One of the most desirable gala event tickets in Orange County, is the annual Dux in Tux charity fundraiser hosted by the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. This year marks 18 years for the exciting evening where pro hockey meets culinary creativity to benefit the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
Anaheim Ducks Center Ryan Kesler, Actor Danny Trejo, Trejo’s Tacos Chef Mason Royal
This year’s Dux in Tux, presented by Honda at the Honda Center, was especially unique because of the venue — on the home ice of the Anaheim Ducks. Surrounded by a sea of red, it was an exhilarating experience to enter the immense center, scanning the scene of sparkling tables and buzz of activity below, as we stepped down among the rows of crimson seats to the floor. An aura of excitement prevailed as guests, chefs and Ducks tippled, laughed and mingled, reveling in the heady pairing of Anaheim Ducks coaches and players with Orange County’s brightest culinary talent.
I’m not sure what was more impressive: the breathtaking table scapes, the celebrity status bestowed on the chefs with their coterie of foodie friends and followers, the star power of the athletes, or the inspired cocktails and decadent chef-driven menus created especially for the evening.
The Federal, Long Beach – speakeasy table decor.
Chef Dee Nguyen of Break of Dawn
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen‘s lovely multi-colored roses and shimmering candlelight decor.
My friend and fellow writer, Tony Reverditto, and I were seated at the table sponsored by Los Angles-based Trejo’s Tacos with character actor Danny Trejo as our host. You might recognize Danny Trejo from the intimidating, tattooed characters he has embodied in Hatchet, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. In keeping with his image, our table decor was bad ass with greenery evocative of jungle warfare, a guerrilla fighter figurine of Trejo, a bronze machete, an antique gun belonging to Trejo, and lights strung from bamboo poles.
I’m certain the Trejo’s Tacos table was the most exciting — a minor candle mishap, eating a cricket (it was our first course), a parade of chile-spiced cocktails, a decor malfunction and, then, going on to win Best Cocktail – which drew a crowd, including a visit from Ducks Right Wing Corey Perry!
Our Anaheim Ducks guest server was Center Ryan Kesler, a formidable hockey player, handsome guy, and great sport for helping with the decor malfunction. A night to remember! I’m glad I survived!
Anaheim Ducks Ryan Kesler assisting.
Table sponsor and host Actor Danny Trejo with Ducks Center Ryan Kesler and wife Andrea.
Photo ops: Stephanie Watchler with Anaheim Ducks Right Wing Corey Perry
All in all, a total of $475,000 was raised for the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, which takes pride in serving the Southern California community through a variety of charitable fundraisers, educational programs, and outreach activities. The mission of the Anaheim Ducks Foundation is to facilitate and support programs that produce positive change for children and families throughout Southern California by providing educational opportunities, broadening access to the sport of hockey, and addressing the health and wellness needs of our community.
Through the generous support of corporate partners and individual donors to the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, Ducks S.C.O.R.E. has been made available to schools and students of all backgrounds and demographics. Team ownership, executive management, players, and fans are committed to their educational and outreach programs. In the future, the Foundation aims to extend the program to more grade levels and expand the depth of Ducks S.C.O.R.E. to offer a variety of programming that inspires more students to pursue healthy lifestyles and academic excellence.
La Perita Sour | pear infused Pisco, lemon, ginger syrup, egg white, fruit bitters
I didn’t get a good shot of the winning cocktail (because I drank it ↓), but the recipe is below. It seems that Ancho Reyes Poblano Chile has become “the Sriracha of cocktails”, and their new limited edition Verde, with its green herbaceous spiciness, is destined to greatness as well.
A bright herbaceous elixir with a spicy finish.
- 2 ounces Ancho Reyes Verde Poblano Chile Liqueur
- lime juice
- simple syrup
- cilantro, mint, cucumber and bell pepper for muddling
Muddle cilantro, mint, cucumber and bell pepper.
Add Poblano Chile Liqueur
Shake vigorously, double strain. Serve up.
Garnish with a sliced pepper wheel and a dash or White Truffle Salt
Recipe courtesy of Trejo's Tacos.
Limited Edition Ancho Reyes' Verde Liqueur has poblano chile as its foundation, but offers a bright herbaceous flavor profile different from its spicy, smoky and subtly sweet sister Ancho Reyes Poblano. Both add depth and a complex spice to cocktails.
PC: Opening photo courtesy of Anaheim Ducks Foundation.