“Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.”
Born and raised in New York City, chef Miguel Trinidad loves cannabis, and he’s not shy about letting people know it. Owner of two successful restaurants, Filipino gastropub Jeepney and Maharlika, Trinidad has garnered critical acclaim for his worldly cuisine, bolstering his media-friendly persona with an appearance on Good Morning America and even a televised battle with Food Network’s Bobby Flay. For GMA, Miguel created a Twinkie Corndog accompanied by Calamansi Honey Mustard, a combo he must have thought up while baked out of his mind.
Trinidad credits cannabis with inspiring creativity in the kitchen, telling me by phone that “I come up with new and inventive dishes based on the munchies, mostly… once you smoke, you start reading cookbooks and playing around with ingredients.”
While high, challenging himself to create innovative dishes based on what’s in the cupboard, or going to the farmer’s market and grabbing random ingredients became a fun way to experiment with new cuisine.
Together with Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg and James Beard award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal, Trinidad represents the first wave of mainstream culinary professionals looking to be a part of the burgeoning cannabis scene. With his invite-only 99th Floor underground medicated dinners, Trinidad seeks to expand the horizons of cannabis cuisine, challenging stereotypes about who uses the plant and why.
Earning favorable reviews from Grub Street and Elite Daily, Trinidad’s medicated meals carry a low dose of THC but bring bold flavors and delicate techniques.
“We like to keep it pretty mellow so you can feel and enjoy the food throughout the night,” Trinidad said, and most five course dinners carry a dosage of around 15 milligrams of THC, enough for people to feel the good vibes without becoming too overwhelmingly stoned.
“There’s a bad stigma when it comes to edibles,” he continued, “and that can be changed by proper dosage and educating the public on how to use it and how to apply it to food.”
When considering cooking with cannabis, Trinidad lets the “strain we’re using dictate what the meal is going to be,” pairing other ingredients to the unique flavor profile of the cannabis being featured in that dish.
“I’m all about tasting it and coming up with the dishes from there… We use butter, agave and oil infusions to bring out the properties of the strain.” he said, explaining how the Hawaiian Kush chosen for a recent dinner had notes of pineapple with a mellow finish, pairing well with chicken and pork. Using diverse infusion mediums allows for the flavor of the Kush to be added to dishes in more than one way.
Previous 99th Floor dinner menus have included sumptuous courses including tomato soup with blue cheese cannabis-infused crouton, beet risotto with ingredients from the farmer’s market and lamb cooked sous vide with cannabis oil.
Miguel’s Filipino kilawin recipe is something he’s working on for the next dinner, so be sure to try it yourself! Similar to ceviche, this dish is made by using vinegar and citrus juices to “cook” fresh fish and preserve it for the day. Make sure to use fresh, high-quality seafood from a trusted supplier for your kilawin.
Other exotic ingredients called for in this recipe include suka, which is a sour vinegar made from sugar cane, and calamansi juice, which is a Filipino citrus fruit similar to a cross between a Mandarin orange and a lemon. You can substitute with coconut vinegar, or use more citrus juice if you like your ceviche bright and tangy versus slightly sour.
Along with the “curated cannabis cuisine” he presents with partner Doug Cohen, Trinidad is also embarking on a low-dose edibles company that will produce 5 milligram organic hard candies under the 99th Floor brand.
Cannabis Kilawin (Filipino-style Ceviche)
1 lb fresh tilapia filets or any white fish
1/2 cup suka (cane vinegar available at Asian markets)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup calamansi juice (or use lemon juice)
1 tsp cannabis-infused oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced shallots
1 bird’s eye chili, sliced
Diced mango and jalapeno to garnish
Dice the fish into small pieces and add the vinegar. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Combine the liquid ingredients and blend well. Combine the other ingredients and add to liquid. Drain the fish and add it to the marinade.
Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour and serve with taro chips.