(originally posted May 11, 2012)
It seems like there are kettle chips everywhere you look. But back in the day, the only kettle cooked chips we had at hand were those from Cape Cod. Twisted and curled back on themselves, just hard enough that it was wise to bite carefully lest you end up bleeding from the roof of your mouth. Tasty chips. I remember when a friend introduced me to them, it was like a whole new world of chipdom that I never imagined.
Of course they have all kinds of flavors now. I mostly eat Pop Chips, but this man cannot live on Pop Chips alone, so I occasionally get a bag of Lay’s Kettle Cooked or Cape Cod chips for variety (or even Enchilada mega-Doritos – mmmm). Perusing Price Chopper with a ‘buy 2’ coupon recently I saw their newish line of “Chef’s Recipe” chips. Interesting…
Not quite being daring enough, I didn’t try both varieties. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around “Feta & Rosemary”. I got the safer-sounding “Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper“.
My first few crunches were a little hesitant, but these are really good. I would definitely classify these as ‘mature palate’ potato chips, though. You get the roasted garlic first and they nailed it. It doesn’t just taste garlicky, it tastes like nicely roasted garlic. The red pepper is, initially, much more subtle. In no way do these scream red pepper flakes!! They’re not even in the neighborhood of blazing hot. However, after you’ve had a few crunchy mouthfuls you start to notice a little light, pleasant burn at the back of your tongue. They really capture that little heat you get when you add a few red pepper flakes to a dish, but not so many that they jump out and slap you around. Take a mild chili and mix in enough so that your tongue doesn’t burn, but after you eat a little there’s a little heat there, just at the back of your mouth. Very pleasant. And, again, you’re enjoying that robust roasted garlic taste the rest of the time.
So, all in all, I’d say that Cape Cod totally nailed these. Hats off to Chef Weldon and the CC team, these are grown up chips and great. I definitely need to check out the feta ones now.
(Update – *sigh* The feta and rosemary variety is a big letdown. I think I can taste the rosemary, but feta, the next to last ingredient, is nowhere to be tasted.)