You might remember Luke Reyes from Culver City’s the Corner Door or the Houston brothers’ Butchers & Barbers in Hollywood. There was also that 2013 episode of Chopped, where Reyes transformed a difficult list of viewer-submitted ingredients—including the pungent durian fruit, cheese curls, canned chicken and cottage cheese—into the winning meal. Yet it was his participation on another show that laid the foundation for Reyes’ latest culinary adventure. Cooking on High requires chefs to incorporate a versatile ingredient in its various forms: cannabis.
Reyes has since launched La Hoja (translation: “the leaf”), a new catering and events company that specializes in weed-infused dinners. If it sounds like it can’t get better, there’s more great news: the first open-to-the-public dinner is Saturday, November 11, complete with music, art and cocktails.
Given that California opted to legalize recreational marijuana, we’re apt to see a lot of weed-centric dinners and other cannabis events in 2018, when shops are anticipated to begin selling cannabis to customers without a medical card. In case you’re new to the game, La Hoja isn’t intended just for hardcore stoners. Sure, the menu includes tasting dishes such as Hama Hama oysters with a cannabis-infused citrus vinegar and Serrano mignonette, and grilled fennel and chili sausage with marijuana-tinged mustard sauce—but guests shouldn’t expect to get totally blazed.
“Usually, when people think of edibles, they think of things that are a little too potent,” Reyes says. “But we wanted to make sure that everything is very mild so that people aren’t overwhelmed.”
This means “microdosing,” which involves eating small-dose products. Some, like Kiva’s Petra Mints, contain as little as two-and-a-half milligrams of THC, the psychotropic component of cannabis. For accuracy, La Hoja partnered with cannabis company CO2 Clear, which uses extraction to derive THC oil from the plant; Reyes says they’re able to measure the THC content right down to the portion size of each dish, and that each plate will only contain about two-and-a-half to four milligrams each. The average guest may consume 17 to 20 milligrams in a single evening, but can indulge based on their own tolerance.
“The first-time user and someone who uses [cannabis] frequently can both find a way to get something out of it,” Reyes says. For what it’s worth, High Times suggests newbies start with 10mg or less, increasing the amount only every two hours.
Tomorrow’s event, which runs $80 per person, also features an open bar with beer, wine and infused cocktails—most notably an old-fashioned made with a CBD-infused honey syrup. CBD does not have the same psychotropic effects as THC, so while the cocktails may get you drunk, they won’t get you high.
“Saturday’s event is about food and flavor, with the cannabis infusions an added bonus to the evening’s festivities,” says event coordinator Courtney Nichols, who’ll be overseeing La Hoja guests’ experience. “Luke Reyes’ is a multifaceted chef whose expertise of pairings promises to make La Hoja a game-changer in the about-to-explode arena of weed dinners.”
Guests don’t learn the exact location of each dinner until they purchase a ticket, but we can tell you that tomorrow’s event takes place at a contemporary art gallery in West Hollywood. In addition to the art already available for perusal, there will be live music, DJs, projections and art, plus plenty of opportunities for social interaction. It won’t be “people just standing around eating oysters and being high,” Reyes promises. “It’s a whole experience.” Future dinners—which Reyes hope to throw once or twice a month after the holidays—may take place in other venues, but will always involve a full, fun night.
La Hoja’s inaugural public dinner is tomorrow, November 11 at 9pm. Tickets are $80 and may be reserved here. Guests must be 21, and should bring along their rec card (at least for events through 2017).