Alibi V.16 No.6 • Feb 8-14, 2007 

Hot Knives

Super Bowl (of Potato Chips)

Last week we came home from a particularly heavy night of drinking to find a sweet surprise on the doorstep: a hulking party pack of somewhat experimental potato chips from the Kettle test kitchen (courtesy of our good web friend Mikey).

Needless to say, one of those five bags didn’t make it ’til morning. However, the other four did and we set upon a proper taste test. And what better day to do it than Super Bowl Sunday? So, rather than bother with the football, we grabbed an extra large bowl and a couple cups of palate-cleansing strawberry water, and we got down to business.

So without further ado, our rankings and ramblings for the top three of Kettle’s new potato products.

3. Dragon 5 Spice—This variety is pretty out there, but without any compromised chip quality. The first pungent punch is gnarly ginger, fennel and allspice. The crunch and greasiness lends a perfect platform for the flavor, too—almost like a little bite of Chinese food without the MSG. And while the idea of craving the stuff or munching an entire bag was pretty much unthinkable, we can definitely get behind the idea of beef and broccoli in chip form.

2. Royal Indian Curry—As mentioned above, this bag didn’t make it more than three minutes after being opened, and for good reason. For one, the flavor is genius and hardly done here in the States, but the execution was even more impressive. Slathered in authentic masala curry, these chips are sickly, radiation yellow; they scream Britain. The buttery potato base works wonders for the Kettle lab cooks’ combination of cumin, fenugreek and turmeric. Although we didn’t have the foresight, or soberness, to serve it with anything, there would be nothing better than dipping these into some dill Greek yogurt, raitha or dill cream cheese. Better yet, some green peas and beer battered cod.

1. Island Jerk—Best chip ever maaaahn. This flavor manages to take the potato chip to another level, no joke, and to communicate much more than any other packaged or processed snack food we’ve ever come across. At its core, the Island Jerk is, of course, just Jamaican barbecue, and in our mind barbecue potato chips will always rule. But here we’re talking about the taste of an open fire pit and Caribbean jerk meat marinade: thyme, paprika, allspice. No dip required, no snacking help needed. If they continue making these chips, and we hope for your sake they do, go buy them.

Beverage: Anderson Valley’s Brother David Double Belgian Ale

Soundtrack: Hot Chips’ The Warning

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