How to throw a THC dinner party that doesn’t put you in the emergency room
BY : JASON STEWART
Weed dinners done right.
For a long time, I was staunchly resistant to the THC Dinner trend: tasting menus laced with infused weed oils, hamfisted CBD-laced cocktails, shitty astral table dressings. The way I figured it, people had been fusing THC and food for centuries, a two-step process that needed no resolution: smoke marijuana that makes food taste better, eat the food. Then I was invited to a THC Dinner hosted by Chef Luke Reyes. Reyes, no stranger to a Backwoods himself, has been to his fair share of amateur weed dinners, the kind that pervert THC into a time-release pot bomb that doesn’t go off until you’re driving home.
But still, Luke invited me to a small tasting dinner at his downtown LA loft for an entirely plant-based meal featuring the infamous Impossible meat substitute, and perhaps the most infamous leafy green of all. White tables and chairs crowded the open kitchen, his three cooks toiled away as Luke greeted guests mid-prep. Bottles of red and white were flanked by a 2 liter mason jar of THC-infused oil that acted as the “Mother Sauce” for the night. Every place setting was lined with a travel-sized bottle of said sauce, which he sells under the name Vireo. The sauce had all the sharp pungency of a finishing oil I’d have no problem drizzling on my burrata balls. Next to it, a branded joint container held a perfectly rolled J, and though we joked about how twisted it would be to light one up during a weed dinner, small clouds started appearing throughout the dining room an hour in.
The first dish scared me the most. A (raw) impossible meat tartare — ironically contoured by the same ring mold that I’d use to shape burgers — mixed with rich tahini, pickled shallot, sesame oil, and topped with thin golden beets. The flavor of raw Impossible meat lands somewhere between unmelted coconut oil and cardboard, but Luke freaked it to something quite nice, especially when smeared on rustic sesame toast points slathered in that special oil. The next course, a fritto misto featuring tiny, perfectly ripe avocados that were battered and fried, dipped in a sauce I seem to have forgotten. I almost always feel strongly against heating avocado but this totally worked. Fried squash blossoms were dropped on tables as they came out of the fryer, and Luke even let me take home a handful of the raw blossoms to quickly die in my fridge instead of his. A perfect bowl of grilled cucumbers and vegan XO sauce came next; the cured ham and dried seafood typically found in traditional XO was replaced by nutritional yeasts and other plant based umami blasters. It was the perfect combination of cold and spicy to clear the palate after fried food. By the time the final savory course appeared, the scene had changed drastically. Girls were stretching their legs over their heads for no apparent reason, every song on the playlist was suddenly by Tame Impala, the sun outside the open windows had begun to set in those pink California gradients. I felt bad for the photogs licking their chops while snapping food porn pics for an inevitable future mood board. I laughed uncontrollably waiting for my wine to be refilled, “just leave the bottle”, I attempted.
Luke was growing more comfortable in the setting as well, introducing each dish to the crowd to cheers and applause, “All these dishes are vegan by the way, but they’re not gluten free, if you’re gluten free, you should probably go home now,” he announced as he pulled out perfectly al dente pasta to be coiled with his Italian tuning fork and draped with Impossible bolognese. Guests politely but fiercely fought over the family style dish. The dessert course was fresh berries barely macerated in their own juices and served over basil granita. The combination was a perfectly refreshing end, the dinner’s only misstep ended up being memorable gift: no spoons in sight meant forking out berries with the utmost urgency, racing against a delicate granita melting to gazpacho.
Every plate that left the kitchen had a scant 2-3 milligram dosage of pot, slowly taking guests to a crescendo of highness that peaked just before dessert. It was truly the perfect arc of THC for the evening, an orchestration that could only be completed by a seasoned professional. Just enough grass to make everyone around you seem interesting, to make the Tame Impala work. THC does in fact make food taste better, but in the right hands, the compound can transform a mere dinner into something I’m writing a fucking blog about.