Cannabis pop-ups are popping up throughout California. Many of the state’s most talented chefs are jumping on the weed-infused (or paired) dinner bandwagon, offering pop-up meals that bridge the cannabis and culinary worlds.
Here are a few pop-up providers that have the community buzzing.
We all have a story (or we’ve heard one) about a magical pot brownie that seemed to keep you stoned for a week. The reason is science, according to chemist turned chef Chris Yang.
“Whoever made it had no idea how much cannabis to put into it,” explains the L.A.-area entrepreneur, whose biochemistry background gives him a special edge as a cannabis cook. “You put in an ounce of weed…well how much THC is in an ounce of weed? How much is in that one piece of brownie you ate? Without the chemistry, there is no real way of precise dosing.”
Now Yang uses his science expertise as the founder of PopCultivate, a catering and events company that hosts accessible pop-up cannabis dinners for about $100 per ticket. At the dinners, guests are served five courses, each with an optional dose of cannabis oil. The menus and the venues are a surprise, and the cannabis is the cherry on top.
“At the core, were all chefs so were very food focused,” says Yang, who has appeared on the Food Network. “We want to make a great meal and cannabis is just an extra layer of having fun with it.”
Longtime chef Luke Reyes started his catering and events company La Hoja (the leaf) about four years ago. First, he was just having fun with friends. Soon he was offering weed-infused events ranging from intimate dinners and pop-ups at Coachella to a 100-person party with a DJ inside a warehouse.
No matter the venue, Reyes and his team of industry experts focus on quality over quantity. Each dish or cocktail is the result of hours of experimentation with a fine-tuned TCH or CBD dosage.
“It’s not about getting super high,” says Reyes, explaining, “we like to call it a social lubricant.”
Along with La Hoja, Reyes developed and markets a low-dose cannabis-infused oil called Vireo, which he recommends using as a finishing oil and in dressings—not for roasting or deep frying.
Winner of the first season of the Netflix series “Cooking on High,” Reyes was also seen on the Food Network’s “Chopped.” He has a foot in both the cannabis and non-cannabis industries, and is opening a non-cannabis restaurant, 9th Street Ramen, in downtown L.A. in July.
Cannabis Supper Club
People often ask Cannabis Supper Club founder Marc Leibel if his high-end cannabis dinners are more about weed or food.
“I look at it as kind of three equal parts,” says the chef. “The ambience; the food; and the cannabis.”
Leibel got the idea for his supper club after attending a party from Secret Sesh, one of the founders of the California cannabis pop-up scene.
His elevated events are like a dinner with wine pairings, but rather than infusing each course, he pairs food and flower. Each guest has his or her own setting with a glass pipe, a lighter and seven jars of a half-gram of bud. Before each course, a partnering chef comes out and talks about the food and a partnering cannabis farmer or representative talks about the accompanying strain.
While he describes the vibe as “super comfortable” and welcoming, at $225-$300 per ticket, he admits his events are for affluent and discerning guests.
“It’s like going to a nice restaurant and having the executive chef cook you a private meal,” he says, “and being able to smoke pot with 25 people that are likeminded and professional.”
Pop-up dinners are by invitation only. If you’re interested in attending a pop-up cannabis event, your best bet is to visit the company’s website and sign up for the mailing list.