It's what you do with lemons -- and Los Angeles, indeed, does not deprive us of lemonade. In the summer, the unadulterated lemonade of our hearts is at the preposition-less Hot Dog Stick adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier; but for lemonade with a bit of sour sass, try it with aromatics, booze and freeze at the following five restaurants:
LudoBites: There it is, listed at the top of chef Ludo Lefevre's menu for the seventh iteration of his other-worldly pop-up dinner series: lavender ginger lemonade. Four dollars. If you're not reaching for your milkshake of bouillabaisse every time thirst calls, then you settle for this tall glass of floral lemonade with a kick of ginger heat. And, almost appropriately, this is a lemonade that is only available for the summer -- until LudoBites 007 lasts.
LudoBites 007 at Gram and Papa's, 227 East 9th Street, at South Los Angeles Street (213-624-7272 or ludolefebvre.com/ludobites)
The Hungry Cat: In modern watering holes, lemonade met vodka at booze's first sight. (Your teenage past with Mike's Hard Lemonade will not be discussed.) At The Hungry Cat, the bartenders can shake up a Luke's Lemonade, concocted of Blue Ice vodka, mint and housemade lemonade. It's the one lemonade beverage we want to eat a copious amount of chilled seafood with.
The Hungry Cat, 1535 Vine Street, at Sunset Boulevard (323-462-2155 or thehungrycat.com)
Yuko Kitchen: The simple café slings quick Japanese fare for Miracle Mile's in-a-haste masses around noon o'clock -- and nary a VIP suit leaves Yuko Kitchen without the clutch of a frozen mint lemonade. It's deep, dirty green in hue, and if a peeping bystander didn't know any better, he'd think you were on a detox cleanse (oh, Naked's Green Machine!). Instead, you've got God's gift to you in slushie form -- and somehow, it's always 15 degrees hotter on Miracle Mile. But now, you're refreshed.
Yuko Kitchen, 5484 Wilshire Boulevard, at South Dunsmuir Avenue (323-933-4020 or yukokitchen.com)
Lemonade: Well, naturally, the humbly multiplying chain café called Lemonade serves damn good lemonade. We like that all the varied flavors are lined up just so at the end of its "cafeteria line" by the register -- it taunts, What color do you want? The three-dollar flavors include: hibiscus, watermelon rosemary, blueberry mint, blood-orange, peach ginger, kiwi strawberry, and even Arnold Palmer -- but after the arduous task of tasting all these 'ades, the one that titillated our tongue most was the cucumber mint.
Lemonade, 1661 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, at Venice Boulevard (310-452-6200 or lemonadela.com for additional locations)
Ray's and Stark Bar: We cheat, here, to include Stark Bar's Steel Magnolias -- a champagne cocktail of fresh-squeezed lemons, strawberries, basil, simple syrup and rum (but with the addition of two boozes, why water it down even more?). Named for the heartbreaking flick of filmmaker Ray Stark, this is the sort of offbeat mimosa we want to get bottomless on for a Sunday afternoon at the LACMA.
Ray's and Stark Bar, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, at Fairfax Avenue (323-857-6180 or patinagroup.com)