At a recent gathering of High NY, the city’s largest cannabis meetup, guest speaker Chef Miguel Trinidad had a simple starter question for the racially, sexually, and generationally diverse audience: “How many of you here have had a bad experience on edibles before?”
Nearly everyone at Impact Hub NYC, the Manhattan co-working space where High NY congregates monthly, raised their hand.
As fun and relaxing as edibles can be, many cannabis enthusiasts accidentally overdo them—even the most knowledgeable advocates. The trickiness of edibles is, in part, why Michael Zaytsev, organizer of the meetup and one of the pioneers of NYC’s marijuana movement, invited Chef Trinidad and his business partner, cannabis expert Doug Cohen, to speak to the group. The pair recently began a joint venture in curated cannabis cuisine, which they call 99th Floor. Combining Trinidad’s cooking prowess and Cohen’s cannabis knowledge, they’ve hosted a number of specially formulated, coursed-out meals that utilize cannabis strains to enhance both the mood of their guests and the flavor of their dishes.
As anyone who’s ever ingested more THC than they should have can attest, dose is key. Trinidad and Cohen are careful not to overdose their food, focusing primarily on the flavor combinations in playful concoctions like OJ Kush Vinaigrette and Sweet and Sour Diesel Chicken and allowing guests to control their bodily intake.
“We micro-dose between the different courses,” said Cohen. “Between all of the courses you’re going to get 10–15 milligrams, and then Chef will come up with a way to allow you to up-dose. One time we had a 28-day, dry-aged rib eye and he had a mole sauce that was infused on the side. You didn’t need the mole sauce, but if you wanted to up-dose you could add a bit of it for more of a kick. If you wanted to take a step back, you could leave it off.”
Much like the High NY meetups, which serve the social and educational needs of the local cannabis community, people from all walks of life and all levels of cannabis familiarity are interested in Trinidad and Cohen’s private, fine-dining experience. Some diners have never even tried cannabis before, which is why guests are in control of dosing themselves, to ensure that everyone has the experience that they are personally looking for.
For those High NYers seeking a deeper understanding of edibles, Cohen discussed not only 99th Floor’s menu and extraction process but also the differences in THC content when you smoke (Delta 9 THC) and ingest (11-Hydroxy-THC), as well as the vast array of terpenes that give their dishes unique flavors.
“Terpenes are the magical ingredient in cannabis,” explained Cohen. “They’ve found over 140 terpenes in cannabis so far. They’re what give cannabis its smell and taste. They exist in strawberries, grapes, coffee; when you’re drinking wine and it has a note of raspberries, it’s because the terpenes in raspberries are in the wine you’re drinking. Same with cannabis. Cannabis is one of the most terpene-rich plants in the world.”
Thanks to organizations like High NY and businesses like 99th Floor, enthusiasts are learning more about consumption and other cannabis issues while also experiencing the sense of community that isn’t always easy to find in states that favor anti-marijuana legislation. Find the best meetups near you. Even if local laws don’t allow you to partake during meetings, progressive thinkers like these in the cannabis space will leave a good taste in your mouth.