D.C.’s first food festival for pot enthusiasts lands in the District on May 15. We know what you’re thinking: I’ve been hitting food festivals high for years. But while this festival—which includes edibles cooking classes and plenty of munchies at food incubator Mess Hall—encourages attendees to “come high and leave full,” there won’t be any actual weed there.
In fact, there’s a hefty disclaimer for attendees to eyeball, leading with, “I will not smoke, vape, drink, eat or otherwise consume marijuana or marijuana infused foods on the premises of Mess Hall.”
“We’re confident people know how to get stoned beforehand without our help,” says Mess Hall founder Al Goldberg. “Our job is to create the perfect environment with great munchies for people to take their pot enjoyment to the next level.” Food will be the focus, but before you puff puff pass on this party because Mary Jane isn’t invited, hear what they have in store because it will up your at home weed game.
Tickets for Blazed and Glazed will be available in five sessions: 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5 p.m. Each kicks off with three 20-minute classes, including two led by Matt Doherty, the co-creator of East Coast Grow, a fictional comedy series about D.C.’s marijuana industry. He’ll walk attendees through how to make cannibutter, the key ingredient for baking edibles. Then, it’s onto THC tinctures, which Doherty says extract cannabinoids without much of the actual plant, making an ideal potion to stir into frosting or cocktails. Even though the demos won’t have the real goods, the chefs will use substitutes.
The third class will be a cooking tutorial taught by one of five different chefs (rotating with the time slots) who are also serving food at the event. Tarver King, the chef at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Va., will lead one of them. Meanwhile, self-proclaimed “burger pervert” Mathew Ramsey, will teach people how to form a burger patty that packs heat. “So we take beef lard that’s been infused with cannabis and then grind it into the actual burger,” he explains. Ramsey, who’s behind Pornburger.me, will serve a “Munchbox” burger for participants. Those smitten with what he’s dishing out can pick up an advance copy of his cookbook, Pornburger: Hot Buns and Juicy Beefcakes, which officially debuts May 17. “I’ll sign it with a ketchup kiss,” he jokes.
Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, and Fry Brothers will lead the other munchies classes. Both Sloppy Mama’s and Fry Brothers are Mess Hall members—the latter is a month-old operation that sells Belgian-style fries with house made dippers. Food and lifestyle writer Nevin Martell (a Washington City Paper contributor) volunteered to help nab talent for the event.
After class, pass through a marijuana marketplace selling the sorts of things you’d find in a head shop plus work from local artists before making your way to Mess Hall’s loading dock-turned-beer garden. DJs will spin, and Saturday morning cartoons will play on the walls.
While everyone’s welcome, the event’s organizers say they aren’t looking to attract the kind of crowd that spent all summer chasing Phish around the country. “No hacky sacks, no patchouli, no disastrous covers of ‘Three Little Birds,’ or tie-dye,” says Goldberg. “We’re making it a sophisticated, legit, mainstream event.” Goldberg adds that it comes at a time when marijuana is walking the mainstream line. “There are a lot of questions, some confusion, people want to learn different ways to enjoy or ingest marijuana and now that it’s become legal [at home], it’s the right time.”
Tickets, available here, cost $50 per person ($35 for early birds) and include a pimento cheese chicken salad sandwich served on a glazed doughnut from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken and a beer. All other food is available for purchase, including doughnut and coffee ice cream from food truck Westray’s Finest.
Photo of the Munchbox burger by Mathew Ramsey