Legalization & Entertainment
Marijuana-infused fare is not for hippies anymore, as foodies get high and heal
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.”
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.