Category: Edibles

story pitch: Ex-Restaurant Critic/Current Cannabis Journalist Reviews Cannabis Restaurant

The world’s first licensed and legal restaurant serving both food and cannabis is open. As a former restaurant critic and current cannabis journalist, I’m uniquely qualified to review it. Here’s my preview:

By Ed Murrieta

The world’s first restaurant selling and serving food and cannabis is open for business. 

Good luck snagging a reservation. 

Lowell Cafe opened in West Hollywood Sept. 24, serving farm-to-fork cuisine and premium California-grown cannabis in a full-service restaurant, retail and lounge environment featuring sommeliers on hand to advise diners on food and cannabis pairings and table-side rollers to ensure the joints you smoke are prepared as well the food you eat.  

A quick caveat about Lowell Cafe’s food: Chef Andrea Drummer’s contemporary California menu contains no cannabis but is loaded flavors that complement and pair with herbal, fruit and earthy flavors in the flower. 

Lowell Cafe also downplays edibles, offering them for sale while advising customers that edibles are best enjoyed by experienced consumers who can tolerate their delayed and potent effects. 

Lowell Cafe emphasizes the enjoyment of cannabis with meals the way people enjoy wine and beer with meals and allows smoking and vaping throughout the restaurant and bar, which serves only non-alcoholic beverages. 

Sommeliers work the dining areas helping, diners choose the best flowers and concentrates to enjoy with Drummer’s fried chicken sandwich, peaches and burrata or sweet potato beignets.

Not only can adults purchase and consume cannabis while also purchasing and consuming food and beverages, diners and smokers can make reservations through Resy, a leading online booking service that handles reservations for top restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC. 

Lowell Cafe’s reservations were booked through October within four hours of initial availability on Sept. 1. 

But you can get in. Bar seating and some dining tables are available for walk-in customers.

Lowell Cafe is open 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily. Last call for cannabis sales is 9:50 p.m. 

Customers who want to smoke or vape after 9:50 p.m. have two options: make  reservations and pre-order cannabis, or bring your own and pay a $20 “tokeage” fee.

Non-smokers, rejoice: While smoking and vaping are allowed thought Lowell Cafe, one patio is reserved for non-smokers.

Lowell Cafe is not the first restaurant open to the public to pair cuisine and cannabis. The Green House Kitchen operated in Amsterdam circa 2015-2016 but under Dutch law could not sell cannabis (BYO was OK) and only allowed vaping, not smoking. 

Lowell Cafe opened under a pilot program by the City of West Hollywood. Like all new restaurants — and like cannabis businesses in particular — Lowell Cafe experienced pre-opening regulatory hassles. 

One kink Lowell Cafe smoothed out actually allows it to serve both food and cannabis.

Customers will receive one check for food and beverages and one check for cannabis. 

The only sign of this point-of-sales system work-around may actually be the most mind-blowing of all for cannabis consumers: 

You pay for your cannabis after you consume it. 

Lowell Cafe

1201 North La Brea West Hollywood
(323) 975-7676
www.LowellCafe.com

West Hollywood Abuzz: American Amsterdam in Southern California

WeHo Radically Mainstreams Cannabis Consumption with Lounges and Restaurants

City Leaders Envision Buzzy Entertainment Enclave Popular with Locals and Tourists Becoming the State’s Legal Cannabis Destination

By Ed Murrieta

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Viewed from Google maps, this buzzy enclave fits in the urban heart of Southern California like a jagged-edged puzzle piece abutting three other famous cities: Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Viewed, smelled and tasted from street-level, West Hollywood fits your imaginary movie images of American Amsterdam.

Nearby Venice may have been up for the part with its picturesque canals and picaresque dispensaries, but West Hollywood, historically friendly to vice and alternative lifestyles, earns today’s leading role in mainstreaming cannabis culture and commerce.

Comprising just 1.8 square miles of Los Angeles County land, West Hollywood is home to 34,000 people and 40 approved cannabis business licenses, from delivery services to dispensaries to lounges to the world’s first licensed and regulated restaurant serving food and cannabis. West Hollywood estimates weed tourism will bring in about $6 million in tax revenue annually.

“We think this will drive more hotel nights in the city, that it will drive more people to come into the city, to go to our restaurants and bars, and patronize our other businesses,” West Hollywood’s weed czar John Leonard said.

Lowell Cafe recently opened, serving non-infused cuisine and menus of cannabis flowers, joints and extracts. Other cannabis restaurants in the works include Budberry, a garden cafe with a koi pond that’s scheduled to open on Valentine’s Day,and Aeon Botanika, a 7,000-square-foot wellness-shop / superfoods cafe / cannabis boutique / Moroccan-themed cannabis tea lounge / cannabis-enhanced acupuncture spa that is scheduled to open in the spring.


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Smell, Taste and Feel Why Cannabis and Tea Inspired By Friendly Farms Are the Perfect Pairing

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“Tea is definitely my choice of beverage while consuming cannabis,” says Classy Hippie’s certified tea sommelier Leo Hickman.

By Ed Murrieta 

Cannabis and coffee.

Yes, it rolls off your tongue. But the classic combination also dries out your tongue, mouth and body.

Conversely, tea hydrates. 

Also, the aromas, flavors and effects of tea complement the aromas, flavors and effects of cannabis. Furthermore, the aromas, flavors and effects of cannabis complement the aromas, flavors and effects of tea. 

“Tea is definitely my choice of beverage while consuming cannabis,” said Leo Hickman, a certified tea sommelier who owns Sacramento’s Classy Hippie Tea Co., where he’s crafted a menu of cannabis-friendly artisanal teas inspired by Friendly Farms’ artisanal cannabis extracts.

Tea contains many of the same terpenes that make up the bouquet of essential oils that give plants, fruits, and herbs from cannabis to lavender to lemons to lemongrass their unique aromas and flavors plus therapeutic benefits including pain relief and anti-inflammation; mood, appetite, sleep and sexual enhancement; and even cancer-fighting properties. 

Coffee also contains terpenes but tea, as a blend of botanicals, contains more.

And since tea has historically been used as a code-word for cannabis, tea is a perfect pairing with cannabis.

From a geeky perspective, tea contains catechins, antioxidant compounds that enhance the endocannabinoid system by binding to cannabinoid receptors in human bodies’ central nervous systems.  The potent catechin antioxidant Epigallocatechin gallate is abundant in green tea.

As part of Friendly Farms’ local business Inspired By program,  Hickman crafted a menu of green, black and herbal teas that pair with Friendly Farms’ True Full Spectrum Liquid Live™ artisanal cannabis extracts. You may purchase and enjoy Friendly Farms and Classy Hippie’s Tea Trios — three green, three black and three herbal teas — by the cup in tore at Classy Hippie Tea Co. or you can buy Classy Hippie’s loose leaf tea online, both for a limited time starting Sept. 1.  Buy Classy Hippie’s Inspired By Friendly Farms green, black and herbal teas and enjoy exclusive savings on Friendly Farms’ products at a nearby cannabis store.

GREEN TEA

Beautiful People
Strawberry & Orange Tea

Nirvana
Goji Berry, Blueberry & Pomegranate Tea

Gen Mai Cha
Japanese Green Tea with Brown Rice

 

BLACK TEA

Sweet Mystique
Ginger, Orange & Peach Tea

Milky Oolong
Vanilla Bean & Oolong Tea

Fireflies @ Night
Lavender & Lychee Tea

 

HERBAL TEA

Abeula’s Love
Hibiscus, Lemon & Lemongrass Herbal Tea

Latin Nights
Orange Peel & Pepper Rooibos Tea

Vanilla Horchata
Cinnamon, Almond & Vanilla Bean Rooibos Tea

Watch this video and find out why Hickman says, “Tea is definitely my choice of beverage while consuming cannabis.”

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FIND CLASSY HIPPIE: Classy Hippie Tea Co.: 3226 Broadway, Sacramento; (916) 235-3243.

FOLLOW CLASSY HIPPIE: @ClassyHippieTeaCo Instagram and @ClassyHippieTea Twitter.

Hungry for Hemp

Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune, Jan. 12, 2005

downloadBY ED MURRIETA

When the pipe dreams of food entrepreneurs, hemp activists and libertarian farmers come true, America’s fruited plains will be ripe with emerald waves of industrial hemp, a plant deeply rooted in the nation’s fabric and politics.

In this imagined world, we’ll eat a perfectly balanced, scientifically documented source of the essential fatty acids we need to keep our arteries supple and our brains finely tuned, in consumer foods from hemp tofu to hemp ice cream. Never mind debunked claims of positive drug tests.

Hemp will rotate with corn and soybean crops, boosting domestic farming, processing and manufacturing as the United States joins industrialized economies from Germany to China in hemp cultivation.

Before American consumers get a mainstream hit of hemp, however, some hemp activists insist the ultimate shift in consciousness must occur: The United States government must end its prohibition against marijuana, hemp’s heady cousin.

These entangled political, market and consumer issues have bummed hemp’s high hopes of becoming the greatest thing since soy.

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