If you follow me on social media, you know that I recently moved from sunny California to even sunnier Arizona! I was scared at first but once I realized they also had beer and weed, I felt better.
I saw a poster for the AmeriCAN Canned Beer festival at the local Cheba Hut, and I knew I had to go. Honestly, a day of drinking in the sun and heat was rather intimidating, but how I could I pass it up?
We knew food was crucial to keep us going all day, and we were overjoyed to see Hopdoddy Burger Bar serving sliders for free! The only option available, cleverly named 'Little Boozie' featured beer as an ingredient. Sleepy Dog IPA to be specific, who was serving beer at the event as well.
I tried to write down everything I tried that day, but I only managed to remember about half the time. With over 250 types of canned beer available, I was overwhelmed with styles and flavors to choose from. I was so happy to see the Smuttynose booth, their blueberry gose was a favorite on my trip to NYC. The new peach version available was easily one of the best beers of the day. Ballast Point (who didn't have very nice servers) and Modern Times (very nice servers) were a few of the many representing San Diego beer. Mango Even Keel session IPA, Fruitlands gose, and a tiny sip of Drop Art tart saison kept me going for a while.
There were only a handful of booths not selling beer. Most of these booths sold clothes, one advertised a DUI lawyer, but Swell Farmacy - a local medical cannabis dispensary - provided beer drinkers with games and coupons for free 8ths for patients. They even raffled off the cornhole boards after the event! It was hard not to have mixed feelings about the presence of medical cannabis at a beer event, but I guess that's one way to spread the good word!
The only thing I really remember drinking after that was Destihl Synchopathic, a dry hopped sour ale part of their 'Wild Sour' series. I tried their Lynnbrook raspberry sour a few years ago while visiting Chicago and was so excited to see them again! Friends enjoyed samples from Sleepy Dog, New Belgium before I refilled with Sun Up Bearded Blonde.
Goose Island had a huge tent with tables and mason jars full of hops for guests to smell while they enjoyed their beers, which I thought was a great interactive way for people to learn about beer, not just drink it! I went with their Four Star Pills, something mellow to end the day.
Keeping the beer and guests at a comfortable temperature was a challenge but from buckets and pool toys to huge mist machines, we all managed to have a good time. Hats off to the organizers, breweries and volunteers for throwing a great event!
I never understood why my dad loved canned fish so much, then I went to Spain and it all made sense. As a Mexican, visiting Spain was a very eye opening experience for me. Northern Mexico, where my family is from, has a significantly smaller indigenous population than Southern Mexico so the Spanish influence can be more prevalent. After spending some time in Spain, I now feel like I can see that part of myself when I look in the mirror.
I was researching for places in Barcelona with great views of the city when I found Marea Alta, a view I unfortunately didn't photograph. The restaurant and bar inhabit the top floors of El Edificio Colon and has a very stylish, almost vintage maritime feel. I felt like I was in a Wes Anderson film. We were overwhelmed by the menu, so we decided to go for their tasting menu. The menu overall pays homage to the wonderful and fresh seafood provided by the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a the traditional canned seafood of the Galicain coast. The tasting menu changes regularly, and we were able to make a few choices as far as dishes went.
We started with some appetizers: anchovies, smoked mussels, sardine filets, caixetes or Noah's Ark shells, and shrimp tartare that played on the classic Spanish tapa Gambas Al Ajillo. The appetizers were served with a fish and herb broth that helped cleanse the palate between bites.
Our next dish was one of the richest plates of food I've ever had. A bed of potatoes mashed with parmesan cheese, topped with a layer of whipped egg yolks and covered in sea urchin. The sea urchin really helped cut the richness of the dish, but once it was gone I couldn't finish the rest.
Next came grilled hake jowell and langoustines. I have never had fish jowell before but I found it to be really enjoyable. It was soft and rich like butter, almost melted in my mouth. The langoustines reminded me of really big shrimp, we ate the bodies and sucked the rich goodness out of the head.
Next was stingray stewed with chickpeas and herbs. The stingray was hard to eat, there were lots of bones that were hard to get around but after a little trying we figured it out. The soft flavor of the fish married really well with the heartiness of the chickpeas and the broth helped it go down smooth.
The showstopper was a whole grilled Turbot. The innards were removed, but the skin and roe remained. It was a lot to eat for just two people but we got through it. The fish was delicious, full of smoky, chargrilled flavor. The skin was crispy which was a nice contrast to the soft fish.
Then came our first dessert course, a mango sorbet with a gin foam and sliced pear and fresh berries. It was supposed to be a play on a gin and tonic, I thought it was yummy either way!
The final dessert was a traditional Spanish pastry filled with cream served with a coffee chocolate sauce. The pastry reminded me of croissant, it was light and flaky and paired well with the sweet cream inside. The coffee and chocolate was too strong for me but my boyfriend loved it! It was a great way to end the meal, and our trip to Barcelona.
Cannabis farmers markets are on the rise across the country, making their debut in the Bay Area this month at Harvest in San Francisco and Magnolia Wellness in Oakland. Intrigued by the idea, I decided to stop by Magnolia and check it out. The event was modest in size, with about 14 booths, some which were shared by multiple vendors. Fresh flowers, tasty edibles and community services all conveniently located in one sunny parking lot. Unfortunately, I didn't visit every booth. Sun Roots Farm and Humboldt Apothecary were too busy and I was too shy. Beezle Extracts and First Class Concentrates were packing up by the time I got there. 420 Fitness was too intimidating for my out of shape self. Operation EVAC was busy educating people on their wonderful services. But these are booths I did visit!
Clarified Confections makes medicated Ghee, a form of clarified butter, and delicious cookies with it. Jars of their organic and grass-fed Ghee were on sale for $50 and contained a whopping 2,000mg of THC. One teaspoon contained about 80mg, making it a potent product that was certainly worth the price. I didn't taste it, but the smell was pungent. I did taste one of the cookies, the Spiced Iced Pumpkin Cookie, which was amazing. I'm not a fan of sweets but I'm one of those people who loves anything pumpkin even if it's not autumn. The cookies came in 80mg doses, perfect to split with a friend or for all day snacking.
We all love vape pens for their convenience, but know that they might not always be the most effective. Whether it be a faulty cartridge or battery, 'watered down' product or bad flavor, there are variables that can make them less enjoyable. humblt makes disposable vape pens with 200 precise doses, guaranteed. I tried the pen for the first time, the 'calm' high CBD variety. After 3 second of inhaling the pen vibrated, signaling me to stop. The flavor was there, smooth and sweet. I didn't even cough! Each pen is formulated with specific ratios of THC, CBD, accessory cannabinoids and various terpenes to achieve different effects. This is an ideal product for novice users looking for a more controlled and precise medicating experience. They also have a pen recycling program which gets you a discount on your next purchase.
Soul Sugar Kitchen, also known as Edibles by Marcus, and winner of 'Best Packaging' in the edibles category at 2016's Happy Place Festival caught my eye with it's bright colors and fun imagery. The big bowls of medicated snack mix samples grabbed my attention too. Garlic Parmesan and Chesapeake Bay seasoned snack mix were the savory options. Handmade chocolate truffles and peanut butter cups with a variety of interesting flavors were the sweet options. The snacks were dosed at 100mg-200mg per bag with about 4 servings per bag, great for sharing and enjoying a few times yourself.
Sonoma County based Absolute Xtracts, Care By Design and Satori Chocolates shared a colorful booth full of vape pen cartridges, medicated sweets and high CBD medicine. I was excited to see the Absolute Xtracts and Jeremy Fish collaboration "Fish Tanks" and there also were some Absolute Xtracts x Emerald Cup collaboration cartridges among the flavors available. I had never heard of Satori chocolates, and as someone who doesn't really like chocolate, I thought they were super tasty. You could tell by the taste and texture of the product that the ingredients are of quality. The strawberries, blueberries and raisins were my favorite. Each piece ranges in dosage from 1mg, 2mg, 3mg, 6mg and 10mg for easy dosing.
I was most intrigued with Care Be Design's line of sublingual sprays, drops and softgels. With a range of CBD:THC ratios between 1:1 to 18:1! This variety allows more or less psychoactivity in the high CBD products.
Award winning cultivators, extract artists and overall badasses behind Empress Extracts were there showing off their flowers, extracts and amazing whole plant Rick Simpson Oil. The first strain pictured escapes me but the second is Gorilla Glue. They both smelled amazing!
Have you ever heard of an Indica-dominant line of cannabis products? What a concept! Leisure Life, the chill edible, has created just that. Medicated popcorn came in cheddar and caramel flavors, a mix was available as well. Each bag contained 200mgs of THC, enough to leave one feeling pretty leisurely. Pre-rolls, cleverly named California Rolls, covered in C02 oil and high grade kief also had a spot on the table. Medicated ice cream was a freebee for those who purchased, a very exciting product to see, since there aren't a lot of frozen medicated treats on the market.
Mendocino county has been known for it's cannabis production for decades. Flow Kana partners with select organic, sustainable farms throughout the Emerald Triangle to help bring them out of the shadows and into metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Farmers from one of their partners, Rusty Shovel Ranch, was there to meet patients and talk about his products. All the flower smelled and looked great, who says outdoor isn't good?!
I never really thought about the idea of a cannabis wholesaler, until I came upon the River Collective booth. River partners with cultivators, extractors and infusers to help get their products in the hands of more patients. They also help guide their partners in brand management and operational logistics. As their motto says "to nourish the roots and carry the fruits."
I left my first cannabis farmers market feeling happy and high, I could not complain about my afternoon. I look forward to the future, and hope there only become bigger and better. Make sure to stop and smell the flowers on your way out!
What's more romantic than freshly prepared French food for a Valentines Day dinner? Thanks to Feastly my boyfriend and I were able to enjoy an amazing evening catered by Chef Tommo. The venue was warm, well lit and our hosts eagerly met us with strawberries and champagne to get the night started. The 6 course menu focused on seafood and featured raw oysters, white fish tartare and poached lobster tail just to name a few.
My boyfriend picked up a bottle of CaliCraft's The Bay double IPA. It was a big beer, full of strong tropical and fruit notes. Some would call it too big to pair with seafood, but we thought it worked really well. The beer was big, but the flavor was clean and crisp, with a pleasing balance of tropical and bitter.
Our meal started with three large raw oysters, dressed with a light champagne vinaigrette. There was a harmony between the natural brininess of the oyster and the sweetness of the champagne vinegar. In my opinion oysters are best when prepared simply, so this was an ideal way to start a dinner in my book.
The white fish tartare was tossed in cucumber, green onion and capers. The fish was light, but the capers and cucumber really helped bring out it's natural sweetness while providing balance. The portion was small but ideal for the dish, just a few small bites and it was on to the next!
The next dish was improvised by our chef, as cooking doesn't always go as planned. I enjoyed the dish and the plating even, regardless of its last minute adjustments. Poached salmon and lobster on a bed of sauteed spinach and a wonderful tarragon sauce. The fish was tender and juicy while bits of lobster mixed in with the salmon added a nice surprise. The sauce really brought everything to life and the spinach added an overall heartiness to the dish, but it wasn't overbearing.
The star of the show was a butter poached lobster tail with a rice pilaf. All I tasted in this dish was butter and lobster but I was not complaining . As I said earlier, seafood is best when prepared simply and lobster is protein that can definitely stand on its own. Sweet and buttery with a hint of the ocean, to me there's nothing better.
The night ended with a cheese plate and dark chocolate mousse. The cheese plate had three types of cheese, I can't remember the exact kinds but one was tart and creamy, one was really sharp and one was more neutral. I ate them all without blinking an eye. When we got to the chocolate part, I was a bit hesitant. I've never been a fan of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, but once I tasted the strawberries at the bottom and the pistachio crumble I felt a lot better about the dish. There was nothing left in the ramekin by the time I was done.
This has only been my second dinner with Feastly, but I think it's an excellent service. Bringing foodies together while giving chefs a night to shine and express themselves passionately. As both a lover of cooking food as well as eating it, these meals have been a great source of inspiration for me. I can't wait to attend more. You can read more about my first Feastly experience here.
In the world of craft beer, much like most other professions, women have faced an array of challenges. From pay inequality, to sexual harassment, to simply not being taken seriously. The Pink Boots Society aims to help women further their careers in beer through empowerment and education. Not only by raising money for educational scholarships, but also by providing a global network of women supporting each other and their craft. Recently, a California brewery spoke out against the Women's March that happened on January 21st, causing an outrage within the community and even threats to boycott their beer.
We like raising money for charity. And we are at a time and place in our country where Planned Parenthood could use the money, and it ties in well with the Pink Boots where we are raising money for women's health and women's reproductive rights. And with the recent events with the brewery in East Sacramento degrading the men and women who marched in the capital and in cities across the country, we took it personally because we have so many employees, male and female, who did partake in the march. We weren't just offended, we were mad this this brewery was going to degrade our employees and our friends and our women of the industry, which is the way we saw it. So we figured we would raise some money in their name for Planned Parenthood, and partner with the Pink Boots Society to show the women in the industry that we back them and we support them and also tell the people who may not appreciate the women in the industry that we think they're assholes. And we'll do it by raising money and doing it in a positive way."
It's an educational opportunity, it's a networking opportunity, but it allows for a sense of belonging in the industry. I've had opportunities presented to me that I didn't even think were possible. I've learned so much about the business of beer and brewing and a better sense for my place in it all, and it's thanks to The Pink Boots Society. And for Fieldwork to recognize there are some major issues that need to be addressed with women's health and the opportunities there are for women, and provide the time and the space for us all to learn and spend time together is a really big deal. I've never been part of a collaborative brew that had this kind of focus, ever. That is so much about the bigger picture and it's addressing so many issues since the proceeds are going to Planned Parenthood."
It's a very accepting and welcoming group. Everybody I've met through the group, we've ended up becoming friends. And it helps add accountability too, to keep us all learning and growing and instead of becoming complacent with what we do. It's a lot of fun, I really enjoy the collaborative feel of the group. We're very well accepted at the all of breweries we've been to so far, so the industry is very supportive and recognizes the need for women to have that camaraderie. A lot of times people will ask, why do you need a women's group? The men are friendly, but they just don't get it. I know a lot of women are too shy raise their hands and ask questions or they'll wait until the end and ask independently. I feel like in these types of groups there's a lot less of that and people are more willing to share their knowledge and their experiences."
Cat Wiest, Brew Master at Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz, has actually been behind a few Pink Boots Brews herself and is one of the main reasons I have any involvement with this group. We worked together briefly at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers in San Francisco and has been a huge inspiration to me ever since. "The name March On, I liked a lot because I felt like after the Women's March it was like, now what? So I has happy that Alex took all of these inappropriate things that were being said on the internet and took them to heart. It's hard for me to take a day off but it means a lot to me, I know I'm kind of just standing here drinking a beer but I'm standing here drinking a beer with these like minded people. This type of collaboration in the industry means a lot to me especially because I work by myself. If I don't reach out to learn from other people or network with other people, I feel like I'm just standing around by myself. And I really respect all the work being done at Fieldwork, all the beers are really good. And it's nice to be around all the big tanks, I miss the big tanks."
March On! is a Strong Blonde Ale dry hopped with El Dorado Hops brewed with pilsner malt and wheat with IBU's between 35-50 and an AVB of 7%-9%. It will be available in the Bay Area mid-February and Fieldwork taprooms will be donating to local Planned Parenthood offices in honor of the cause, keep your eyes peeled!
Have you ever heard of a Kokedama? Well, I hadn't either until the other day when I met up with my friends from Green Diamond Coco Fiber to make some! You can make one too, we're going to show you how! You're going to need a few things:
First, dampen your coco with clean water. Shake off as much excess poting soil from the roots of your houseplant as possible. Then cover the roots with your moist coco fiber. Do your best to keep the coco in the shape of a ball.
Next, cover the ball of coco with hemp fiber. You'll find that the the fiber is soft and pulls apart, similar to cotton. Make sure all the coco is covered while trying to keep the fiber from overlapping too much.
Finally, use the hemp twine to hold it all together. Wrap the twine around the ball tight enough to keep its shape but not too tight as to hurt the plant.
Pull the twine through one of your loops. Leave enough twine left so the Kokedama can be hung and snip off the spool.
It's that simple! Watering is easy too, just submerge the Kokedama in clean water as needed.
I can't believe 2016 was the first year I made the effort to attend The Emerald Cup, 'The Definitive Cup for the Fall Harvest', but I'm glad I finally went. 'It's reputation firmly solidified as the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medical competition in the world.' And it certainly did not disappoint. Seeing friends and making connections at events is always fun, but learning about new products for patients or innovations in cultivation are also huge upsides to attending events. The event was huge and it was hard to photograph it all, but here's a glimpse into the event through my eyes. Hope you enjoy!
In my short time working with Green Diamond, I have learned so much about coco fiber and what sets them apart from other coco producers. Coco fiber is the byproduct of harvesting coconuts for their meat and water, the husk and shell are processed and then ground into different consistencies to be used as coco fiber. Most coconut products come from overseas, like India or the Philippines, where the demand for coconut is one of the leading causes of deforestation. Green Diamond's coco comes from a family owned coconut plant in the mountains of Mexico, where attention to detail is more prevalent. Rather than treating the coco with high heats and preservatives like most, this coco is washed naturally with rain water, dried and cured under the sun. This keeps the coco rich in micronutrients and free of pathogens.
It's hard to argue the lack of diversity in this industry, especially when you attend an expo. So that's why I was happy to spend so much of my time with a company who's 99% of color. It's nice to be where you want to be without feeling 'different.' We made so many cute Christmas ornaments, and Marjor Leauge Stoner stopped by to show us his work.
Cannabis Now was set up right next to us and it made me so happy! I love that crew and everything they do for the community. Ellen and the team worked the booth like rockstars, and Greg even brought his alarm clock radio e-nail, it made me so happy because mine is so similar!
The first thing I did after getting the booth set up was head to the 215 area. The event hadn't actually opened yet, so it wasn't too crowded yet. We stopped by the Harborside booth to say high to some friends, and that's when Adrina annihilated me with this globber of GoldDrop papaya. I'd never seen a 'dab bar' e-nail set up, or maybe I just didn't notice, but the idea is so practical! This one is made by MiniNail.
Luckily I wasn't too high to make my way to the Spire Ridge Farms booth, I had never seen them before and was so excited about it! They are based out of Humbolt and have yet to make it to the Bay Area market, but I hope they do soon. I ended up picking up a gram of U.F.O.G shatter because it looked so good and was priced so well, I'm glad it ended up tasting good too. The art on their shirts was so awesome too, I wish I would have gotten one too!
The Hepburns family has always been so warm and generous, it felt so nice to be welcomed in their space in such a crowded setting. Allie even gifted us a Hepburns Delux filled with Tangie flowers and Sour Diesel hash, complete with a JollyGreenGlass glass tip!
Some other goodies that caught my eye were Giggle Theaputics and their Giggle Butter, which came in two flavors: PB&J and Cheese! By the time we made it to their booth I was so high, I couldn't even stomach a sample. I hope to try the products myself one day, I love cheese and I can't imagine how I would get eating medicated cheese spread! Another interesting edible I came across was Fruit Slabs. I've seen medicated fruit leather before but I loved the healthiness of this one. Made with all organic fruit and vegan ingredients, this is definitley a fruit snack I could get behind.
I eneded my time in the 215 area by dabbing some Emerald Cup Concentrates and Absolute Extracts. Jess ended up walking away with a free gram of rosin because they didn't know what kind it was!
It wouldn't be a stoner event without some heady glass, and The Mighty Quinn came through with a huge selection to oogle over. Bangers and pendants, bongs and rigs, they had it all!
Quave Club Bangers, Diamond Caps, Third Eye Pinecones and more! Plenty of accessories for smoking and wearing were available for purchase, the options were overwhelming! I first saw Four Winds Flameworks at AGE in Vegas a few years ago, was happy to come across some more of their work in person!
Ryan Fitt and Gabe Halliday had a bunch of their signature Kuzel's on display, and were even working the booth and answering questions! The detail and work put into these little things is so impressive, and the images they chose to decorate the pieces with are perfect for this kind of crowd.
And who could walk past these EBOX pieces and not stop for a photo? What gems!
BlueGrass & Don Rob had a booth set up with tons of collaboration pieces I could only dream of owning. Here are some with Jared Delong, NateyLove, Blitzkriega, Sakibomb and more!
Could you imagine owning one of these?! I couldn't handle it. It was also such a treat to see Hummingbird Lane Tinctures & Topicals Jared Delong pendant made for last years cup winners, she had two!
The last photos I took at the cup were these of some Los1Glass pieces at the Refined Hydrocarbon Solutions booth. I was exhausted by the end of it all, but looking back on it now I'm really realzing the tremendous lengths some of us will go to be together. This community and this culture, it's so much more than simply getting high. It's about acceptance and generosity and compassion and love. There's bad apples in every bunch, and snakes hiding in every crack, but this community is resilient and I truly believe that if we work together and support the people we want to see succeed, the people who have been with us this whole time, we will win this fight. I hope you're with me.
A while ago I attended a festive and fun fall gathering held by Lady Chatterley's Lover, a Bay Area based delivery company, and The High Note, a cannabis focused party planner, at Meadow HQ in the SOMA district of San Francisco. The event focused on women, not only as consumers but as entrepreneurs as well. In cannabis, like much of society, it can be hard to find a space that is welcoming and even embracing of women. And while the event wasn't exclusivley for women, all of the products featured were influenced in some way by a woman. Recognition of women, and all marginalized groups honestly, in this industry, and society as a whole, will not only be a step closer to true equality, but it will also create the most diverse marketplace imaginable. I'm overjoyed to see the steps being made in the right direction.
The first vendor I noticed was Kush Creams. What caught my attention was their chemotherapy shampoo and conditioner, which is something I've honestly never seen. Their products are made with emu oil that helps carry the goodness of cannabis deep into it's users body, and has some benefits of it own! Indica House Inc. tinctures were also on display, as well as Emerald Frams vape cartridges.
Alchemy by Dark Heart was there with tons of rainbows and cartridges. While their cartridges aren't strain specific, Aclchemy creates "the perfect blend for wellness and unparalleled consistency" with 4 blends: Awaken, Inspire, Relax and Explore.
I was incredibly excited to learn about Prema Flora at this event. We are living in a time where many small farms are feeling threatened by the looming presence of corperate cannabis. It's companies like these who provide those small farms with the overhead they may not be able to provide for themsleves, so they in turn can focus on the plants, maintain a living wage, while keeping cannabis sustainable and beneficial for local economies. Sun grown flowers are often seen as 'lesser' than indoor, and I'm glad there are people working to change that notion and allow these flowers to shine in the light they deserve. Because seriously, it was some good weed.
While wandering around I met the people behind Healthy Headie Lifestyle. They provide a service for those looking to make the transition into cannabis and who don't know much about it. They educate individuals on the array of ways to medicate, the difference in products and even which strains might work best for them. Plus, they had a dab rig. I had to take a few.
MoonMan's Mistress was there with plenty of medicated and non-medicated samples to share. If you read review of their products, you already know I'm a huge fan. Liz, the #LadyBoss in the duo that creates these treats, is a huge inspiration to me. They way she stands by her products, the way she's managed the health issues she's been dealt. So much strength and power to look up to! And I won't lie, I had some more samples.
And it wouldn't be a gathing for women without some jewlery! Smokies Toke Couture creates fun and elegant pieces for the cannabis lover in everyone! The image in cannabis is chaning and the variety in lifesyle products needs to match that. Each piece is handmade right here in San Francisco by and individual who cares deeply for cannabis and it's community. Keeping it classy! (I also manage their social media accounts.)
The party was fun, and there was lots to see. Not everyone who atteneded was featured here, only those who caught my eye, but I hope you enjoyed what I had to share! And if you're local, go see what they have to offer for yourself at the Cannabis Holiday Gift Fair! It's free and it's this Sunday, December 4th. Click here for more info.
collaboration with Chacha Chainz
collaboration with N3rd Glass