Night out: Being fancy is hard to do
On June 1, we attended Sip and Savour, a fundraising event for our regional hospital foundation featuring an evening of gourmet food and wine pairings.
Now, we almost never go out to eat because, 1. I love to cook, and 2. we’re cheap. And on the rare occasion that we do, it’s less “beautifully served on fine white linens” and more “stuffed in a brown paper bag and handed to us through a car window.”
So this was a big deal. I even bought a new outfit — a blue, one-piece pant suit. Fun fact about adult jumpers with deep neck-lines: you either have a wedgie or you’re topless. There’s no in between, everything’s connected.
Our plan was to keep it civilized — it’s a fundraiser, after all. I would, of course, avoid the red wines, because fancy people can’t have purple chompers. I even brushed my teeth earlier in the day with charcoal powder (which online, popup ads keep reminding me I need) so I could convince myself that my smile was extra dazzling (Charcoal: fights acne, whitens smiles, probably combats global warming ... it’s the coconut oil of 2019!).
Anyway, we arrived at the venue in fine form — our outfits free of spillage, ready to get our sipping and savouring on, classily. The complimentary drinks in the entrance were pink and fresh and boozy and had mint leaves — four big, firstimpression wins! There was no seating, we were informed, so we would be standing whilst sipping and savouring.
The menu for the evening sounded amazing: fresh local crab sticks, buttered portabella and goat cheese tartlets, grilled bluefin tuna sushi pockets, Thai moose salad, braised lamb shank cannelloni ... Each menu item was at its own station, paired with wine. The glasses were generously pre-poured. I’m a big eater and fancy portions are small, so I found myself ready for the next menu item with still a sizable amount of wine in my glass. It was less “sipping” and more “down the hatch” with the ol’ vino.
I purposely (and with difficulty) didn’t eat anything after 3 p.m. that day to make sure I had a full-on dose of hunger sweats and generalized weakness for the big event. And we all know the best thing on an empty stomach is a large quantity of wine, chugged maniacally and paired with relatively tiny portions of food.
Onto the second station — the tartlets. They were heavenly. Want a social challenge? Hold a plate with a delicious yet crumbly tart in one hand and a full glass of rosé in the other. In the throes of small talk and neither a hand nor a social opportunity to jam the tartlet into my gullet like I wanted to, I just continued to drink hungrily in order to empty my glass and free a hand. The tartlets were pretty big — three-biters, easily — so as I continued feigning a grown-up conversation and maintaining eye-contact, I tried to take a dainty little nibble. Wrong-o. The portabella goodness was set on shaky foundation. Some went in my mouth. A piece of mushroom flapped on my chin. But the cheese — and most of the crust — landed in my (attempt at) cleavage.
I slammed the rest of the savoury treat into my face hole before it could collapse further, still maintaining intense eyecontact with the unlucky gentleman who got stuck attempting repartee with the ravenous and awkward likes of me. We chatted as if I didn’t have a bra-full of goat cheese and arugula.
I managed to chew the entire faceful of tart with my mouth closed, fully ready to suffocate if my nose were stuffy; I was committed to being fancy, even if it meant death by tartlet. I did the only reasonable thing I could think of in the moment and stole a second glass of wine from the serving table to swish out the leftovers that had settled between my freshly-charcoaled teeth. I then, obviously, polished off the glass.
At this point, I was starting to feel the effects of the fizzy drink from the entrance. And the glass of pinot grigio. And both glasses of ro-*hiccup*-sé.
I took a restroom break to allow myself a moment to sit (on the toilet) and contemplate my next move. Was I still fancy? I flushed the toilet, stood on one (high-heeled) foot and didn’t sway. Affirmative: still fancy.
Next up: sushi. Dear, sweet Anne Hathaway, the sushi! So good! I may have even gotten a friend to sneak me two more. And it paired perfectly with the whatever-this-is white wine and its rich bouquet of alcohol. I finished off my glass.
Whoops — did I just sway? Easy, tiger. You stay fancy.
Better keep eating. But, also, wine-pairing.
And so went the evening. In a beautiful space overlooking a lake and a stunning golf course, I sampled some of the most succulent and delectable dishes I have ever tasted. While getting — in the classiest way possible — proper shit-faced.
Red wine happened; despite my best intentions and protective charcoal, I smiled for the camera with purple teeth.
At the start of the evening, I used the utmost discretion when accepting second helpings or exchanging food/wine tickets with others; the end of the evening saw me gobbling the remaining crab sticks directly over the serving table while blabbering on and on (with my mouth full) to the unfortunately sober woman working there.
As the other fancy-pantsers slowly dispersed and serving tables were cleared, I recall a rogue bottle of wine somehow coming into our possession. We opened the bottle with a very classy ballpoint pen, plunging the cork into the wine the way — I imagine — the French do. I recall capping it all off with a delicious coffee-mug full of red and thinking “who’s coffee mug is this?”
We sipped, we savoured, we spilled, we wavered. And today, we Advil. Being fancy is hard on the system. But cheers to a good cause!