Kettle Brand Potato Chips has announced its latest flavors, and here's the thing: They're absolutely inspired by Los Angeles.
The company says the new varieties are an homage to “bar menus in foodie hot spots like our home near Portland, Oregon.” But, since the two flavors in question are Moscow Mule and Korean Barbeque [sic], clearly what they mean is “Los Angeles, California.”
The Moscow Mule was invented by a couple of liquor-industry colleagues in 1941. One of them was Jack Morgan, a producer of ginger beer and the owner of the Cock 'n Bull restaurant in Hollywood, a popular nighttime hang for celebrities. The popularity of the drink comes from that restaurant, where regulars had copper mugs engraved with their names. (That was a midcentury Hollywood bar power move. It may have first appeared at Don the Beachcomber.)
The cocktail had a moment in L.A. again a few years ago. It's not quite as sought after right now, but it's a standby in SoCal bars. Korean barbecue, though, that's always popular. The grill-your-own restaurants come, of course, from Korea, but L.A. may have perfected the art. Many of the side dishes (banchan) that come with the meat were invented in L.A., a city that some Korean visitors will admit does KBBQ better than back in the old country.
Unveiling these two new flavors together is a cool idea — the chips are a representation of a food-and-drink pairing. Ginger and garlic? Makes sense.
As for the actual taste of the chips: The Korean Barbeque is about what you'd expect — heavy on the garlic, with a lot of smokiness. The Moscow Mule is less standard: When you open the bag, the aroma of ginger ale wafts up. “Sweet” isn't normally a flavor associated with potato chips, but we can see these becoming addictive.
They'd go really well with a cocktail.