KETTLEBAR: HAPPY ACCIDENTS
I must tell you, dear reader, that if you have not experienced Kettle Steamed Cooking or had the good fortune to taste the ultimate FlavorBoner that is the “Pan Roast” then I suggest you point your vehicle to Anaheim, CA and go straight to The Packing House; an artisan food court.
First off, this is an unexpected and truly impressive food court.
Modern in design, but rooted in the farm-to-table aesthetic, The Packing House offers just about anything your palate may desire; from Vietnamese to grilled cheese to gelato filled crêpe “cones” to a butcher. This place really does have it all.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as you wander down to the bottom floor and walk all the way to the back. Now sit down at the bar at Kettlebar and get an education in flavor.
Most good things that happen to you in life are happy accidents; we all know exactly when these moments are upon us.
The Kettlebar Pan Roast at Kettlebar happens to be one of mine, and comes in two parts.
Happy Accident #1: The Introduction
It was years ago when I came upon this lesser known Louisiana Creole dish called the Pan Roast. My girlfriend and I were visiting Las Vegas and she had, quite by chance, heard about an off-the-strip joint called The Oyster Bar in the Palace Station Hotel that specializes in what is called Kettle Steamed Cooking; which cooks food from the extreme heat of steam channeled through pipes into kettle shaped devices.
You sit along a counter and a row of these piping hot kettles work their magic before you.
Steam seeps from the corners, the dishes percolating before your eyes, the potent aromas wafting into your nose. You see the gestation of your meal before your very eyes and it is as erotic as watching a woman slowly disrobe.
Being an Angeleno, I was afraid that Las Vegas was going to be my only opportunity to sink my spoon into this naughty dish. However, I can say without hesitation, Kettlebar does a superior job at executing this beloved experience.
Happy Accident #2:
My girlfriend’s best friend from childhood was visiting Anaheim with her husband, their children and family to spend the weekend at Disneyland. We drove down to meet them for dinner. On the drive from Los Angeles my girl was looking up places to eat and boom! She came across Kettlebar.
Being just as big a fan of the pan roast and the novelty of kettle steamed cooking as I, we were ecstatic about the find and immediately booked a reservation for the bar.
Somehow Pan Roast is not mentioned as often as its sister Étouffée or her brothers Jambalaya and Gumbo, but she is just as delicious and savory.
She’s a bisque with tomato paste, cream, butter, garlic, chili and other spices. Commonly served with lobster, shrimp, crab and, in some cases, chicken and andouille sausage with a heaping scoop of white rice to soak up the lust.
Aside from Kettlebar nailing the flavor of the Pan Roast bisque, they use fresh whole chunks of lobster meat, jumbo shrimp and ample amounts of fresh crab. I for one am grateful that they are respecting their clientele instead of cheating them.
The Kettlebar doesn’t stop with this dish though. They have several other offerings and the two that I would like to highlight are their Garlic Fries with Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese and their Cajun Hot Wings with Blue Cheese and Avocado Cream Sauce.
Sweet Jesus. These are highly addictive starters.
The garlic in the fries is not overpowering so you still get that rich fried potato flavor and the cheese is ever so slightly melted. It’s clearly grated fresh before serving.
The Louisiana dry rub on these chicken wings is insane.
Half Old Bay, half secret seasonings this rub really is something special.
They leave their wings to sit for a day or two to allow the flavors to really seep into the skin and I am sure they slow roast these suckers before flash frying because it has the crisp of a deep fryer yet the meat and skin fall off the bone effortlessly as if slow roasted.
I never make it out to Anaheim as I don’t have kids and I don’t have a Disney fetish, but I do have a Pan Roast fetish and Kettlebar is reason enough to make the trek.
Now for your viewing pleasure, Kettle Steam Cooking in Action…