Healing House martini contest crowns Pamplona, Walk-On's winners

by Elizabeth Rose

Healing House's ABSOLUT Best Martini contest culminated in a gala Saturday night with music, a silent auction and martinis from each of the participating restaurants.

The eight-week 'tini tour culminated in the annual martini gala at the Hilton on Saturday night, and revelers sipped martinis from Blue Dog Café, Bonefish Grill, Charley G's, Cochon, La Fonda, Marcello's Wine Market Café, Pamplona and Walk-On's.

Ultimately, Pamplona won the judge's choice award for its Endless Summer martini, created by bar manager Anson Trahan, pictured at right in top photo. Trahan created the martini with ABSOLUT Citron, in-house plum and fig bitters (the latter of which Trahan makes from a tree in his grandfather's backyard), ginger syrup and cranberry juice.

Walk-On's won the People's Choice Award with its Bananas Foster martini, which blends ABSOLUT Vanilla, Godiva White, creme de banana, agave nectar and half-and-half in a glass rimmed with chocolate and graham cracker (pictured at bottom are Walk-On's Raven Fournier and Mikki Manuel). The people's choice is determined through voting at the restaurants and at the gala; every dollar stuffed in the oversized ABSOLUT bottle at the restaurants counts as a vote.

Louisiana Red provided music for the dozens of dancers and food sponsors were The Kitchenary, Logan Farms and Champagne's. Each attendee received a hand-painted martini glass designed by local artist Lue Svedson.

The annual contest is a fundraiser for Healing House, which provides a facility for children to grieve through group settings. At Healing House, "children learn to express their grief through interactive play, expressive art work and discussion groups with peers experiencing the same trauma," according to the non-profit's website. For more information, visit