Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
9537 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
Final Elimination Week, no. 2
Just when you think that the week that lasts longer than a week of tofu, cupcakes that are ordered but not eaten, jellybeans, airport shuttles, salons and strappy sandals is finally over, another week that’s even better kicks off. How could it possibly be better? It’s bigger! It’s badder! It’s five, six, maybe even seven full days of what we have endearingly termed Final Elimination Week here at the Delicious Life.
(As you can see, I like theme weeks - it adds organization to my life.)
After being notified that the very ambiguous “they” (no name, no blame) had a Big Chief pow-wow and decided to “eliminate my position,” I began my three weeks of feigning work in this purgatory that is my corporate equivalent of senior-itis. “They” were being generous, he said, by giving me three weeks notice rather than the heave-ho this instant. Wow, how sweet of them to elminate me, but make it a long, slow, painful death! *grr* I’m not bitter. Really. It’s been great suffocating in my cubicle for your guys! Thanks again, and maybe when I’m cruising through the area in my chauffeured white Bentley to check on my kazillion dollar real estate investments, I’ll pop in to say hi! Maybe. Did I say I wasn't bitter?
So now, it is a parade of file backups, documentation, knowledge transfer, exit interviews, and all that other HR housekeeping malarky, punctuated of course, by obligatory hasta-la-pasta luncheons with co-workers who are well-wishing on the outside with, “Bon voyage and good luck,” but on the inside, are secretly thinking, “You lucky, unemployment-collecting b*tch!” Tee hee. Actually, they tell me that outright. LOL! I love my co-workers.
I may not have another chance to come back to this area, so I must go back to the restaurants that I really love, like Fassica. More importantly, I must try all the restaurants near my office here in Culver City that I haven’t tried yet like Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken. Yeap, that’s pretty much the only one left, since it’s fried and I had to wait for it until after the W for that one. LOL! Coldstone Creamery and Daphne’s Greek don’t count – I can join the chain gang anywhere, even...the OC, for fox ache.
Ah, yes, squandering away my as-of-yet-unearned unemployment checks on lunch. On deep fried fatty katty fish and chips and chicken and a biskit, no less!
Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken is just a few blocks from the office on Washington Boulevard in the new renaissance area of Culver City’s downtown. We left our office a bit later just to let the usual lunch surge at area restaurants subside, then walked there. I know. I walked. Incredible. Honey’s Kettle is just beyond San Gennaro, and just before what I think will be Benjamin Ford’s new restaurant, Ford’s Filling Station. But I could be wrong – I didn’t bother to go check out the sign on front window.
Just before 1:00-ish.
It didn’t require much will power on my behalf through the summer to avoid Honey’s Kettle for the W. Honey’s Kettle was one of many in a strange stream of restaurant fires in the spring. They closed, and took a little longer to re-open because I think they turned the disastrous event around and used it as an opportunity to re-model. There’s a cute display in the show window out front with home-y things like a rocking chair and a board game. If you wanted to really feel like you were eating down-home cooking, you could look at the window, but you’d still have to use your imagination. It's just a window. We walked through the door, under the copper sign with a fat copper kettle.
1:03 pm - Cha-ching
Inside, Honey’s Kettle is clean and bright. The tables, chairs, and the few booths along one side are simple to the point of ikea. It feels like a green and yellow version of In-n-Out Burger. We stood back to review the menu that’s posted on the wall to the right of the counter, letting “regulars” who know what they want for lunch before they even get up from their desk go ahead of us and order.
The menu is exactly like any other fried chicken restaurant – meal deals that come with a number of pieces and sides, party packs, and chicken and fish combinations. Everything from a single chicken wing to any of the half dozen sides can be ordered a la carte, even a jalapeno pepper, which costs twenty cents.
We stepped up to the register and ordered. Behind the counter, they really were deep frying foods in small batches in “kettles.” It’s not a gimmick. I was a little impressed, but more relieved since the Porterhouse Combo and drink was almost ten dollars.
The menu asks to allow 15 minutes for catfish, so we stepped outside to reserve a seat on the patio. When we had arrived, about half the tables inside were taken, half the tables outside were taken, and by the time we finished ordering, there were several people waiting in line behind us. Honey’s Kettle is popular for lunch. It’s not bursting at the seams, but the register is always ringing.
We sat down with our trays. I wanted to shove the chicken leg down my throat, but I restrained myself for the paparazzi. I looked at the deeply golden fried chicken, the mix of steak-cut and regular French fries, and the dimpled buttermilk honey biscuit.
Both the chicken and fish were fried deep dark golden brown, with a few of the usual fry bubbles punctuating the smooth coating. Around the edges, batter had collected just short of escaping into frying oil freedom, creating an extra-thick knobby edge. The fried coating was thin, but rather than light and crispy, it was harder and crunchier. Harder and crunchier than what? Hm, I don’t know – sort of the way expensive shiny black-bag potato chips are harder and crunchier than Lay’s.
The chicken meat was tender, and I noticed that, like butter in an English muffin, a lot of oil had collected in nooks, crannies, and in any air space between the coating and the meat.
I didn’t love the catfish in the Porterhouse Combination. It is a whole catfish, which makes it extraordinarily difficult to eat, even though you use your hands. There are bones. There are fins. There is about what feels like 1 ounce of catfish flesh in the whole thing, and it’s stuck to the bones and the fins. Not pretty. Not tasty. Next time, we'll get the fish filet.
The French fries were a mix of steak-cut fries and regular fries, We dipped them in accompanying slightly spicy, very tangy barbecue style sauce. Dipped in the sweet, creamy dressing of the coleslaw, the fries were even better.
The highlight of lunch was the buttermilk biscuit, for which I promptly abandoned the half-eaten chicken. Biscuits are one of my all-time favorite baked goods, and I will admit that I have *ahem* on occasion, driven through KFC wild-eyed and craving-crazed, to purchase a single buttermilk biscuit for thirty-nine cents. (I said "on occasion," okay?)
Honey’s biscuit is dimpled in the center, which I am sure has some scientific significance. I’m not sure what it is, but I suspect it is the same concept as doughnuts and holes. The biscuit is not as flaky as some others, but it has a finer crumb, making it the most tender biscuit that has ever melted into butter and honey in my mouth.
Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken tastes good. I am glad that I got to try Honey’s Kettle while still working in the area.