Doug Cohen and Miguel Trinidad have one goal in mind when hosting one of their ultra-exclusive cannabis dinner parties in New York City, and it isn’t to get you super-stoned.
“What I want is for you to walk away having had an amazing culinary experience… for you to say, ‘Wow, this meal really shifted my perception of what cannabis food is’,” Cohen told Civilized. “I don’t really want to hear that you got [really high.] That’s not what we’re here for.”
What 99th Floor is here for, said Cohen, is to “de-stigmatize cannabis through the universal language of food.”
Every six weeks or so, the pair invites a carefully curated group of guests to a secret location for a cannabis-infused fine dining experience prepared by renowned Filipino chef Trinidad.
The evening typically begins with a cannabis-infused cocktail, said Cohen, followed by five courses featuring everything from cannabis-infused bone marrow to coconut-chocolate ice cream made with Sour Chem.
While the menu changes every time, “based on whatever is seasonally available and what speaks to [Trinidad] in relation to the strains he’s using”, one staple is the use of micro-dosing, or the act of infusing very small amounts of THC into an edible.
“We try to really bring you along slowly [with the goal] of having roughly 12 to 15 milligrams of THC throughout the whole meal. In a five-course meal, that works out to around two to four milligrams per course,” said Cohen, adding that those seeking a little extra kick have the option to up-dose.
“We believe 12 to 15 milligrams tops is the sweet spot over a two-hour dinner [because] we really try to kind of combine that food culture into cannabis culture, but we’re food-forward.”
Every experience must present a fine balance of both celebrating cannabis and treating it just like any other ingredient, said Cohen. It’s his and Trinidad’s version of decrying prohibition with signs and chants in the streets.
“I like to say we’re activists, but we’re not marching on the front lines at local government offices. Our way of being activists is just letting people see and try [edibles] and change their perceptions of what they are,” said Cohen.
“If you’re able to translate cannabis into an ingredient within the food, you really have the ability to change the [ideas] people have of cannabis in a way that is pretty powerful.”
It’s for this reason that 99th Floor guest lists are so carefully hand-picked, said Cohen, the aim being to cater only to those with a genuine appreciation for all things delicious and experimental.
While it is possible to score an invite by digging through the company’s Instagram page, prospective guests must “show us that it’s important for them to go.”
“If two people emailed me to try and get on the guest list and one said, ‘I smoke every day so I really want to come’, and the other person said, ‘I’m a casual smoker but I have a really deep passion for food’, I’m more interested in the person with the deep passion for food,” said Cohen.
“I smoke every day, so I’m not criticizing those who do, but we really want you there for the food experience.”
Banner image: Chef Miguel Trinidad of the 99th Floor / instagram.com/99thfl