Taps Fish House & Brewery: The Ultimate Hangover Brunch Spot
The scenario: You are hungover. Badly. Your recollections of the prior night are only a notch above those of an amnesiac. Clues of what might have transpired are strewn here and there like a bourbon drenched version of the film Memento: A Mercedes hood ornament. A book of matches from a local dive with 6 digits scrawled inside the cover. Black lipstick stains on your sleeve. A VHS copy ofDeliverance from the public library. Suddenly your throbbing headache shifts into high gear and becomes a pounding, driving, power drill-to-the-brain headache.
A Bloody Mary probably sounds pretty good right now. But not all Bloody Marys are worth downing even in your compromised condition. It's especially in times like these when you need to treat yourself to a bloody good Bloody Mary.
TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea is ballsy enough to name their version of this "hair of the dog" cocktail the "World's Greatest Bloody Mary". Superlatives aside, it is a really delicious and effective Bloody Mary. As far as what goes into TAPS' World's Greatest Bloody Mary, there is quite a bit of stuff.
In the mix: Tomato juice, orange juice, fresh lemon juice, freshly grated horseradish, fresh shallots, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco and spices.
The Vodka: 2 ounces of Skyy.
On the rim: Coated with TAPS blackened seasoning — over 16 spices, dried herbs and other ingredients.
The garnish: You won't find the requisite celery stalk, instead there's a skewer with a giant prawn, cherry tomato, pimento-stuffed olive, sweet salad pepper, pepperocini, tomolive and dill pickle, like a drunken salad bar.
You'll fork over $9.50 for the "World's Greatest Bloody Mary", and it's teamed with a 7 ounce Cream Ale chaser — one of TAPS most awarded beers. The Cream Ale chaser comes off like dessert after a few sips of the savory, salty, spicy Bloody Mary.
This Bloody Mary is most in demand during TAPS' Bloody Sunday Brunch, er, I mean, Sunday Brunch. Unfortunately, the World's Greatest Bloody Mary is not refillable, but the rest of the brunch is.
You'll find fat Oysters on the Half Shell being feverishly shucked and served as fast as humanly possible. These oysters were satisfyingly plump but not as briny as I prefer, still good.
Other favorites included the juicy Prime Rib, Jambalaya and Pecan Crusted Salmon. The sassy jambalaya was dense with spicy sausage and dotted with awesome okra. The Pecan Crusted Salmon with a Cream Ale Lobster Bisque was a selection that I almost passed up and am glad I didn't. Crunchy and crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside, it's one of the best items on this brunch buffet. The Cream Ale Lobster Bisque just gives it that much more flavor and depth while adding a creamy sweetness.
Another surprisingly amazing item was TAPS' Huevos Rancheros. Satisfying upon the first bite, you get a bunch of great flavors and textures with a fried egg, black beans, freshly made salsa and fragrantly crispy corn tortilla at the base, all served on a small cast iron skillet. If you're bad ass enough, put 2 drops of Blair's Habanero Death Sauce on top, burn a hole in your gullet then head over to Farrell's across the street for a Pig's Trough to put out the flames.
Your experience at any buffet may vary. As a rule, I say wait for the fresh batch of the item you want to be brought out and then grab it immediately. Selections like fish can dry up pretty fast on the buffet line. Stalk and swoop that buffet!
So then, is TAPS' Bloody Mary the world's greatest? With all those great ingredients, it might come close. But even if it isn't the Muhammad Ali of Bloody Marys, I can say without hesitation that TAPS' "World's Greatest Bloody Mary" can knock down a pretty brutal hangover. And that's pretty great in my book. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!