Since the legalization of cannabis in 2015, entertaining in Washington State has rapidly evolved to include cannabis inspired events. Due to prohibition of public consumption, people have found unique ways to partake of cannabis legally. Private, in-home parties lightly skirt the law so guests can use their favorite cannabis products.
I launched Ettalew’s Edibles in 2009 and have been present for the evolution of cannabis from medical to legal. Having witnessed the landscape change from something one consumed in private, to outdoor festivals with public consumption, I have eagerly anticipated cannabis dinner parties, where curators of food and beverage carefully match spices, flavors, and textures with terpenes and cannabinoids to create a mind-blowing experience.
One such dinner was coordinated by a team comprised of Derek Simcik, executive chef of Scout at the Thompson Hotel Seattle, Silas Manlove, beverage manager of the Thompson Hotel Seattle, and from Lux Pot Shop, owner AC Franks and product buyer Shea Hynes. While these gentlemen were the sommeliers of food, beverage, and cannabis, the staff at the dispensary and the restaurant provided amazing support that enabled the evening to run smoothly, with great attention to detail.
We were welcomed into a stunning private residence just a block from Puget Sound. A long dining room table stood in the middle of the front room, decorated with fresh cannabis fan leaves and about 20 place settings. The space was carefully curated in order for the guests to learn about cannabis while enjoying a highly cultivated dining experience.
Guests arrived as the light from the setting sun filled the room, casting a beautiful glow on the gold and black details of the table. Those in attendance were from diverse backgrounds and occupations, which made for interesting conversation.
We inspected the menu cards, which described each locally sourced, farm-to-table gourmet course and its cannabis pairing. The menu’s wide variety roved from the garden to the seas, to the forest, to green grass pastures, and then into wildflower fields.
Two things of note: rather than infusing the food, the hosts chose locally grown, state-regulated cannabis, and created mini-joints to pair with each course. Second, there was very little alcohol served. Most of the drinks were “mocktails” which allowed the true sensation of how the cannabis flowed with the meal.
The highlights of the evening were how Chef Derek, Mixologist Silas, and weed expert Shea paired their areas of expertise to create an evocative journey of the senses. We started with a high-CBD strain which created a wonderful calming body high to begin the six-course dinner. From there, things picked up dramatically, as we smoked a lovely high-sativa hybrid—Strawberry Cough from Lux White. Silas paired the skunky berry notes of this strain with a basil, pink and black peppercorn mocktail. With a fresh candied strawberry topper, this drink was a favorite beverage of the night! The berry terpenes in the cannabis paired exquisitely with the first course of scallops dressed with apples, anise, and uni froth.
The next course stood out as a favorite, starting with Gorilla Glue #4, a strong hybrid. This was paired with a Slipseed Spice 94 mock martini to complement the earthy, pine notes of the strain. Chef Derek created a little Pacific Northwest forest on each plate with morels, lardo, potatoes, and herbs, which was as beautiful as it was delicious. The textures and tastes in each bite excited the senses.
From there, the journey continued to another sativa high, as guests dove into the sea with Chef Derek’s fresh halibut cheeks. By this point, my notes indicate I was quite high! My senses were bursting from every direction. The conversations, the flavors, and the copious amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids was purely blissful, and two more courses were yet to be presented.
Fast-forward to the finale: a mouth-orgasmic strawberry tea sorbet on a bed of berry compote with strawberry pearls and a pretty lemon lace spun-sugar bowl, which conjured up the image of cannabis smoke. The floral, fruity flavors and multiple textures were a wonderful finale for the evening.
The curators of this event did an amazing job of pairing the cannabis with the plates and beverages. The euphoric ebb and flow of the cannabinoids and terpenes paired with the various flavors of the food made for a delightful magic carpet ride of the Pacific Northwest. For the first event of its kind in Seattle, the organizers set the bar very high.