Shaken and stirred: The Walnut Creek Yacht Club -- and mixologist Greg Palomo's rosy beet-pink St. Beetersburg Martini -- took home the top prize at last week's Best Martini in the East Bay contest, held at the Lafayette Park Hotel. By evening's end, mixologists from 14 East Bay restaurants and bars had shaken up hundreds of creative cocktails that combined sweet, savory and decidedly boozy elements, all in the name of adult literacy. The annual martini fest, which includes live jazz and hors d'oeuvres, is a benefit for the Contra Costa County Library's Project Second Chance. The St. Beetersburg cocktail combined vodka, Calvados, fresh lemon and beet syrup with a horseradish kick.
Second prize went to the Dragon Martini, a pink cocktail with a Japanese peppercorn kick, created by Walnut Creek's Sasa. The People's Choice nod went to Moresi's Chophouse in Clayton for its Southern Breeze, a martini-meets-sangria cocktail -- and that's their sixth People's Choice win in seven years. Congrats, everyone! (Missed the fun? Don't fret. You'll find the St. Beetersburg recipe online at www.mercurynews.com/food-wine.)
CANCELLED: Just received word that this weekend's County Fair fundraiser at Oakland's Pizzaiolo, involving friends from San Francisco's Tartine Bakery, Humphry Slocombe and Bi-Rite Market, has been cancelled. Find deets for Pizzaiolo at www.pizzaiolooakland.com.
Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, firstname.lastname@example.org.