Peninsula Fine Arts Center held their 6th Annual Artini on Feb. 10 at Ella’s Place, a pop-up jazz club located at the former Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in City Center, Newport News. The event serves as a fundraiser for PFAC, and this year’s theme commemorated the 100th birthday of the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, a Newport News native. Participating restaurants—County Grill, Riverwalk Restaurant, The Cove, Waypoint, P.F. Chang’s, Kitchen 740 at the Newport News Marriott City Center, Fin, Second St. American Bistro, Mellow Mushroom, Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar and Chesapeake Bay Distillery—were each tasked with creating a martini based on an Ella Fitzgerald song.
A panel of judges, Jonathan Black with Daily Press, George Culver from i-heart-food.com, Kim Wadsworth of Vow Bride, and I had the intoxicating privilege (no, really) of blind tasting the martinis and scoring each one to determine the winner of the Judges’ Award, while event attendees voted on their pick for the People’s Choice Award. For the first year ever, the same restaurant—Waypoint Seafood & Grill—claimed both awards with their Gin and All That Jazz martini. The drink was original and refreshing, combining the tantalizing tastes of fresh pineapple, Asian pear, tonka bean syrup and crushed basil, and topped with a fizz of champagne.
If you'd like to concoct this fantastic sipper at home, see the recipe here. Or, if you want to leave it to the professionals, Waypoint Grill is located at 1480 Quarterpath Rd., Williamsburg. Learn more on their website.