Within seconds of nibbling on the finger-sized buzz button, my mouth tingles. It feels like Snap, Crackle, and Pop are playing bongos on my molars while eating a packet of Pop Rocks. There’s a sharp prickling sensation, sort of like pouring an entire bottle of lemon-flavored mineral water on your tongue. What is this silly thing? Have I been poisoned? What is this madness, Seasons 52?!?
The buzz button, also known as a Szechuan button, is a natural analgesic, which can slightly numb the palate when chewed. It tastes sort of grassy at first, then ZING! Your taste buds are in full ’70s disco funk mode—bell bottoms, afros, and bedazzled star-frame glasses shining while doing the hustle.
Seasons 52, known for harnessing local ingredients at their peak, likes to capture the essence of fresh ingredients. In this case, the tiny Dremel tool-sized flower bud is the key to unlocking deep flavor consciousness. The cocktail they serve with it is the antidote.
Vodka, lemon, and honey make up the Botanical Buzz sidecar, which should be sipped to complete the palate trip. Some might find the buzz button to be a bit intense, and the cocktail acts like a pacifier at a rave. It cools the sensation like a menthol shower, complete with UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ beats as the drink plays the synthesizer down your throat.
When the tingling effect wears off 10 minutes later, your buzz from the cocktail remains. Do you take another nibble, or do you opt to keep your taste buds firmly planted on earth?
The Botanical Buzz debuts today (Jan. 20) and won’t last long! Make sure to share your experience on social media with hashtag #botanicalbuzz!
Seasons 52: South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. seasons52.com