It's been a long wait between Steak N' Chicks reviews, but it's taken me this long to both digest all the food and wipe the smug, self-satisfied, charitable grin off my serenely gluttonous face.
You see, we did what is commonly known as a Good Thing. Sure, it looked like we were just stuffing our maws with gourmet deliciousness, having a right old girly gab-fest and taking home mounds of prettily-wrapped spoils, but what we were really doing was raising money for charity. I know, I know. I always get those two mixed up, too.
Gone are the days where being charitable goes hand in hand with sensible shoes, humility and spartan self-deprivation. For July's Steak N' Chicks Tuesday, to mark the one year anniversary of the oestrogen fest (Est fest? Festrogen?) Alex had the sterling idea of throwing a charity gala and raising money for a good cause. Alex is superb like that. She's the brains. I'm the… er… well, I suppose I'm the bottom. Anyway, put together charity and chicks, and what do you get? Unifem, the UN Development Fund For Women, the organisation we chose to support. For the bargain, costs-less-than-a-decent-lipstick price of twenty-five dollars and a plate of food, the benevolent bevy enjoyed gastronomic goodness, seemingly endless cups of fermented grape juice, conversation and networking with the most fabulous women alive, and three tickets in an extremely glamorous raffle. What does one call such a thing?
The Steak N' Chicks Anniversary Charity Gala and Whopper Raffle for UNIFEM.
Alex's house, Bellevue Hill.
Everyone who visits Alex's house says the following things:
At the front door: "Oh, this is cute!"
In the kitchen: "Wow. Nice kitchen. I do love the spacious preparation island. It's choice".
In the loungeroom: "Ooh, I like your painting. Is it by som… GET STUFFED. That is not your view. Look at the size of that freakin' boat!"
On the stairs: "Jeez, this place just goes on and on! I wouldn't want to do these stairs drunk, though".
In the courtyard: "I've been looking for a table like this. Are those the herbs you planted like, three years ago?"
Much later, on the steep stairs again: "Bugger. I wish I hadn't had that second flagon of wine. Where are my crampons?"
It's nice, is Alex's house, and the perfect space for girly gatherings and food consumption.
As always, I do need to mention the bathroom facilities: Shiny. Modern. With signs pointing towards it saying "Toilet", because Alex thought of everything.
Lordy, what a turn-out.
Much as I'd love to, I won't list all the windswept-and-interesting attendees, because:
a) it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll miss someone out; and
b) if you're only reading this to see your name on the internet, then sucks to you, you egomaniacal trollop. And thanks for coming. We love you.
Suffice to say, a whopping great thanks to all who turned up, all who didn't turn up but still donated prizes, money, or food, and again to all who turned up, because you deserve it, and because I'm probably still drunk. I didn't write my name on my plastic cup of wine just to under-use the thing.
And here you are. Hands up who likes cupcakes!
Jings, what a spread.
If I wanted to set a trap for fashionable sophisticates, I'd just put a whole mess of spicy meatballs, cupcakes, dips, mini-quiches, lasagne, wasabi tuna balls, chocolate brownies, cheeses, incredible salads, roast vegetables, pastries, spinach triangles, more cheese, and a never-ending stream of wine in a cage and just wait. If you cook them, they will come.
Nothing brings good food to a gathering like charity, the rumblings of one's own stomach, and the promise of some friendly gastronomic competition. From the fresh raspberries tumbling down the brownie mountain, to the painterly daubs of wasabi circling the tuna balls, to the great wodges of steaming lasagne, to the orgasmic squeals emanating from salad-filled mouths, this was a feast indeed. Anyone who claims they didn't go back for thirds is lying through their well-employed teeth.
Ladies, never has the call to "bring a plate" been so artistically and deliciously answered. You rock. And you completely ruined my diet. Beeyotches.
Blimey, what a bounty.
When Alex and I put out the call for raffle prize donations, we desperately underestimated the generosity and well-connectedness of our friends. We take this opportunity to apologise for merely expecting a couple of cleanskins and a lip-gloss sampler-pack. We didn't know.
On offer, prompting many to take advantage of our constant encouragement to buy extra tickets, was:
Napoleon cosmetic pack
CDs from SonyBMG, Warner, and Universal
DVDs from Warner Vision and BBC Home Entertainment
Magnum of champagne
Australian Idol Sing PlayStation game
Book pack including tomes by Janice Dickinson and Martha Stewart, my polar-opposite heroines Yoga Mat
Tickets to Australian Idol
We were all winners. Well, except for those people who didn't win anything. Mind you, we all became aware of the spooky fact that, if your name starts with 'E', raffle tickets are magnetically drawn to you. Odd.
The Summarising Bit
I'm not sure I remember feeling more satisfied after anything, ever (sorry, gentlemen – you were great, really. A for effort). There was food. There was drink. There was a festive, chatty, I-love-your-hair atmosphere. There were prizes. There were cupcakes on more than three available flat surfaces.
We raised just shy of nine hundred dollars for UNIFEM. It wasn't only easy, it was outrageously enjoyable.
If you were there: thank you so, so much.
If you weren't there: go and hold a charity face-stuffing fiesta of your own. Great for that warm fuzzy feeling, catching up on gossip and instant social advancement.
Plus, there's wine.