New York has practically everything I need to research our monthly Masters of Social Gastronomy lectures. Weird meat? Chinatown sells alligator. Fake meat? Chinatown sells vegetarian alligator. Sweeteners? Sweet n' Low is made a half-mile from my house.
But researching this month's Masters of Social Gastronomy has put on full display a culinary weak point of NYC: cannabis edibles.
Unlike our friends to the west, where an alt-weekly can post reviews of weed-stuffed peanut butter cups, the East Coast has not been so quick to embrace the quasi-legalization of marijuana. As a result, most of my fieldwork has been reading forums populated by 14 year olds trying to make pot brownies in the microwave.
Oh, and about the time that Roberta's, the critically acclaimed two-star Bushwick pizza joint, treated former Vice editor Jesse Pearson to a three-course weed tasting menu.
Catering chef Ryan Rice began our meal with Long Island bluefish, accompanied by a weed yogurt sauce and a salad of Roberta's-grown greens and blood oranges, dressed with marijuana oil and dotted with housemade pumpernickel-marijuana croutons. After scaling and boning, Rice had seasoned the fish with salt, crushed fennel, Meyer lemon zest, marijuana oil, and Sour Diesel kief. (S.D. is a sativa-dominant strain known for its consciousness-expanding properties, and kief consists of the resin heads of marijuana buds—the pure stuff that really gets you high.) Once seasoned, the fish—cooking pan and all—was enclosed in plastic wrap and blasted with two thirty-minute sessions of vaporized Sour Diesel fumes. For an extra flavor kick, Rice then fogged the cuts of fish with a bit of hickory smoke before searing them in a pan.