This summer has been blossoming with cannabis cuisines all over California. It’s no surprise that Sonoma County is joining in and bringing the wine to the table. I recently attended a warm summer night’s tasting event hidden away down a farm road in the backwoods of Sonoma County. Ellipsis Wines poured glasses of Rose of Pinot Meunier and Petite Sirah which were paired with TSO Sonoma’s MindFul Vape pen, dabs by AYA Sonoma Cannabis Co., low dose Fruit Gelees and chocolates by Garden Society and infused olive oil, honey and CBD capsules from new comers LUVITOL and HerbaBuena’s Biodynamic cannabis. However, the highlight of the tasting was the tiny tasty and delectably delicious appetizers by the Cannaisseur Series Chef, Coreen Carroll and her host, partner and by the time this is printed, husband Ryan Bush.
You instantly fall in love with, not only every bit of food that you put into your mouth, but Coreen and Ryan steal your hearts and immediately you see why they do what they do and how effortlessly they seem to do it and do it so very well.
As the sun falls behind the rolling hills and the light begins to fade from the grape vines, trays of house fermented coconut yogurt with candy honeycomb, drizzled with THC olive oil and fennel pollen alongside eggplant caponatina on crostini begin to find their way into your mouth. These tease your tastebuds and your mouth cries out for more. Two of the larger appetizers were the poppy seed chicken salad served in a hand-rolled bamboo cone with strawberries and greek yogurt. Each appetizer is lightly dosed with THC, THCa or CBD to enhance the overall evening’s vibe. An absolute favorite was the gruyere gourgere sandwich with mortadella, heirloom tomatoes, provolone and arugula. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who found these grubby little sandwiches addictive. As soon as they landed on the serving trays they were quickly devoured.
There was no shortage of sweet treats to tantalize the senses as well. Nugtella deviled strawberries with THC hazelnut ganache, alongside a hazelnut crepe with CBD ganache and a cherry on top. A full cup of peach rose THCa streusel with cherry cheesecake whip just about sends you over the top. And to close out the night, black pepper strawberry pavlova with greek yogurt whip, balsamic glaze and a candied canna leaf explodes and melts into your mouth. The sour combination of the balsamic and strawberries is quickly covered with a layer of sweet creamy meringue lava.
I was able to take a moment to speak with Ryan as the evening was coming together. The Cannaisseur Pop Up Dinner Series started in 2015. An underground supper club, which feels like the new wave adult dinner rave for the sophisticated stoners. Still underground, you say? Indeed. The location is always kept secret until the day of the event. Cannabis is still federally illegal and with the amount of money that goes into producing an event like Cannaisseurs’, you don’t want to be raided. Although the Ellipsis Elevated Evening of pairing was a great event, Ryan assured me he can one up it, and invited me to their last Cannaisseur dinner of the Summer in San Francisco.
The Cannaisseur’s Summer Night Dinner is a four-course dining event that is one part infused delectables and one part community. Coreen and Ryan include local cannabis companies to showcase, sample and discuss their products with the attendees. The closer for the season brought such companies as Kin Slips 5mg THC sublingual dissolvable strips which blends cannabinoids, terpenes and natural ingredients for a discreet and reliable experience. For those with a sweet tooth, Mind Tricks served up chunks of their tasty toffee and the activist brand, Jetty Extracts ran the vape bar with selections of sativa, hybrid and indica strains such as Purple Tangie, Blue Royal and Goo Berry.
The feel of community also comes out with those attending as you fall into multiple conversations with those seated around you. Before the food is delivered to your table, Ryan begins the evening by going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves.
Then the first course is served. A bowl of Summer Heirloom THCa infused Gazpacho is placed before you. A swirl of house-made Creme Fraiche circles the top layer and adds to the richness of the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers of the gazpacho.
Another community friend of the Cannaisseur Series was Lowell Herb Co. Lowell provided organic and pesticide-free joints that were paired between courses and their first contribution was The Creativity Sativa which was 19.9% THC and definitely elevated the vibes in the room to a low laughing roar.
The second course is a course that should be served with every meal anytime of day or night. The White Sea Bass Ceviche with diced white onion, tomatillos and perfectly ripened avocado, with just the right amount of citrus to bring out the avocado and sea bass. This dish quickly quieted the room and laughter was quickly replaced with moans of pleasure.
Lowell Herb Co. had the perfect pre-rolls for this occasion. The Happy Hybrid with 20.0% THC made their way around the tables. Now by this time some were feeling the effects of their high, so Kin Slip’s passed out their Mango & Turmeric 10mg CBD strips to help counter the THC high some were feeling.
The third and main course showed how very generous The Cannaisseurs are with their portions. A Sous Vide Duck Breast on a layer of purple cauliflower puree covered in a CBD cherry glaze and draped with a sprinkle of sprouts. You realize that this event is not a tasting, but a full meal with each course standing on its own as a complete dish. This was the first time I truly felt like the cost of the event is outweighed by not only the quality of the food and experience, but also by the abundance that you receive. The perfectly sous vide cooked duck breast was a meal in itself. The dark rich meat was brought to perfection with the cherry glaze, which takes Coreen fifteen hours to complete.
The final flower pairing for the evening comes before dessert. The Peaceful Indica is the highest THC strain of the night coming in at 23.4%. A heady flower and an excellent choice before the final fourth course.
A lemon olive oil Cake with Riesling poached plums, almond streusel, with a creamy Greek yogurt whip cream and topped with candied orange and canna leaves. The lemon cake is the size of a large piece of pie, yet looks can be deceiving as its density is pillowy and cloud like. The sweet almond and tart plums only enhance the cake’s flavor and with the overwhelming sense of satisfaction, you realize the evening is coming to a close.
There’s no doubt Coreen and Ryan have a bright future. Not only will they be bringing in 2018 as husband and wife, but Coreen also has a cookbook deal and they plan on bringing The Cannaisseur Series to Southern California. So follow these two on social media to find out when they will be in your neck of woods.
Gift bags are picked up on the way out and everyone says goodbye to their new friends. A highly recommended dining experience that everyone says as they leave, “See you at the next one!”