“The Moonlit Moveable Feast takes place, first of all, only on a full moon, on a Saturday, outdoors in the legendary pastel colored desert of Joshua Tree,” says High Dining’s Chief Experience Curator Barbie Sommars. “The moon picks the dates and we truly only have the opportunity to have two a year.”
The full moon is just the icing on this multi-tiered cake featuring layers of visual delights, intellectual conversations, flavorful food, and captivating music that comprises Mary Jane University’s Moonlit Moveable Feast, aka High Dining.
“We say the feast is ‘moveable’ because the four courses take place in different areas of the venue,” says Sommars. “The ‘feast’ is meticulously art directed in every detail and intends to indulge all your senses from the moment you arrive - glassblowers, performers, artists, installations and musicians, all in a venue famous for its lavish eclecticism.”
To start my experience in April, I was treated to a glass of “Pink Moon” Champagne enhanced by a low dose, 10mg CBD sugar cube from B Edibles that is dropped to the bottom of the flute. Every element had a unique cannabis product - cannabis sugar cubes, cannabis olive oil, cannabis sparkling soda, and cannabis mints.
Next is the Sunset Course, a bite size, carry-with-you-as-you-explore amuse bouche of a mushroom garlic cashew cream and leek tart with a herb salad, beet, red cabbage and chives sprouts with a 2mg drizzle of Pot d’Huile (strain-specific cannabis-infused EVOO).
I’m not a connoisseur of cannabis, so I come to this dinner as a curious bystander willing to participate. There’s no funny taste to anything; the cannabis is added seamlessly to each course. The table is set like a well thought out wedding — angelic and dreamy — with each place setting more unique than the next complete with a glass pipe from sponsors Empire Glassworks and Smoke Cartel.
Each seat at the table received an original handblown glass pipe from sponsors Empire Glassworks and Smoke Cartel. Here Stephen Hubbell does a glassblowing demo.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GREEN GODDESS PHOTOGRAPHY
Los Angeles-based chef Sabrina Eustis prepares the cannabis-infused courses for the evening.
The food is prepared like a work of art by Los Angeles-based chef Sabrina Eustis, who married cannabis infusions into each of her dishes including the next two courses — market greens with roasted citrus marinated candy beets, citrus segments, shaved beets, pickled red onions, hazelnuts, mint and citrus cannabis vinaigrette made with Awakened Topicals (full spectrum raw cannabis infused olive oil) and a slow roasted salmon with pine pollen, hempseed, basil and raw cannabis leaf pesto over amaranth, quinoa risotto and spring vegetables with a pistachio chive crema.
We are joined by a cannabis “sommelier” who gives us a brief education on pairing cannabis with food. A tray is passed around with a ball of bud in a shot glass which we are to use to “pack our pipe”. Oh jeez. I didn’t even know how to do this. So here I am, many decades later copying the girl to my right, watching closely as she packs her pipe. Then the lighter flicks on and you take a hit. I cough, of course - rookie mistake - but I swiftly coat my throat with another bite of the salad, the cannabis-infused olive oil calming my tickling esophagi.
Stargazer Course: Slow roasted salmon with pine pollen, hempseed, basil and raw cannabis leaf pesto over amaranth, quinoa risotto and spring vegetables with a pistachio chive crema.
The four courses is finished by a light and flavorful dessert of a lemon and poppyseed cakelette infused with CBD sugar cubes from B Edibles.
“High Dining takes a refined approach to cannabis-infused cuisine and creates low-dose, responsibly-infused dining experiences,” says Sommars. “It’s less about getting high and more about achieving elevated mood states. There’s no pressure to consume and some infusions are optional or non-psychotropic. The evening becomes a choose your own adventure experience and there’s plenty to do beyond smoking cannabis.”
Lemon and poppyseed cakelettes infused with CBD sugar cubes from B Edibles.
There are “activations" set up throughout the venue, imaginatively executed. One may be learning about a high-tech vaporizer with bluetooth app integration in the Mary Jane University vaporizer lounge to learning about “dry farming” from the featured cannabis farmer, Sunshine Johnston of Sunboldt Grown. I decide to take part in the “activation” they have presented in a vintage Airstream trailer. A card reader inside tells your fortune using Angel cards.
At the end of the night we are directed to a large, empty space at the venue, standing side by side and joining hands, we say an enlightening prayer to the Pink Moon. A happy ending to this chill eclectic-bohemian experience
For someone who isn’t experienced with cannabis, I was surprised at how great I felt after the dinner. I didn’t feel high or low, I just felt good. I had a preconceived notion that I would be attending a dinner with stoners, but frankly, it was a cocktail party with people who enjoy cannabis, talking and learning from each other, and just savoring life.
“High Dining is a division of Mary Jane University and our mission is to bridge the gap between medication and education,” says Sommars. “We feel this experience, with its layers of education, wrapped in delicious fun puts the skeptics at ease and helps change the perception of cannabis and those who enjoy it. A naysayer’s perception of what a, 'stoner' looks like changes before their very eyes as they interact with lucid, articulate guests and roaming educators who are experts in their fields."
The next feast is 6 p.m. May 18, 2019 at Joshua Tree. Tickets are $500 each. For more details, visit highdining.club.
The Moveable Feast features different "activations" including an outdoor modern bohemian lounge where you can sample flavor-infused cannabis from Stone Road. In the evening, a special sound telescope was pointed toward the moon where you could hear the vibrational sounds from the moon.
At the end of the night, we held hands and said a prayer to the Pink Moon.