During that first trip to the Anaheim Packing House with my girlfriends, there was another eatery that really caught our eye. An eatery known as The Kroft, and uses a big porker pig as it’s logo. With a line that was non stop and tables that were constantly filled, this place was intriguing. Between PopBar Anaheim and The Kroft, the majority of visitors to the Anaheim Packing House seemed to be concentrated at one of these 2 places. At the end of that first lunch outing to the Anaheim Packing House, my girlfriends and I looked at each other and we knew we’d be back in the near future to give The Kroft a try. After all, if all these people are waiting in line for it, it can’t be that bad.
So, a few short weeks later, we made plans to get together and meet for lunch again at the Anaheim Packing House. This time around, we had planned to dine at The Kroft, and we made plans to meet early so that we could hopefully be there before the lines for lunch really started forming. The Kroft calls itself “comfort food reinvented” specializing in sandwiches served in brown butcher paper, decadent treats such as poutine, and Midwestern favorites such as fried cheese curds. Of course, if it’s reinvented, that must mean that some of these comfort foods are kicked up a notch, and that’s what makes The Kroft different from any other comfort food eatery around. After perusing through the daily menu, written in chalk on boards you can find near the registers, or on a large board hanging over guests heads near the storefront entrance, my friends and I had come to a decision as to what we wanted to eat.
For starters, we each ordered the homemade cucumber mint lemonade being offered. It was a hot day outside, and I found the lemonade to be really refreshing. You could definitely taste the cucumber in it, and it gave it a slightly watery cucumber flavor instead of the straight tang of a good homemade lemonade. One of my friends wasn’t as fond of the drink because she couldn’t really taste the mint and she was hoping that cucumber mint really meant you’d be able to get the flavor of both ingredients. On that point, I’d have to agree with her as I also only tasted the cucumber and if there was any mint flavoring it was so subtle it was lost behind the lemon and the cucumber. However, I was fine with my lemonade really just being a cucumber lemonade.
The real draw for me on this “comfort food reinvented” menu was the selection of poutiness that were offered. My husband and I already had plans to visit Eastern Canada, including Montreal, later in the year, and poutine was something we had been discussing. If you know anything about Montreal, then you know you’ve got to try some poutine. For those who don’t know, poutine is traditional French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. It’s certainly hearty, comfort food. However, finding poutine on a menu in Southern California is just not that common. So, you bet I’m going to take notice when I see it prominently displayed on The Kroft’s menu. After mulling it over, one of my friends and I decided to split the braised short rib poutine. Served with pickled onions, and a fried egg on top if you wish, this was a classic poutine with the cheese curds and the gravy and the braised short rib. The fries were perfectly crisp and delicious, and the gravy was good and not too salty until I discovered that they had mushrooms in their gravy and that turned me off a bit as I’m not a mushroom fan. The braised short ribs were tender and soft, but I wish they would have had more flavor. It also would have been nice to see more cheese curds in the dish as well. The pickled onions were a nice touch. Ultimately the braised short rib poutine was ok, but my mind wasn’t blown. However, considering you can’t really find poutine anywhere else, I was happy to at least have poutine in any version I could get it.
Knowing that poutine alone wouldn’t be enough for lunch, I decided on the ultra popular porchetta sandwich with pesto, arugula and porchetta. Porchetta, which is originally an Italian pork dish, is widely popular in Eastern Canada and the Upper Midwest as well. Perhaps when the Kroft says they have comfort food reinvented, its Canadian comfort food they are referring to? While I’ve heard of porchetta before, I’d never actually had a porchetta sandwich. And boy, I’ve been missing out. In this case, it’s basically pork loin, stuffed with seasonings and herbs, fat and skin, rolled up and roasted. Once it’s fully-cooked, it’s then cut up and served in a homemade bread roll and served with pesto and arugula. It was so good. Yes, it’s fatty, but that’s really what pork is. But the flavor of the roasted pork and bits of crispy pork skin and the spices mixed with the tang of the pesto and the peppery bite of the arugula all on the warm, soft bread roll was an amazing, and intoxicating combination. I literally could have had 2 of these sandwiches. It was so incredibly tender, and moist, and full of rich flavor that I love. But, you’ve really got to be a pork lover to enjoy this one.
Porchetta sandwiches wrapped in butcher paper, braised short rib poutine in a nice tidy to-go box, paired with some refreshing cucumber mint lemonade, ah, yes. That was a great lunch. I love the fact that the menu wasn’t full of the comfort food I was expecting, you know, your mac n’ cheese and regular French fries, etc. Where in Southern California do you find porchetta? And if you can find it, I can’t imagine it being better than you can get here at The Kroft. You bet I’ll be back for the sandwich, the poutine and the lemonade again. What better comfort food to enjoy on a hot summer day in Southern California. I completely understand now there always seems to be a line at The Kroft every time I’m at Anaheim Packing House. The only difference? Next time, you’ll probably catch me standing in line too.