DIY: Steak Dinner

Since I have a blog that is all about how much I like to eat, people sometimes ask me if I also like to cook. The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY. I tend not to blog about it because I try to cook healthier (within limits), which is much less sexy to photograph than burgers topped with bacon and dripping in melted cheese a la the Au Cheval burger or brunch with a side of chocolate soup as in Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. But trying new things is important…blah blah personal growth…something about a new year, new me. So I decided to try out a DIY post with something everyone can get behind.

The meal: New York Strip Steak with Roasted Brussels Spouts and Rosemary Garlic Baby Potatoes and Brownie Sundaes for dessert


I made this meal with 2 of my oldest friends from grade school! We usually get together for dinner once a month and it seems that whenever we get together for an early dinner, we end up doing happy hour, then drinks, then dinner, then sometimes more drinks and dessert. There really is something extra special about those friends you have had forever. However, since I have been traveling a lot lately, I have become a temporary homebody and wanted to make dinner at my apartment. That’s the other thing about good friends, they are down for a change when you just need to chill.

We got New York strip steak because the plan was to cook it on a stove grill top and it was on sale at Whole Foods. Two of us are going to be students forever so we were trying to be economically fancy. We got two 10-12oz steaks to share. Before we did any cooking we opened a bottle of wine (it may or may not have been the first of four). Priorities were in order.

To cook the steak:

  1. Generously season each side of the steak with salt and pepper
  2. Use a grill pan on a hot stove
  3. 4 minutes each side for medium rare, my friend had the genius tip of doing a quick sear on all the edges of the steak too -she’s a smarty pants, but totally worth the extra step
  4. let rest 10ish mins (if you have that kind of self control)
  5. enjoy and feel so fancy

Next the sides. They are both so easy! You can make them at the same time in the oven. You can also assign this task to the friend that is maybe really messy and wants to help, but you are nervous about them helping. I’m not saying this was one of my friends, but if you happen to have one helping you, this might be the contribution for him or her. The brussels sprouts:

  1. preheat oven to 350 F
  2. wash and halve a bag of brussels sprouts
  3. line a baking sheet with foil (less cleanup is always better)
  4. coat brussels sprouts in EVOO and toss in some salt and pepper in the baking sheet
  5. stick them in the oven for 30 mins, you may want to check them halfway through and stir them around

Don’t forget the potatoes. We bought purple, red, and yellow fingerling potatoes, mostly because they look prettier. And I’m not sure if I mentioned, but we were trying to make a fancy dinner. To make the potatoes:

  1. preheat oven to 350 F
  2. wash and halve potatoes (the long way AKA hotdog not hamburger)
  3. throw them in a foil lined baking dish
  4. slice half of a yellow onion, toss that into the dish too
  5. smash and chop 2-3 cloves of garlic, throw that in
  6. add 3 sprigs of rosemary
  7. drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste and toss (we used our hands, it’s easier)
  8. stick it in the oven with the brussels sprouts, if they aren’t done when you take out the sprouts, turn the oven up to 375 F for another 10-15 mins (at least that is what we did and it was fine)


We also had some crusty french bread that was supposed to be for the meal and one of my friends even made a suggestion for what I should do with the leftover bread. Obviously there was no leftover bread! That sucker barely made it to the actual meal. We devoured it with our wine as we cooked. But still a great addition.

We made brownies from a box and splurged on Jenni’s Burnt Caramel ice cream to top it. Jenni’s ice cream is such a game changer! All in all it was basically the usual. We met at Whole Foods at 6pm on Thursday and they were calling ubers from my apartment around midnight. Maybe this means I am getting old, but there is something so nice about cooking with old friends and being able to lay around on the couch after chatting, facebook stalking old flings and polishing off some wine.

Also to note, if you have leftover sides, store them together and use it as a base for a hash. And by hash I just mean microwave them at breakfast and throw a sunny side egg on top!


Mastro’s Chicago

Have you ever been to a sexy restaurant? Not like trashy, boobs in your face, orange booty shorts, nothing left to the imagination SEXy, but elegant, classy, sexy. This restaurant is most definitely the second kind.

The Place: Mastro’s Steakhouse; 520 N. Dearborn Street Chicago, IL

It’s a special occasion place. With it’s dark walls and minimal lighting it screams lets have an intimate conversation over pinot noir! However, the live pianist and women singing covers from the 70s through the present give it a little more laid back feel. It is also a lot louder than you might expect it to be making intimate conversations a challenge (but not impossible). It’s a small place and looks more like a large bar, but does not have that sports bar feel. The bottles are arranged by color and are lit such that they give the whole space a cool glow. The perimeter is lined with booths and tables for a more dine in feel, with higher tables in the center.

The drinks were great. They have an extensive wine list that is mostly by the bottle. Wine by the glass is slightly limited, but I would recommend getting a drink anyway if you are not getting a bottle (or several) for the table. They have a great selection of creative martinis. I would recommend the fleur de blue which has elderflower and blueberries. Our waitress also mentioned they are known for their lemon drop and sour apple martinis although from the menu it looked like they can get much more creative than that!

The food is fantastic. They basically serve two things: steak and seafood. With a vegetable here and a starch there, which you order separately. It is amazing! However, I would not bring a vegetarian here unless he or she is the kind of vegetarian that eats fish. Try the crab stuffed mushrooms and the scallops as appetizers. You might be full by your meal, but push through. The steak is amazing!

Some things to consider: This place is pricey. A more pocket friendly alternative is to come for drinks and share a few appetizers. This is a place I might meet some friends or colleagues after work to have a glass of wine and unwind. Very versatile. This is a great special occasion place for a small group. My mom took me for my birthday and it was great. This place will definitely impress, but I would be cautious of a first date here. You might seem like an asshole trying to impress a date with money and fictitious knowledge of wine…unless you are taking someone out who is shallow enough to be into something like that. I would not recommend going with large groups if you are planning to talk to everyone (or try to) because it can get loud and the space is not particularly conducive to large groups. It might also be a good place for out of town guests (read in-laws).

For more information:

Happy Sexy Dining!