Pulitzer winning LA Times restaurant critic Johnathan Gold recently attended a marijuana “herb” dinner at a secret “pop-up” restaurant, and writes about his experience. It is an entertaining read, partly because, if you have met him, you can’t picture it being something he’d bother with. From the convoluted application process, to the dinner itself, the story turned out to be less about getting high, and more about blending the herb with other ingredients to create a harmony.
Nobody quite knew what to expect, which is why people were prodding the modish dish of cured duck breast, raw yellowtail and compressed watermelon, trying to figure out whether the cannabis was involved in the melon’s marinade or in the garnish of chopped herbs, and where it might be hiding in an arrangement of papaya, roasted partridge, braised wild boar and baby ginseng.
Quenioux is a fine chef, but you would not be interested, I would imagine, in the Chinese-style composition of spareribs and pork belly cooked with angelica root and goji berries — you can find that in Monterey Park. Nor would you be interested in the galantine of black-skinned silky chicken with pink grapefruit segments if not for the garnish of fresh cannabis leaf. “Don’t eat that,” someone said. “Fresh leaves sometimes have tiny needles sticking out of them, like stinging nettles.”