LOUIE’S WINE DIVE + PERFECT CAST IRON STEAK + QUINOA STRAWBERRY SALAD

If you’re close to Mass Ave in Indy and you have not been to Louie’s Wine Dive, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Seriously, run over there! It is a hidden gem and while it is a chain restaurant, it is unique enough that it still feels special to Indy. I remember reading that Rachael Ray once received hate mail for dining at Le Peep on her 40 Dollars a Day show on the Food Network. She had no idea it was a chain and just wanted some french toast. Sometimes people are ridiculous and while I try to support local businesses and enjoy one of a kind restaurants, there is nothing wrong with eating somewhere with more than one location. If I ever reach that level of food snobbery, please knock some sense into me.

This was my second Louie’s experience; I met friends there for a girl’s dinner this week and then went again on Friday night. The menu is not big, but there are several items I have to go back to try. On my first visit I had the salad with salmon, which was cooked perfectly and was a nice size serving. The second time, I went for the steak. For $22, you get two petite filets topped with parm and a side of your choice. I split the steak and it was the perfect portion. We had au gratin potatoes as our side and added the quinoa salad for $5. The salad had just the right amount of red quinoa with arugula, strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic drizzled on top.

We also split the Malbec wine flight for $10, which was just right. You can choose three Malbecs to sample and it is a great way to enjoy some wine without committing to a large glass. I was also recovering from a sore throat and sinus issues, so I didn’t want to drink a lot. As a ‘wine dive’ you would expect a great selection of wines and Louie does not disappoint. There are several options in each category (pinot, cab, merlot, etc.) and a $10 or under option in each. They also have some local craft brews on the beverage list and favorites like Not Your Father’s root beer and PBR. On the menu they encourage you to buy a three-pack of PBR for $6 for the chefs if you enjoyed your meal. We did not do this, but we did tip well.

The water is left on the table in an old wine bottle and each table also has its own pepper grinder, which I love! Our server was also delightful and chatted with us for awhile. I can’t wait to go back and try something else! Besides, you cannot go wrong with any restaurant with a giant pig painted on the wall.

On a related note, there was a couple seated at the table next to us that were glued to their phones. Whatever happened to being so excited to share your day with someone during a nice dinner. I am the epitome of someone that thinks about work a lot and reads my emails like there is no tomorrow, but there is a time and place. If you are lucky enough to have a special group of people in your life, PUT DOWN THE PHONE. You will never get this time back and while I enjoy instagram just as much as the next twenty-something, I am not on it when I am with other people. It’s an early morning – five minute break in my day – stuck at the doctor’s office activity. That is your friendly PSA for the week!

Update: I went for the brunch with a friend yesterday and it was good! I didn’t like it as well as their dinner menu, but my omelette with peppers and white cheddar was good and it is always nice to have another brunch option within walking distance.

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On another visit we had the champagne rice floured fish and chips

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tandoori salmon with red pepper quinoa

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Oh hey, Kurt (Vonnegut)!

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Now onto the meal. One of my favorite once in a while meals is a really good steak on the grill at home during the summer months. However, I don’t have a grill in Indy and it is October. Have no fear – the oven works just as well! I have done steak in the oven several times with Libby approved results, but I have included some other tips below with some help from the Kitchn. The best thing you can do is buy a good quality piece of meat. This seems obvious, but is worth being said. I usually get mine at Fresh Market, Whole Foods or somewhere I trust the meat man. Ribeyes are a good choice with a little bit of marbling (aka fat). One pound of steak can feed at least two people and I can even make four meals out of it – leftover steak is the best for salads. It will cost you anywhere from $10-20 a pound, but consider the amount of meals you can get out of it if you use it wisely.

One pound ribeye, about one inch thick
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cast iron skillet
Long tongs

Let the steak come to room temperature: open the package and drain out any juices. Blot the steak dry with paper towels or a rag. Let the steak come to room temperature, if it isn’t already.

Heat the skillet under the broiler 20 minutes before cooking: Turn on your oven’s broiler and place an oven rack 6 to 8 inches below the broiler element. Put a cast iron skillet on the rack to heat up with the oven.

Prepare the oil and salt and pepper: Pour a little olive oil into a small bowl. Put about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt into a ramekin and mix in a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Brush the steak with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper: Brush the oil all over the steak, coating it generously on both sides and on the ends. Sprinkle the salt and pepper mix generously on both sides of the steak, patting it into the steak so it sticks.

Turn on a stove burner to high heat.

Transfer the hot skillet from the oven to the stovetop: Very, very carefully remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven, using your thickest and most reliable oven mitt or pad! Place it over the stovetop burner.

Place the steak in the pan: Use long, sturdy kitchen tongs to place the steak on the hot pan. It should sizzle immediately.

Cook the steak for 30 seconds on each side: Cook the steak for 30 seconds, then flip it over. Cook the steak for an additional 30 seconds on the other side.

Transfer the skillet with the steak back to the oven: Carefully put the skillet and steak back in the oven. (Don’t forget to turn off the burner.)

Roast the steak in the oven for 2 minutes per side: Cook the steak for 2 minutes. Open the oven and carefully flip the steak, using the long tongs. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 2 minutes. At this point your steak will be medium-rare (as seen in the photos). If you prefer your steak closer to medium, add 2 minutes to the oven time.

Rest the steak: Take the steak out of the oven and turn off the oven. Remove the steak from the pan and put it on a large cutting board. Cover it with aluminum foil and let the steak rest for about 5 minutes.

Slice the steak and serve: Slice the steak against the grain and fan slices out on each plate. Serve immediately.

I chose a sirloin for $6.34 from Trader Joe’s

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I added a side of potatoes and roasted balsamic portobello mushrooms. My homemade lemonade too.

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I topped the steak with some parm

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For the quinoa salad, it really is as simple as compiling all of the ingredients that follow. I use the Fig Balsamic from the Olive Store on everything and it is perfect for this!

Cooked red quinoa

Arugula

Goat cheese

Strawberries, sliced (I used blackberries because it was what I had)

Balsamic (I used my favorite fig balsamic)

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Winnie says hey y’all! It may be October, but the weather has been perfect for evenings on the porch after work!

ps – I bought my shirt at Homespun Indy, but you can also get it from Etsy!

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Disclaimer: While the World Health Organization announced today that red meat, lamb, and processed meats are linked to cancer, I would argue that it all comes down to moderation. I never buy processed meats and as someone that didn’t eat red meat for ten years growing up, I now enjoy it as an occasional treat. Sometimes I crave a burger and as a somewhat tiny person, I think the iron is good for me. As long as I start my day with spinach or oatmeal and eat mostly whole foods, I think I will be ok! Also, hot dogs eaten at a ballpark should not count. 

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