There are many reasons why weed and food go so well together — the obvious one being that getting stoned gives you the munchies, and makes whatever you're eating taste infinitely better. But the relationship between the two goes deeper. Food, like cannabis, is an inherently communal experience that brings people together and helps them connect.
This might be why weed dinner parties are so popular. The internet is replete with guides to throwing your own at home, and it feels like I'm invited to a different one each week. One of those invitations, “A Sunday Dinner,” landed in my inbox, promising a four-course cannabis dinner from Opulent Chef in San Francisco. The dinner was hosted by cannabidiol (CBD) edibles company Potli and creative agency Limone Creative.
“Me and [Potli co-founder] Felicity came up with the idea over a joint,” wrote Limone Creative's founder Bianca Monica in her email. “I was talking about my Italian Sunday dinners with my family growing up and we wanted to create something emblematic of that.”
I packed a weekend bag and made the trip from Los Angeles to check it out.
Walking into Vive La Tarte, a Belgian bakery and cafe in San Francisco's trendy South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood, I immediately could tell that my stomach was about to get a workout. At the entrance, next to a gleaming white Vespa, stood a long table piled with charcuterie boards of meats, cheeses, olives, and other appetizers, while servers carried trays of puffed rice crackers with tuna and avocado mousse canapés, which you could drizzle with Potli's CBD-infused chili oil. These sumptuous spreads only hinted at the opulence to come.
Following my nose, I made a beeline to the smell of lit joints, and discovered a small room that had been designated as the hot box — the only place where you were allowed to smoke weed. An array of vapes with names such as Delight and Soothe from Sunday Goods were displayed next to candles and flowers, while circles of guests — mostly stylish women in their 20s and 30s — passed around joints freely. (Stoner tip: Always get blazed before a weed dinner.) I had been worried that the event would be full of San Francisco's tech bros, but this proved I had nothing to fear.
Walking around the bright and airy, industrial-chic space, I checked out the sponsor booths. By the bar, San Francisco-based Proposition Cocktail Co. was serving its CBD cocktails, including a golden-hued turmeric ginger mule that came with a slice of honeycomb as a garnish. When I stopped by another booth by the kitchen, a server handed me a knife to cut off my own piece of honeycomb to take home, and I discovered that the honey came from Potli's own bee farm.
As the sun began to set, we took our seats in tables of four, an intimate set-up that placed me and my friend next to a cellist and his girlfriend. The cellist quickly leapt up to perform a few songs (“classy touch,” I wrote in my notebook) before Monica and Potli co-founders Christine Yi and Felicity Chen took the floor, each saying a few words about the joys of a traditional Sunday family dinner.
They then offered a toast of “terpene-enhanced champagne” via Focus Concentrates. It smelled like champagne on steroids — it was as if someone had cranked up all of the aromas to a hundred. I squealed as I sipped it, because this is the shit that I live for: bougie weed concoctions that I'd never even dreamed were possible.
Then, giant plates of pasta, fish, and vegetables were trotted out of the kitchen, each more delicious than the last. The most stunning dish came near the end: speared asparagus with dots of berry foam, hazelnuts, and petals of nasturtium flowers, all so beautifully arranged that it looked like a painting. Despite being deliriously stoned and ravenous, it was impossible to keep up with the nonstop procession of food, and by the time dessert of tiramisu and fruits was served, we were all groaning. Thank God, then, for the extra kick at the end: two shots of Chron Vivant's CBD limoncello and Somatik's 1:1 THC and CBD coffee.
Not all weed dinners and cannabis parties are created equally. Sometimes, weed almost feels like a gimmick added into the meal as an afterthought, or as a quick way to make a buck. On the other hand, some chefs are turning cannabis fine dining into an art, carefully considering the flavors and effects of the strains that they infuse into each dish.
Potli's dinner took a different approach by putting the power in our hands, giving us bottles of their CBD and THCA olive oil and CBD chili oil to dribble on our food as we saw fit. Focus Concentrates also passed around electronic dab rigs with paired strains such as Mint Lemonade and Garlic Cookies. It was this choose-your-own-adventure approach, as well as the careful attention to detail (gift bags included a bag of pasta, pine nuts, and a pesto recipe) that made that night feel like the perfect stoner family dinner.
Feature image courtesy of Limone Creative