And Sō, the journey began…

“So.” A word so tiny, yet oh-so-powerful. It can be a point of emphasis or dismissal. It depends on the perspective of its user and the recipient.

When a couple of co-workers recommended Sō, a Korean BBQ establishment in Centreville, VA, I was excited to have a return visit to a genre of culinary delight I haven’t experienced since my Navy days in Japan just outside of Yamato city in Kanagawa Prefecture. Pulling up to Sō, a throng of eager visitors awaited entrance. The heavy steel door opened to an atmosphere bright with excitement. The aesthetic was a combination of subtle colors and dark furniture. A clean minimalism starring opposite the sizzling, succulent, spicy tastes that would light up our evening.

It is here that I turn over the telling of our foodie journey to my partner in gourmet adventures, Lolo:

You can thank my husband Eric for both this eloquent introduction and for providing the inspiration for this post. As you have already guessed, Korean BBQ is the topic at hand today. One of my favorite episodes of Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” featured Korean BBQ that the hosts tasted at three locations around Los Angeles. I was so impressed by the restaurants they showcased that I began planning my next vacation to LA. My sweetie Eric must have felt the same way this past Saturday, but I didn’t know until we arrived at the restaurant for the surprise reservations he made.

It was wonderful to find out that our dinner that night was at the Korean BBQ restaurant named Sō. Meaning that I wouldn’t have to travel to California after all.

Fortunately, with the help of the Worth It episodes, I had a good read on what to expect. And the theme for our evening was pork belly — oh my goodness! It was so delicious! Between the thinly sliced pork belly, the garlic-marinated pork belly, and the bulgogi (marinated, sliced rib-eye), I thought I was in protein heaven.

Jay, our attendant for the evening, was very informative and he brought out a great selection of juicy and vibrant cuts of meat. There were also dishes of salted sesame oil, plum sauce, and a spicy, sweet red pepper paste for dipping. Each bite coated my mouth with a mouthwatering rush of savory heat. The freshly-grilled meat was flavorful, and I could not stop myself from devouring more, even when my stomach was nearly at full capacity. Jay and the rest of the staff moved like a symphony, both cooking our fill while ensuring their other patrons enjoyed the full Sō experience. Ever arriving just in time, Jay expertly handled each portion of meat until it was fully cooked and then offered suggestions for combining sauces that heightened the overall taste.

I truly recommend if there is a Korean BBQ anywhere near you, you have to give it a try. If you already have an establishment in mind, come back and tell me about the dishes that you enjoyed most. As Jean Luc Picard would say, “Make it Sō.” I can tell you I did!

Madfoodie Original: Smokey Citrus Ice Cream Glaze

Kids are not the only ones with a sweet tooth.  Adults get that craving for something luscious and delightful also.  The issue I have is that when the cravings come,  a candy bar or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich won’t cut it.  For me, I need something different and distinct.  Last night my taste buds called for ice cream, but with an adult touch.  I took my vanilla ice cream and kicked it up a notch! Try this Madfoodie creation: Smokey Citrus Ice Cream Glaze.

I guess you’re thinking, where did that idea come from? Well in my household, Grand Marnier is a constant standby.  It sits on my kitchen counter as a drizzle for fruit on the weekends or an interesting touch to that sunday morning french vanilla coffee.  I try to remember to put it back on the bar, but a new idea for its use constantly comes up.

Friday evening after the dishes were in the dishwasher and I was about the turn off the lights, I got a hankering for something, but everything I saw on the table or in the open cupboard didn’t peek my interest.  Then I remembered the French Vanilla ice cream in freezer.   But the ice cream alone wouldn’t cut it.  That creamy deliciousness would need something else to complete the request that my palate was calling out for.  Out of the corner of my eye, the Grand Marnier sitting on the counter started calling to me.  On the other side of the countertop was a bottle of Smoked Maple Syrup I was saving for a rainy day.  How did I come up with the ideal to blend these two divergent concoctions?  They don’t call me the “Mad Foodie” for nothing.  In my head, the following recipe came about:

  • 1 tsp. Grand Marnier (or your favorite orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 tsp. Smoked maple syrup

As for ice cream, I used French Vanilla, but I can imagine, depending on your preference, any ice cream will do.  And that’s all I did.  Simple but delicious or “effin’ delicious” as my husband said.

You can let me know in the comments if you try it with other ice creams and how it tastes.