On Monday night, Herbal Notes, a California-based supper club that serves cannabis-infused meals, held its first pop-up in Chicago. Most attendees had their medical marijuana cards. Those that didn’t were served THC-free meals, but were encouraged to participate in the conversation. The dinner is six-courses long and costs $125. While the next date isn’t set, those interested can sign up to be in the know when the next one becomes available. Cannabis is currently decriminalized in Chicago, with a functional medical marijuana program. Many hope this is the road to legalization in Illinois. This dinner was held at a loft-type space, but expect locations to be secret and only given out on the day of the event. The Herbal Notes team works to make the experience private, safe, and fun for everyone. A few other local chefs have stated their work on edibles (Mindy Segal and Iliana Regan), but with a dinner like this, hopefully more Chicago chefs will follow as the city’s marijuana space continues to grow. Herbal Notes plans on bringing more of these pop-ups to Chicago and here is what to expect based on what happened at the first one:
Chicago’s cannabis community wants a wide reach
At the first dinner, most attendees were somehow embedded in the Chicago cannabis community — whether it was on an advocacy or a startup level. There was a chef from Pearl2O, a THC and Cannabis-infused water company and a marketing advocate at The Healing Clinic - THC. Chef and Herbal Notes founder Manny Mendoza said that the guest list also included local educators and cannabis event organizers. While the dinner is open to the public, attendees must sign up through a website and every sign up is reviewed by the organizers, meaning everything, down to the people sitting at the table, are curated to create an inviting and welcoming space to learn more about cannabis. For those hoping to bump their name to the top, a passion for learning about cannabis and the surrounding community are helpful, along with a medical card.
The food is infused with low dosages of cannabis
Each dish on the six-course menu is infused with approximately 3.5 milligrams of THC, using infused salts, peppers, oils, and vinegars. That said, most of the diners bring their own medical marijuana supply and the atmosphere is friendly to sharing: If a person wanted to get very high at one of these dinners, it would be fairly simple. There’s plenty of conversation about strains and their various effects. Diners here are eager to learn and share information.
The mood is incredibly laid back
In order to ensure the location remains a secret, it’s disclosed at a meeting spot just prior to the dinner. Aside from great attention to secrecy, the dinner is laid back. There’s an open bar with tequila infused with CBD from Cannaraw in the cocktails. The entire experience lasts roughly four hours. Between courses, diners are encouraged to speak openly about their experiences in the cannabis community, providing a chance for strangers to connect.
The menu is extremely detailed, but catered to those who are in the know about marijuana
Carnitas come in the form of a taco with mole, pickled onions, quesillo, puffed wild rice and NYC sour diesel. The latter is a marijuana strain, and a prospective diner may want to brush up on marijuana strains a little bit before heading to the dinner. However, with plenty of people around deeply embedded in the community, there’s always someone nearby in the know. There’s a goodie box for attendees that, for this meal, included infused salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Other dishes included a swordfish ceviche with apple, tomato, nuts, and a watermelon haze keef. The dinner was topped off with a composed dessert plate with chocolate soil, mango sorbet infused with blue dream. While the meal is definitely catered to those who have a handle on what’s going on in the cannabis community, it’s comfortable enough for someone new to start learning and give those in the community a space to connect and enjoy an infused meal.