Le­gal­iza­tion & En­ter­tain­ment

Mar­i­juana-in­fused fare is not for hip­pies any­more, as food­ies get high and heal

Variety - - Contents - By ROY TRAKIN

Mar­i­juana-in­fused food is the lat­est culi­nary trend as en­thu­si­asts find new ways to in­gest cannabis.

By ROY TRAKIN

We have in­vestors call­ing us ev­ery day want­ing to be a part of this. This is ready to blow up.”

Bob Sum­mers

The first time I can re­mem­ber a ref­er­ence to eat­ing mar­i­juana came as a teenager see­ing the pre­scient 1968 satire, “I Love You, Alice B. Tok­las!,” in which Peter Sell­ers trans­forms into a hip­pie af­ter in­ad­ver­tently dos­ing on pot brown­ies, its ti­tle a ref­er­ence to the cook­book recipe from one of Gertrude Stein’s fel­low avant- gardists.

Some 50 years later, tat­tooed chef Luke Reyes is pre­par­ing an all plant­based, cannabis-in­fused, seven- course meal at his down­town Los An­ge­les loft apart­ment on Spring Street for an in­vi­ta­tion- only gath­er­ing of about 20, as ta­bles are lined end to end in his liv­ing room.

The Mass­a­chu­setts na­tive, who is about to open his own “non-thc” ra­men shop on 9th and Broad­way, is chop­ping up some purslane, a com­mon suc­cu­lent that is found grow- ing through side­walk cracks and can be eaten like let­tuce. He and his hand­ful of as­sis­tants are also hard at work ready­ing his take on tartare, with beets, tahini and sesame, us­ing the Bill Gates-backed Im­pos­si­ble Foods’ soy-based potato starch, which tastes just like burger meat and he’ll later use in a de­li­cious in­fused Bolog­nese pasta. The dishes all in­cor­po­rate Reyes’ own Thc-laced olive oil Vireo, which hit the mar­ket Sept. 1. His in-home pop-up din­ner ser­vice La Hoja also launched that day.

“What we do is not just get you high, but also give you an over­all ex­pe­ri­ence that in­volves the medic­i­nal side,” says Reyes, who con­tin­ues to over­see prepa­ra­tions. “It’s point­less other­wise.”

In­deed, as the wine flows and aro­matic joints are passed around the ta­ble, the ef­fect is stim­u­lat­ing, but not over­whelm­ing, the slight taste of cannabis work­ing with the fla­vor of the food to cre­ate an in­trigu­ing sen­sa­tion. Ev­ery tea­spoon of Vireo oil rep­re­sents 1.5mg of THC, while each dish in­cludes two to four tea­spoons, mean­ing an en­tire meal will amount to be­tween 21mg and 42 mg, which is enough to get you pretty toasted. Still, even af­ter the fi­nal dessert of berries, granita, le­mon and sher­bet, there is no sense of feel­ing ei­ther hun­gover or bloated — the more you eat, the bet­ter the food tastes, and the more re­laxed you be­come.

Reyes has ap­plied to the lot­tery to ob­tain one of the eight li­censes be­ing made avail­able in West Hol­ly­wood for con­sump­tion lounges, which will be the next step to­ward the es­tab­lish­ment of res­tau­rants serv­ing Thc-in­fused meals. “It’s the nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for what we do,” says Luke. “And I won’t have to keep mov­ing the couch to fit all these ta­bles into my apart­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to Or­gana Brands pres­i­dent Chris Driessen, ed­i­bles and con­cen­trates now rep­re­sent nearly 50% of the cannabis mar­ket in Colorado, and that fig­ure will go up as states be­gin to pass adul­tuse leg­is­la­tion. “With the abil­ity to slice and dice cannabis oil in a seem­ingly in­fi­nite num­ber of ways, it af­fords more op­por­tu­ni­ties to mar­ket and brand these prod­ucts,” he says. “With flower, there are just a lim­ited num­ber of ways to pack­age it.”

Eat­ing cannabis is dif­fer­ent from ei­ther smok­ing or vap­ing it. De­pend­ing on one’s me­tab­o­lism, and the abil­ity to ab­sorb the THC into the blood­stream, the rec­om­mended doses vary — of­ten it seems like noth­ing is hap­pen­ing, you gob­ble down a cou­ple more Cheeba Chews, and next thing you know, your feet are wob­bling like one of those blow-up in­stal­la­tions out­side a used car lot.

“I don’t care for med­i­cated foods,” says noted West Hol­ly­wood dis­pen­sary owner and “Dis­jointed” mar­i­juana con­sul­tant Dina Browner, who nev­er­the­less hosts her own semi-reg­u­lar “Din­ner With Dr. Dina” cook­ing show on her In­sta­gram ac­count. “I pre­fer head highs to body highs. If I eat an edi­ble, it feels like my skin is crawl­ing.”

Pot cook­ing shows are now the rage, with Net­flix’s “Cook­ing on High” and Green-flower. com’s on­line “Doo­bie + Sushi Rolling” work­shop, which demon­strates how to pair flower and spicy tuna in one glo­ri­ous in­fused hand roll. Prøhbtd Me­dia, which has raised more than $12 mil­lion in fund­ing from in­vestors — in­clud­ing Don­ald Glover — for cannabis-re­lated en­ter­prises, is pro­duc­ing “High Cui­sine,” a 10- episode travel do­cuseries for TV fol­low­ing chefs Noah Tucker and Antony Joseph

Kitchen CureChef Luke Reyes on Sept. 1 launched his in-home pop-up din­ner ser­vice, La Hoja, where he uses his own Thc-based olive oil.

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