A 420 Foodie’s Dream
Story & Photos by Laura Matsie
The Cannaisseur dinner series, hosted by Chef Coreen Carroll and her fiancé Ryan Bush, celebrates both the relationship between cannabis and food, and the cannabis community itself.
Coreen and Ryan have been creating these events for two years, and Cannaisseur will celebrate its “Canniversary” at a special event this May! Chef Coreen is not shy about her inspiration for these events, and describes herself as a “total pothead” while smiling and telling me that she is high right now. As a veteran to the pop-up business, Coreen expertly and seamlessly rolls out course after course of culinary artistry.
The Cannaisseur Series is about so much more than the food. Ryan and
Coreen cultivate an event that is more of a community than anything else. Their expert hospitality, combined with Coreen’s fabulous cooking skills, makes you feel as if you are attending a dinner party at a good friend’s house — if you happen to have a good friend who is a super talented chef that is.
Tickets to an event will run you about $129, and if you are lucky enough to score one, you’ll receive directions to the secret dining location about 24 hours in advance. The evening starts when you walk in the door of an inconspicuous warehouse space tucked away in San Francisco. When you open the door, you’re greeted with a THC infused mocktail to sip on while you explore the various displays brought by event sponsors.
At the April Spring Equinox dinner, diners sipped on elderflower hibiscus spritzers infused with 5 mgs of THC, while enjoying offerings from Humboldt Legends, Défoncé, and Legion of the Bloom. Humboldt Legends provided samples of their Sour Tangie strain; Défoncé offered tastings of their many infused chocolates; and Legion of the Bloom brought a vape bar selection for diners to sample.
As the guests mingle and drink, Coreen sends out her THC-infused appetizers. All the edibles served at the event are clearly labeled, and the wonderful Cannaisseur team is always on-hand to answer any questions. Guests snacked on crostinis with fava bean puree and pickled shallots, and endive cups with pickled kumquats, goat cheese, pistachios and honey. Each appetizer clocked in at 2 mgs of THC each, and was totally delicious. The crostini had a more earthy flavor while the endive cup was bright tangy and sweet. These appetizers are also the last part of the meal that is infused with active THC.
During the cocktail hour, I start to realize that many of the guests had been to a Cannaisseur event before! Several people who returned exclaimed over the great vibe at the events, praised Coreen’s great food, and gushed over how much fun they have when they attend.
Ryan and Coreen have created a space where like-minded individuals can come together to experience both new and familiar cannabis products, and try some truly amazing cannabis infused foods.
After about an hour, Ryan announces that dinner is ready, and the guests make their way into the beautifully prepared dining area. It’s this part of the event where the hosts’ hospitality really shine. After they introduce the whole Cannaisseur team, they ask all the guests to stand up and introduce themselves to the room. It’s a fun exercise that creates a communal feeling of camaraderie. Guests chat with each other across the table and new friends are made. Further adding to this feeling, Ryan explains that the courses are paired with a selection of pre-rolled joints, which are to be shared with the person across the table from you.
The first course: a cream of artichoke bisque topped with a drizzle of canna-leaf oil, made from fresh cannabis leaves from the hosts’ garden. The leaves and oil were left raw before they were macerated into oil. As a result, this brought the bright, green, slightly grassy flavor of cannabis leaves to the dish, without any psychoactive effects.
Following the first course, we all enjoyed the first of our joints – a Sour Banana Sherbet generously supplied by Humboldt Legends. The flower selected is paired with the experience and flavor profile of each course. A sativa joint is served after the first course to elevate the mood and the energy in the room.
The second course included a canna-leaf Parisian gnocchi in a brown butter sauce, served with fiddleheads and a twenty-four month Parmesan Reggiano. The gnocchi were made with a pâte à choux dough, leaving them incredibly soft and pillowy. The dough also contained minced non-psychoactive cannabis leaves for a very subtle cannabis flavor in the dish. The bright green fiddleheads and the cannabis leaf gnocchi dough paired perfectly with decadent brown butter and sharp, nutty parmesan cheese.
After the second course, when the effect of the infused appetizers started to set in, we light up the second joint. It features Nubia, a CBD dominant strain from Humboldt Legends, which mellows the room and mitigates some of the effects of THC.
For the third course, Coreen and her team prepared Madeira sous vide quail with CBD-infused pea puree and yellow foot mushrooms. The sous vide cooking technique left the quail incredibly tender and moist, while the Maderia gave it a soft, sweet and fruity note that played perfectly with the pea puree and mushrooms. For our last joint of the evening, Humboldt Legends provided an indica dominant hybrid strain that relaxed the room and got everyone in the mood for some dessert!
A chocolate sour cream cake layered with a cannabis and chai flavored quark (a thicker German style yogurt) was served for dessert. The quark was mixed with non-active Girl Scout Cookies flowers. The cake was topped with orange-infused whipped cream, and my personal favorite touch of the evening, a cardamom candied cannabis leaf. This dessert was beyond rich, chocolaty, creamy, and bursting with the full spicy flavors of chai and cardamom.
Guests ended the evening with full bellies, good company and experiences they hope to repeat. The hosts, Ryan and Coreen, wrapped up the dinner with the welcoming vibe they maintained throughout the night. Before leaving, every guest received a gift bag, which came complete with gifts from the event’s sponsors and a special handmade edible from Coreen. I understand why Cannaisseur has so many repeat customers. I know that I’ll be back.
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