B.C. Bars Take Martini Challenge

What a martini-mad weekend: four drag queens pouring synchronized martinis at Delilah's in Vancouver, B.C.; a "martini girl" at Stars in Seattle, wearing a martini-glass dress with an olive headdress; and black truffles served in martini aspic at Gerard in Vancouver.

Those are scenes from the world's first international Martini Classic Challenge, held Friday night in Vancouver and Saturday in Seattle. Results:

-- Best classic martini was "The Ultimate Chill," concocted by bartenders Mike Rule and Pat Boyd at Oliver's in the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. (Oliver's has won six times in the contest's seven-year history.)

-- Best specialty martini, "After the Frost," was concocted by 900 West in the Canadian Pacific Hotel in Vancouver.

-- Best martini food was won by the Four Seasons Olympic Garden Court. Chef Gavin Stephenson's "Seattleite Sampler" featured smoked sturgeon, kumamoto oysters and Dungeness crab.

Vancouver competitors were 900 West, Delilah's, Joe Fortes and Gerard. Gerard placed first locally for its classic martini and martini aspic.

Seattle contestants were the Metropolitan Grill, the Garden Court, Stars and Oliver's. The Met's and Oliver's specialty martinis tied locally.

And then there's Stars' martini girl, Meghan Simpson. Her costume was designed by Sew Right Sisters and Creative Endeavors. It adds a literal dimension to the famed Robert Benchley quote: "Why don't you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?"

Guys and dolls: You have to wonder how Hooters, the frankly sexiest eatery on Lake Union, has been faring in politically correct Seattle. Apparently not too badly. There still are guys who eat where the waitresses wear hot pants and tight T-shirts.

But what about the South Lake Union neighborhood? Has Hooters hurt business? Questioned about the effects, a clerk in the nearby gift shop responded that Hooters has been good for business.

Theory is that macho diners do lunch at Hooters, then drift next door to buy something. Is it the guilt factor?

Restaurant go-round: Arnies on Lake Union - part of a restaurant chain celebrating its 20th year - is being sold. The buyer is Michael Jallits, the Seattle Arnies' general manager. The name, for now, remains the same.

The chain's owners, Peter Challman and Robert Peterson, say they're selling so they can concentrate on their newest concept, the Coho Cafe in Redmond.

Carless in Federal Way: Weyerhaeuser employees Joel Gaither and Michelle Davis met two years ago while van-pooling from West Seattle to Federal Way. (Weyerhaeuser recently won an award for its commuter trip-reduction program.)

Gaither and Davis, who might not have met if they'd been commuting by single-occupancy vehicle, were married in December. Their van-pool driver transported them to the reception.

Gives new meaning to traveling in the diamond lane, doesn't it?

You've got e-mail: A friend says that it's time to join e-mail anonymous when you name your children Eudora, Aol and Dotcom.

Jean Godden's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Her phone message number is 206-464-8300. Her e-mail address is: jgodden@seattletimes.com