The rise of a new trend? There are a few who’d like you to think so: Yesterday saw the announcement of not one, but TWO weed and food pairings in Denver. Edible Events, a catering company, and Hapa Sushi, a Denver establishment with locations in Boulder and the suburbs, both received national headlines with their latest pairing menus. Of course, thanks to Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act, and the fact that neither Hapa Sushi nor Edible Events are state-licensed sellers, they will not be permitted to provide the weed or allow it to be smoked with dinner. Edible Events has come up with a relatively creative way to allow the patrons of their first event to enjoy cannabis: Parking a car outside the gallery where they’ll be holding their event, and allowing their guests to toke up in an enclosed, climate-controlled environment that is not a building. They will also allow patrons to vape indoors.
Famously weed-friendly Hapa Sushi simply created a recommended tasting menu, and will continue on with business as usual.
While I think it’s great that people are jumping on the weed bandwagon with creative business ideas, ensuring the continued legalization and social acceptance of recreational marijuana use, I am skeptical for a few reasons: The concept here is obviously based on the wine/beer and food pairings that are ingrained in our dining culture. But–and I think this is pretty obvious–sipping wine or beer is in no way the same as taking a hit of weed. Every sip of wine you take may make send you a little further along the tipsy route, but really not that much. And if you feel like you’re on your way to the spins, it is perfectly acceptable to spit that shit out after you’ve enjoyed the flavor of the pairing! With pot, every toke you take leads to a significant increase in your intoxication, and with recreational prices hovering around $70 per eighth (that’s 3.5 grams for you newbies), it is not at all acceptable to pull a Clinton and not inhale. That’s wasteful! Also, after that first hit off a fresh bowl, you lose the delicious flavors that are meant to enhance your paired meal. Marijuana is not alcohol and simply can’t be enjoyed like a glass of wine with your dinner unless you have a monster tolerance and/or don’t mind getting up and stepping outside between every bite so as not to violate the law and piss off your fellow diners with billows of smoke. Seems like a buzzkill to me.
And, frankly, I’ve been doing pot-food pairings for years and there are few combinations that don’t work really fucking well. While the idea is a novel one, it seems like a waste when I could just blaze up and head to Root Down or The Populist for an amazing dinner without the fuss. Believe me, EVERYTHING is delicious when you’re stoned.
Note: This is not exactly a new idea, as evidenced by this 2010 piece in Westword’s sister pub in Miami, The New Times.
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