Cannabis dinners: Getting high on a full course meal

Co-owners Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants.

Co-owners Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants.

By Cristina Dc Pastor

There are two ways to enjoy cannabis, declared restaurateur and Filipino food innovator Nicole Ponseca: One is to smoke it, the other to make it part of food, which means consuming it as soup, meat entree or dessert.

With that eye opener, Nicole explained to The FilAm the novel ways cannabis is being resurrected in some parts of the country as “edibles.” She recalled a time in history when alcohol was regarded as illegal and therefore not available for manufacture or sale to the public. But intensifying outcry moved Congress to pass an amendment repealing the Prohibition law. State after state began to end Prohibition from the 1930s into the 1960s with Mississippi said to the last state to end the ban.

Nowadays, exponents of cannabis are hoping there would be sustained campaign calling for the legalization of marijuana loud enough for Congress to heed the message and declare it safe if used responsibly and in moderation.

“They’re hoping history will repeat itself with cannabis,” said Nicole, co-owner of Maharlika Filipino Moderno and Jeepney Filipino Gastropub in the East Village.

If that were to happen cannabis may well revolutionize America’s culinary culture and eating lifestyle.

“It’s the first of its kind,” Nicole said of the series of underground cannabis dinners hosted by Miguel Trinidad, executive chef and her partner in Maharlika and Jeepney.

“Cannabis’s entry (into the edible category) is sure to spark a conversation.”

The last dinner organized by Miguel’s company called 1994, and his business partners in their cannabis venture was in California. It is one of few states where possession of pot is considered a minor offense carrying a measly $100 fine. In many parts of the country, cannabis is still considered a prohibited drug because of its potentially adverse effect on the mind and the body. Marijuana use “in severe cases takes the form of addiction,” according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Recent studies have shown how the marijuana herb may have healing properties. It has been known to treat ailments, and is especially noted for being an effective pain killer. According to the American Cancer Society, “A number of small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy.” Studies have also shown how smoked marijuana has “helped improve food intake in HIV patients.”

“Pot brownies” are the traditional ways cannabis has been incorporated in food, said Nicole. But that is slowly changing. Marijuana extracts have been processed into canna oil and canna butter products that are slowly making their way into household kitchens. In his dinner, Miguel served a full course meal that included tomato soup, Greenmarket salad, beet risotto over rack of lamb, and date bread pudding for dessert.

Nicole made the distinction between the two popular types of cannabis. Sativa is said to be hallucinogenic and gives the user a “head high,” while imbibing Indica has a calming effect resulting in a “body high.”

A full-course meal can give one a buzz, said Nicole. “Not quite a high, but you will feel a slight effect.”

She added, noting the financial equation behind the growing interest in cannabis. “It’s a financial question not a health question. Washington State is showing positive results in taxation on marijuana sales. And big pharma now is interested in its take. How can they have their take?”

What’s for dinner? Pot in appetizer, entrée and dessert

What’s for dinner? Pot in appetizer, entrée and dessert

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