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 – Shrimp Vermicelli

Its Monday!

All efforts to be healthy and work out more have been kind of put to the backburner… not entirely but “kind of.”

Last Tuesday I started a new job.  Which meant lack of time to run, write and take really great care of myself.  The even better news is that the place I work offers free breakfast, free lunch and the pantry stocked 100% of the time with pretty much everything I LOVE. We’re talking Polly-O String Cheese people! Cool Ranch Doritos! York Peppermint Patties!! Bagel Fridays with LOX. I kid you not I’ve landed in the mecca of the stocked work pantries. And no I do not work at Google. They also offer healthy options which I have been participating in… I hoarded the fresh fruit this morning with my banana yogurt. I LOVE KIWI and kiwi they had. I ate that kiwi so fast it was like watching George Costanza help himself to shrimp… (yes, another Seinfeld reference. Get used to it). I also have been ordering juices for lunch and large salads, ya know “it’s a salad only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.”

I can actually hear myself getting fatter….

So in honor of my recent overabundance of manna, I’m starting Manna Mondays!

Tonight’s “Manna” was Thai.  I grew up in a household chock full of Italian foods. Pasta all the time, breaded chicken, veal, yada yada. Thai was not something I tried until I traveled to London the first time at 16 and I didn’t like it.  Something about Thai basil tasting like fennel, blah.  For the next 9 years, I did not eat thai food again until hubs took me to a thai restaurant in Ramsey, NJ called “Gao.”  It would be there that I discovered “Shrimp Clay Pot.”  Excited that I actually liked something thai, we bought a thai cook book and the rest is history.

Tonight we made Shrimp Vermicelli from the cookbook “Complete Thai Cooking.” Its delicious, easy to make and healthy! The noodles are made from mung beans and everything else is fresh and healthy! The only thing is if you’re not going to cook asian style meals you may be investing in ingredients you wont use regularly.

Here’s our version of their recipe…

Ingredients: (Serves 2 or 3 people)

  • 3 slices of Bacon
  • 8 tbsp skim milk (sub for whole, we don’t keep whole milk in the house)
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • A few cloves of garlic chopped
  • Handful of cilantro chopped
  • Red pepper flakes or other thai bird chili if you like a lil heat and have them around the casa… we never have those in the casa.
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Approx. 1 tbsp of ginger root, peeled and cut into strips or chopped
  • About 8oz  of bean thread noodles (mung bean) – follow cooking instructions on package if you can read chinese or you can soak them in hot water until they’re ready to be thrown in and make sure to drain them first
  • Raw shrimp (we just cook with however many we want to eat)
Shrimp Clay Pot -All Ingredients

Shrimp Clay Pot -All Ingredients & My Vino

How to:

  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (all the chopped goodness)
Shrimp Clay Pot -Dry Ingredients

Shrimp Clay Pot -Dry Ingredients

  • We put the bacon in the pan, no oil.  Cook until edible, remove the bacon and then eat the bacon. Eating the bacon is a requirement, if you throw it out your meal will be ruined
  • Once you’ve removed the bacon and eaten it, let the oil cool a few minutos and toss the dry ingredient (garlic, cilantro, ginger, red pepper flakes) into the bacon oil/fat.  Sauté until softened and aromatic.
Shrimp Clay Pot -Dry Ingredients in Wok

Shrimp Clay Pot -Dry Ingredients in Wok

  • Then add in the noodles and wet ingredients, stir and cover over low heat.  You may run out of wet ingredients, we usually add in extra milk or just some water to wet it.
Shrimp Clay Pot -Noodles in Wok

Shrimp Clay Pot -Noodles in Wok

  • After about 10ish minutes (it’s not science it’s cooking) add in the “Trimps” (if anyone gets this Birdcage reference I will be BLOWN away, Agador Spartacus style) and cook until those bad boys are pink and curled a little.
  • Then you’re done and you made Thai food and you’re fancy.
Shrimp Clay Pot -Finished Result

Shrimp Clay Pot -Finished Result

In the words of  Jacque Pepin…

“Happy Cooking!”