Four years ago, a lesbian networker known as Kitty placed notices on Craigslist and the Austin Chronicle’s Gay Place, in an attempt to assemble a group of women who might want to get together to eat. That group became Foodies.
“I’d just moved back to Austin and wanted to meet new people,” Kitty remembers. “I never meant to create anything like a philosophy, but that’s what happened. I tell people Foodies is for women who love women who love food.”
The first meeting, at a coffee house, attracted eight women who hit it off so well that they moved to an African restaurant for a spontaneous dinner. Today, Kitty maintains a mailing list of 2,500 Central Texan women, and organizers in other states are clamoring for their own Foodies chapters.
Apparently Kitty wasn’t the only gay woman searching for an alternative to the bar scene, which explains why Foodies events are never held at any bar that doesn’t serve good food. But food, Kitty says, is no longer the only point.
“It’s being open to all types and ages. They said older women didn’t want to be with younger, and that sort of thing. But at Foodies, you meet people you’d never think you’d talk to, and you do talk to them, and you love it.”
Within months of the first meeting, women had flocked to taco joints, movie nights, upscale restaurants, benefits for AIDS Services of Austin and such blatantly date-oriented events as “The Well of Horniness” and “The Big Mingle.”
These days, Foodies also bring their dogs to Freddy’s for Dogs and Broads Night, or hand out business cards at Wheelin’ and Dealin’ Wednesdays, held at the San Jose Hotel “for the power dyke in you,” Kitty explains. “Whole softball and flag football teams have formed, real estate agents have sold houses, art projects have started. I even had a Foodies cruise. We ate our way through the Caribbean.”
Closer to home, Kitty’s eaten more great meals than she can remember—though pesto at Mirabel, steak at the Clay Pit and a fried pie from Jo’s stand out. Perhaps more importantly, she met her current partner over Brazilian food at São Paolo’s. Being part of a couple hasn’t dimmed her enthusiasm for scintillating food and nightlife.
Perhaps most intriguing will be this winter’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: A Party Worth Getting Court-Martialed Over.”
“We’ll feature a military theme and very nice canapés,” Kitty promises. “No K Rations.”