TAPS Famous 50 Sandwich Promotion
When Joe Manzella, proprietor of TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea and Corona and The Catch in Anaheim, gets an obsession, he focuses on perfection. Beer, seafood, and now sandwiches have all been on Manzella’s radar with stellar results. A lifelong sandwich fan and a history buff, he decided to share his passion with guests by honoring the sandwich for its place both historically and geographically in food culture.
Collaborating with fellow sammie-fan, culinary director Tom Hope, the two began a tribute to some of America’s most well known and in some cases, obscure, sandwiches. The Famous 50 sandwich program was launched in May with the grinder; each week a different sandwich is showcased at both TAPS in Brea and The Catch in Anaheim at lunch. To date, the Famous 50 lineup has included the lobster roll, grinder, bahn mi, Reuben, Mama Manzella’s meatball sub, chicken parm, Primatti Brothers, muffuletta, cemita, Chicago Italian beef, the Cubano, beef dip and DiNic’s roast pork sandwich among others.
According to Manzella, to reach sandwich nirvana, a criteria of five points must be met. They are:
1. INGREDIENTS: The best you can buy, especially the meats and cheeses. Vine ripened tomatoes, high quality spreads, be it mayo or mustard.
2. BREAD: Artisan quality and attention to authenticity to replicate the particular sandwich style. Ratio of crust to crumb in harmony with the sandwich’s heritage. TAPS sandwich breads and rolls are from baker Dean Kim’s OC Baking Company in Orange. Each future Famous 50 sandwich is discussed in depth before its launch between Hope and Kim.
3. RATIOS: Just the perfect amount of ingredients layered correctly makes it all work. Too much meat can ruin a sandwich and too little of other ingredients leave you a sandwich that tastes like bread. TAPS has invested in the internationally renowned hallmark of excellence for slicing meat: the Italian-made Berkel slicer.
4. CONDIMENTS: Take care with condiments; they are the accessories of the sammie. On regional interpretations the correct mustard, pickle or mayo can make or break it. Make sure spreads are evenly distributed to all parts of the bread. Crisp, fresh, properly dried lettuce adds crunch; vine-ripened tomatoes add flavor and acidity to balance the richness of meat and cheese.
5. EAT-ABILITY: If it’s a handheld sandwich, does it fit comfortably and can you enjoy the process of eating it? The Stage and Carnegie Delis have made headlines with their ridiculously large, stacked sandwiches that are photo friendly but literally impossible to eat.
For the month of November, TAPS Brea and The Catch will feature the following Famous 50 sandwiches: an encore performance of the grinder (most popular sandwich to date); the famous Primanti Brothers (originated in Pittsburg in the 1930s, it consists of grilled meat, an Italian dressing-based coleslaw, tomato slices and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread), a seasonal Thanksgiving hoagie and the Kentucky Hot Brown (a hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926 that is open-faced, made with turkey and bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown).