Weekend Recap Part Deux: Little Serow

Little Serow

1511 17th Street NW
Washington DC 20036

In weekend Recap Part 1 I mentioned the Hubs and I ate at a restaurant called Little Serow.  I even talked about the process of actually getting to sit down to dinner.  It was such an experience that it truly deserved its own post.

Outside of Little Serow (Image Credit:sclusivo.blogspot.com)

Little Serow is an interesting little restaurant.  It only holds 28 people-ish, and the decor consists of a “tin roof” ceiling, turquoise walls and is very minimalistic. You can see the kitchen and staff working as you eat, and there are 3 servers, 1 of whom is the co-owner.  We sat at their center island on stools, which because the floor is poured concrete were off kilter.  This likely would annoy most people but I didn’t even remotely care, especially once the food came out.  (I wasn’t able to take any pictures, they do not allow flash photography  or video so I am borrowing these from other sources (which are linked)).

Little Serow (Image Credit: Bon Appetit Magazine)

The way the restaurant works is it is a $45 prefix menu plus wine/beer/drinks. 

They serve you only what is on the menu. 

If you don’t eat it, too bad, so sad.

— —

The wait staff was incredible.  The NICEST people you’ll ever meet.  You’d expect them to be pretentious but that they were not.

We weren’t sure which wine to go with and they were extremely accommodating and honest.  The Hubs and I both went with the recommendations.  I had a German White  and The Hubs had a Lambrusco? (not 100% certain about the name/spelling).  They brought out a little container of sticky rice & a basket of other veggies, and then proceeded to explain that these items were to be used to balance the heat and intense flavors we were about to experience.  They said it would makes sense once we started to eat.

Little Serow (Image Credit: BonAppetit Magazine)

Interest. PIQUED.

The first  of 7 “courses” came out, it was called “nam prik num“… yeah I don’t know what that means either but they served us Pork Skins which we used to dip into salsa-type mixture of chilies, shallots and shrimp paste (could be wrong about specific ingredients). It was Delicious and Spicy!! Holy heat batman! It was a gradual heat and of course we were trying to save the basket-o-veggies in case we “needed” it later, so we toughed it up and sucked down our water/wine.

Course 1 (Image Credit: http://www.tangmeister.com)

The 2nd and 3rd courses came out together the 2nd was called “tom kha gapi” which was  shrimp, ramps & galangal. OH and of course chilies… so it was spicy!! This was a soup and we were meant to dip the rice into it.   So we did delve into our reserve sticky rice and it all started to make sense in my mouth.  The 3rd course which went well with the soup was “soop naw mai” this was a salad-type mixture of bamboo shoots, salted snakehead fish topped with rice powder.  This particular dish was salty, sweet and acidic all at the same time.  The coconut in the soup helped to balance this meal.  Foodie, I am not, nor pretend to be but I’m starting to finally “get it.”

Snake Head Fish (Image Source: s3.amazonaws.com)

Soup (Image Source: s3.amazonaws.com)

The 4th course was “gai laap chiang ma” …yahhhh girlfriend ate Chicken Liver & liked it! WHAT, hold. the. phone.  This course was smokey and salty.  They served it with cabbage leaves.  It kind-of reminded me of eating Chicken Lettuce Wraps but on a whole other level.  Like to even compare the two does not do it justice.

Chicken Liver (Image Source: s3.amazonaws.com)

The 5th course was one of our favorites (all the courses were delicious) but this one deserves a special shout out.  It was called “naem khao tod” this was crispy rice, sour pork sausage and peanuts in a chili based sauce.  The crispy rice was divine! I popped one in my mouth and literally turned to hubs and said “OMG, you have to try this.”  I haven’t said that since love at first bite into the pansotti at Del Posto in NYC.

Have I mentioned yet that each and every one of these courses is incredibly spicy? 

I feel bad for course 6 because I don’t fully remember it. I think I was still in heaven from course 5 or drowning my mouth and lips with agua.  The Hubs was drunk by this point also so he’s of no help (thanks for nada homie).  It was called “gai lan bla kem” and consisted of salted fish, egg and “greens”.  I really feel bad that I cannot remember it because I know it was delicious.

The last main course came and this was the “si krong muu” or as I would call it Fall Off The Bone & Your Chair pork ribs with a mekhong (thai) whiskey sauce topped with dill & crispy onions.  I was so full at this point that it was a struggle to actually put anything more into my stomach.   But the pork was so incredibly freaking delicious, I am not even remotely exaggerating, that I powered through and ate it all anyway.  We were STUFFED… and still wanted more.

Course 7 (Image Credit: http://www.tangmeister.com)

MORE WE GOT!

The Pièce de résistance was when they brought out the coconut sticky rice for dessert. Ahhhhhhhh.  The perfect finish to the perfect meal. 

Coconut Sticky Rice (Image Source: s3.amazonaws.com)

This meal was a culinary experience like no other.  We’ve eaten at pretty good restaurants in NYC (Del Posto, Daniel… etc) but nothing quite compared to the service and taste explosion that went on during this meal.

I will caveat this by saying that this may have been the spiciest meal I’ve ever eaten.   The heat never compromised the integrity of the individual flavors.  So if you’re now interested, and no they did not pay me to write this, just be careful if you’re not adventurous and don’t like spicy food.

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Manna Mondays – Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

Tonight’s Mana Monday is one of my favorite homemade meals.  It’s relatively easy and for a semi-italian its fun to play with sauce and “spaghetti.”

Recently the hubs and I have decided to go back to being Gluten Free.  He’s been feeling less than stellar and I’m notoriously having G.I. issues.  (T to the M to the I).  We tried GFree this past summer and did pretty good, but there were too many variables to know if it was really worth doing or working, although I did have less problems this summer than recently.  Now that we’re on more of a regular routine/schedule we decided to try it again.  Its hard, so those who are truly Celiac, I cannot even imagine!! But for those looking to reduce possible food intolerance symptoms, you at least have the options to cheat on occasion (I don’t recommend it since it apparently takes 10 days to rid yourself entirely of gluten in your system).  But some days you just can’t help it… girl scout cookies saaaaayyyy whaaaat!

OK  – back to the topic at hand.  Spaghetti Squash.  If you’ve never had it, you have to try it!  Here’s the recipe and some fun iPhone pics (we really need to invest in a good camera and some photo editing software).  Recommendations pahleaaaassseee.

Ingredients:  (we doubled the sauce recipe because we always like to freeze the reserves for another time, so if you want to make it for 2 use half!)

SS Ingredients & Well Behaved Cat sitting on a stool

SS Ingredients & Well Behaved Cat sitting on a stool

1 large Spaghetti Squash or 2 small ones

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Sauce:

Bacon – I used 4 slices cut into 1 inch pieces

Onion – 2 small or 1 medium chopped

Garlic – 2 cloves diced

Red Pepper Flakes – 1/2 Tsp

Vodka – 1 cup of the cheap stuff

Diced Tomatoes –  two 28 oz cans

Heavy Cream – 1 cup

Parmesan Cheese – grated

Black Olives

Spinach

How To:

  • I start by cutting the Squash in half… If you don’t have a sharp strong knife, you can heat this in the microwave to soften in, but usually a good Chef’s knife will do the trick.  (I tend to not be able to cut evenly, if this happens just be cognizant and cook one half a little longer than the other).
  • I slather the squash with olive oil on both sides, salt and pepper it, lay it face down on tin foil on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees until done.

I recommend doing this first so you can make the sauce while the squash cooks in the oven, it could take upwards of 45 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half

Spaghetti Squash Cut in Half

  • Start with the Bacon in a large sauce pan or (have your italian grandparents/uncles/aunts/cousins cringe and make sauce in a Wok, like I do).  If you don’t have bacon or are a vegetarian feel free to use oil or butter.   Bacon adds that little bit of smokey flavor to it and of course is a nice lil snack while cooking.  Cook the bacon until crunchy then remove and set aside/throw out/ or eat.
  • Add the Chopped Onions into the pan and cook for a few minutes or until they are soft.
  • Add the Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes for a minute or less.
  • Once you’re good with that, throw in the Tomatoes and Vodka.  I recommend putting the tomatoes in first, just for safety reason.  If you’ve seen a pan go up in flames you could sense my concerns.
  • Let this cook at a simmer for  – 10 minutes or until vodka cooks down.
  • Add the Cream and Parmesan Cheese and cook until thickened.
Sauce-y

Sauce-y

  • Once the squash is done, pull it out and set it aside for a few minutes to cool a little bit before handling, then scrape out the squash either into a bowl or the sauce, if you have never done this before, its pretty easy.   I think I YouTube’d it the first time.
Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Cooked Spaghetti Squash

  • I add black olives, spinach and higher quality parmesan cheese to this recipe, but you can really do whatever else you’d like!

Voila!  You’ve made yourself a vegetable smorgasbord.  

Below is a pic of the hubs, he didn’t want olives or spinach in his… haters gonna hate.

Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Vodka Sauce