“Your turn,” I took the freshly rolled joint from Saray’s hand and took in a deep drag, the lingering taste of a burger still on my palate, now joined by the sweet smoke of Chiquita Banana kush. I exhaled a dense cloud toward the ceiling and watched the ribbons of smoke twist and funnel through the open slats, catching the rays of sunlight that filtered into the dim restaurant. I passed the joint along, ate some french fries, and took another bite of the cheeseburger, “let’s roll another.”
I was getting baked and eating a meal at the same time in a restaurant on the corner of La Brea and Lexington Ave. It took me straight back to my first hit of weed 10 years prior, in the backseat of Toyota Corolla in a suburb just out of LA. Only instead of being consumed by paranoia about passing cop cars, I was chilled out, eyeing the mountain of freshly ground weed that lay on a small plate near a friend’s turkey club wrap.
Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, is America’s first legal weed cafe. It’s the only restaurant in the country where guests can openly smoke and purchase fresh cannabis while enjoying farm-to-table cuisine. The food at Lowell Cafe — which I’ll be calling it for convenience — was developed by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Andrea Drummer, who specializes in pairing the aromatic characteristics of weed terpenes with the flavors of food. The restaurant is connected to the Lowell Herb Company, and each joint, THC-capsule, and flower jar on the cafe’s cannabis menu comes straight from Lowell Farms. It’s, as the venture capitalists love to say, “vertically integrated.”
Right now, the concept is getting the sort of hype in LA that “first of its kind” ideas often do — a line of eager guests hoping to score a table wraps itself around the restaurant on a daily basis. But is the buzz sustainable? Is a restaurant where you can smoke weed and eat food out in the open something anyone really craves, or are we all just easily charmed by the next big thing?