A damn proper steak

This is supposed to be eat, drink, and run, but I haven’t written much lately about the stuff that goes in my mouth. Well, the solid stuff, anyway.

It’s because my diet has gone to shit in the last couple of months. Cooking healthy yet delicious meals simply ceased to be a priority when this whole Atlanta thing came about.

Pork Nachos at Raleigh Times. Fried Chicken at Poole’s. Toro Nigiri at An Sushi. All of the favorites. As the days until my husband left to start his new job grew fewer, so did home-cooked meals. Instead, we opted to enjoy the last of our days together in a town that has some pretty great restaurants.

It’s funny how an impending Big Life Change can make you feel entitled to indulgences. Comfort food, indeed.

Now that I’m on my own for a bit, I’ve done a complete one-eighty. Instead of eating out every night, I’ve been eating…whatever I can find in the refrigerator.

Cheese, bread, sliced fruit. Salad. Crackers and peanut butter. Frozen pizza. I haven’t been eating the worst diet in the world, but I certainly could do better. Especially with lots and lots of miles on the docket for the next couple of months.

Today, I had the day off of work, and was in the middle of a glorious mid-afternoon sofa-loafing session when I was suddenly struck by: steak. A good steak. Filet. Nearly rare. OMG.

I don’t know where the idea came from, but suddenly I could think of nothing else.

You are going to change out of those pajama pants and put down that reheated frozen cheese pizza, I told myself, and go to the store. And then you’re going to make yourself a damn proper steak for dinner tonight.

Let’s not discuss the fact that this tiny hunk of filet cost almost $13 at the Whole Foods meat counter. It was exactly what I wanted, and as luck would have it, I nailed the preparation, cooking it to the exact level of almost-rare that I adore – and that is frustratingly difficult to communicate to most steakhouse servers. (Um, #firstworldproblems.) With some crispy butter-fried shallots, roasted fingerling potatoes, and some baby spinach, the whole plate was absolute perfection.

Just a little classier than my typical cracker-crumb-covered solo meal…

Sitting at the actual dinner table with a plate of real food made me realize how much I’ve missed the experience of dining rather than just snacking/eating. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, being that I’ve only been on my own here for a week. But eating alone is no excuse to be a total slob and eat garbage. I’ve been wallowing a little for the last few days. It was amazing how much better putting on a bra and making myself a nice meal made me feel.

A glass of damn proper Cab helped too:

I don’t often buy Cabs. It’s such a food-centric wine, and I generally prefer to stock my tiny rack with more versatile bottles: bottles that can be opened up with dinner, or stand alone if I just want to have a glass of red on its own.

But the Wine Sample Lady at Fresh Market was pouring this 2009 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon a few days ago, and sipping it in the store, I really enjoyed it. It was smooth as velvet with lovely chicory and cherry notes, and it didn’t give me any cottonmouth. Just very…drinkable. So I picked up a bottle. Which was fortunate and timely, because it paired wonderfully with my steak tonight, and tasted even better after airing out for half an hour.

Bottom line: Get it! A solid affordable Cab. (Purchased at Fresh Market, $14.)

Anyway. I’m not sure what the point of this post is, other than to perhaps congratulate myself for putting on pants and using my stove today.

Perhaps I should revel in the laziness and just eat my cheese, because I’m sure that once I get down to Atlanta and am reunited with my dining partner, there will be gorging a-plenty. A whole new batch of restaurants to explore! We’ve been apart for two months! We just dealt with moving! Who wants a cocktail? We deserve it! 

17 responses to “A damn proper steak

  1. Not that I’m normally some kind of gourmet, but cooking a good meal is pretty much the first thing that goes out the window when I’m stressed. Way to fight off the couch vacuum and make a nice dinner. BTW, if you are lonely, you are welcome to come over and cook for me any time.

  2. Hate to hear you are moving! But your blog serves as a nice landmark to always know what you’re up to! Enjoy your last month here and I’m sure I’ll see you before you go!

  3. true story: i’ve never cooked a steak, damn proper or otherwise. you’ve inspired me.

  4. My husband used to travel for work often (Navy). And after a long time home, he’ll be travelling for a while soon. Anyway, I know all about the rut dinners alone can fall into – mine is grilled chicken and salads. But every now and then I would make myself something really nice like the steak you made. There’s something special about making a really amazing meal just for yourself. It’s a real mood-lifter for me.

  5. I’m so jealous that you’re moving to Atlanta. The restaurant scene down there is amazing! It is next on our list of places-to-visit-to-eat-all-the-things. I can’t wait!

  6. That whole steak obsession thing? You’ve successfully passed it on to me.
    I can smell it cooking now…
    And ps, you should enjoy your time left there, nothing like moving to stress you out for a few weeks to drop the weight you gained from stress-eating prior to the move… KIDDING…kind of.

  7. I am terrified of ever moving out of Chicago. Because I would do the exact same thing with going out to all the spots I’ll never get to go again. And even though I don’t eat a whole lot of deep dish, I feel it would become an every other day thing until I moved…

  8. omfg.


    almost rare.


  9. Any day involving the actual wearing of pants is one that deserves congratulations.
    Also, I’ve only been once, but Atlanta is a really cool place! There’s a restaurant called pasta di puccinella (not sure if that’s how its spelled or where exactly this place is) that has the most delicious bruschetta in the whole world.

  10. Mmmm fried shallots on a steak…what a good idea. I will try that next time. We usually do caramelized onions on our steak with Gorgonzola. YUM

  11. That is a beautiful meal. Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese. :-) Honestly though, it can be hard to go through the effort of cooking a nice meal when you know it’s just for one. But damn, you’re worth it. And this particular meal looks like it could put some chefs to shame. Bravo!

  12. I should have skipped this post; now I feel incredibly guilty for not cooking. Chris has been out of town every week for the last 10 weeks, or so (home on the wknds)… and i’ve been eating whatever looked good, and I feel like shit.
    I’m having home made veggie soup tonight, so that has to count for something, right?

  13. Ah, if only filet were a proper steak. The shallots are a great touch, but deserve to be on a cut that has some flavour to it.

  14. Atlanta really does have some amazing eats. I’m about to be on my own for a month while the husband travels to Kenya, so I’m trying to actually plan meals rather than just eat cheese and crackers. Though there is certainly a time and place for eating cheese and crackers (and wine) for dinner as well!