BY ELISE MCDONOUGH
Somewhere between the gorgeous desert sunset, the cannabis-infused cocktails, the chinese tea time with a guy named ‘Snakes’, the artisanal weed tastings, the sound telescope, and the rabbit ragu — it dawned on me: “I am not at another boring weed dinner.”
No longer a secret ingredient, cannabis has lately become the guest of honor at private dinners across the state of California. Top chefs now openly talk of elevating stoner cuisine. High-minded gastronomists seek new and inventive ways to infuse the herb into all manner of dishes. And there’s even a hit television series, Viceland’s Bong Appétit, celebrating the endless possibilities of cooking with the Golden State’s most beloved produce (and largest cash crop).
As the author of a best-selling cannabis cookbook, I’ve watched this scene evolve from an underground phenomenon into a hot new trend in the culinary world. And the field is starting to get crowded. A few years ago, simply having the gumption to pull off a weed dinner drew intense interest, not just from pot-friendly foodies, but from the press. But now to stand out, would-be weed impresarios must reach a little—forgive the pun—higher.
And so, to see what the next level in cannabis fine-dining might look like, I signed on to attend “Moonlit Moveable Feast,” the first in a series of three-course dinners held in the heart of the Mojave desert and timed to the full moon. Organized by Barbie Sommars, co-founder of Mary Jane University, and hosted at Furst World—an art gallery, and creative retreat in Joshua Tree—the event promised ‘a feast for all senses.’ Tickets for the June 10 extravaganja cost $150 and were available to those with a valid medical cannabis recommendation in California.
“I’m going to highlight the incredible beauty of the high desert, and feature the artists and artisans right in my own backyard,” Sommars told me on the phone, a few days before the dinner. “I want people to experience this plant in a truly inspiring setting.”