 1.3 million to benefit the fight against childhood cancer. 


Courtesy A Taste of Italy

A Taste of Italy will be hosted by IAMLA (Italian American Museum of Los Angeles) at the 6,000-square-foot museum located in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 23.  The twelfth annual Italian food and wine event will be hosted by TV personality Mario Lopez with participants that include Amante Pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Campari, Casa Luigi Prosecco, Drago Centro, Ecco un poco gelato, J. Lohr Wines, LA Puglia Restaurant, Lasorda Wines and San Antonio Winery.

For $5 off general admission, use code LAWeekly5 and LAWeekly10 for $10 off premier admission.

In anticipation of the second part of Dine LA Restaurant Week’s 15th-anniversary celebration, set to take place from Friday, Oct.  6, through Friday, Oct. 20, DineLA will team up with  Smorgasburg Los Angeles for “Dine LA Smorgasburg Takeover: Celebrate Culture Through Cuisine,” on Sunday, Sept. 17, at The Row in DTLA. Market-goers will have the opportunity to sample exclusive DineLA menus from popular Smorgasburg vendors like Chimmelier, Lei’d Cookies and The Jolly Oyster. Enter into a $1,500 American Express gift card giveaway, and win fun prizes such as food-themed balloons from local vendor Ooh-La-La Face Painting. The $1,500 American Express gift card giveaway is also open to all U.S. residents participating in Dine LA’s Fall program on

Russell Stover Chocolates turns 100 this year, and to commemorate the event, the company will hit the road with a coast-to-coast ‘Sweet Centennial Tour’ to bring the celebration across the country at kick-off at the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, Sept. 16. There will be a custom wrapped vintage photo booth truck bringing giveaways and photo experiences, as well as the World’s Largest Box of Chocolates and lots of free chocolate. 


Sundaes Trio (Courtesy Twoheys)

San Gabriel family-owned landmark Twoheys restaurant turns 80 this year.  To commemorate the anniversary, Twoheys will host a series of special events in September. Throughout the whole month, specialty handcrafted cocktails were created to commemorate the last 80 years, and include “The Nifty Fifty,” “Rockin 80’s” and “The Celebration.” From Wednesday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 24, there will be an 80-cent mini sundae with the purchase of an entrée, as well as live music by Woodie and the Longboards, and a display of antique cars hosted by Trompers of Eagle Rock Car Club. On Sunday, Sept. 24, there will be a Family Night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Beachlife Ranch music festival with Brad Paisley, The Doobie Brothers and Jack Johnson takes place in Redondo Beach from Friday, Sept. 22, through Sunday, Sept. 24 and will be hosting a hotline of food vendors including Holey Grail Donuts, Poutine Brothers, Proudly Serving, The Notorious P.I.G., Homeslice Pizzeria, Riera’s Place and Tacolicious.

Fruitstitute and the Los Angeles Parks Foundation will present a citrus workshop series beginning on Saturday, Sept. 23. Six weekend workshops will take place at the Franklin Canyon Orange Grove, one of LA’s original citrus orchards sitting on a 4.3-acre parcel in Beverly Hills. Participants can learn how to take care of citrus while helping sustain the historic Franklin Canyon Orange Grove. The series will run through Dec. 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at 1400 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. 

Under the care of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, the trees are harvested each year by volunteers who distribute the fruit to local food pantries and soup kitchens. The goal of the workshop series is to give the trees the care they need to improve tree health and increase fruit productivity for the annual harvest.

Each workshop begins with a lecture on seasonal care, including tree assessment, biology and physiology followed by a two-hour pruning session to gain hands-on experience. The workshops can accommodate 15 people and the cost per person is $50 with snacks and water provided. For more dates and to reserve, visit:

LA Loves Alex's lemonade

Serial Mom meatloaf (Courtesy Fanny’s)

As part of a major John Waters celebration, Fanny’s at the Academy Museum will offer a prix fixe dinner inspired by Serial Mom on Sunday, Sept. 17. John Waters’s satirical black comedy will be screened at the museum on the same evening in conjunction with the opening of John Waters: Pope of Trash, an exhibition dedicated solely to Waters’ films. The menu will feature takes on the traditional family meals that Kathleen Turner’s character, a  housewife with murderous tendencies, cooks up in the film, including “The Perfect Meatloaf,” sesame broccoli, and a slice of classic cherry pie. A link to reserve via OpenTable is here.

SOCALO in Santa Monica will celebrate Mexican Independence Weekend with festive dinner specials on Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept. 16. Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will kick off the colorful menu with an effervescent Tomas Viejo cocktail, and includes the bold and smoky flavors of chorizo mussels with preserved lemon, in a steaming bowl of house tortilla soup, and served with sliced, grilled bread. The culinary journey continues with Campechana de Baja California, made with plump scallops, juicy shrimp and tender, thinly sliced octopus. There’s also an Olmeca Altos tequila flight.

What’s Popping Up is a weekly column in the L.A. Weekly that explores all that’s new in food and drink.











































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