A Colorado sushi chain that eagerly supported last year's successful statewide campaign to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana has unveiled what may be a U.S. first: a pot pairing menu.
Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar, with three locations in Denver and one (surprise) in Boulder, is recommending diners enjoy its Pakalolo Shrimp (“spicy Hawaiian-style shrimp served with a sweet chili pepper dipping sauce”) along with a toke of Pakistani Kush, or its Katsu Curry (“all-natural chicken katsu served with Japanese curry, rice and vegetables”) with a hit of Blue Dream.
Those who are neither weed nor fusion-sushi aficionados can be forgiven for wondering which names are referencing food and which are marijuana strains. Other pairing suggestions: Poke Don (made from fresh ahi or salmon) with Purple Rain; Honey Miso Salmon with Sour Og; and New Style Sashimi with Platinum Cookies.
Add this to the “never thought you’d live to see the day” category.
To be fair, the pairing menu is part of an ad campaign—you can't actually buy weed or even BYO to the restaurant. Hapa has also launched an ad proclaiming that its restaurants are “ergonomically designed to reduce paranoia,” reports Eater, and signs placed on the tables voice the restaurant's support for patrons' pot-addled ramblings:
Effective January 1, the management of the Hapa Restaurant Group reserves the right to serve customers who discuss: "How cool their pets are and that fish would make cool pets but you would have to live in the ocean to hang out with them and this weed is really good and do you think pets like us as much as we like them.…"
Of course, weed has a long (looong) and oft-hilarious association with food, but typically more of the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle variety. Sure, you’ve got your full-fledged pot-themed eateries, like Cheba Hut Toasted Subs, home of the 12-inch “Blunt” sandwich. The company was founded by an Arizona State Univeristy grad and former delivery driver who “noticed that on most of his late-night deliveries, his customers were…um…inhaling!” according to the chain’s website. Sure enough, there are five locations in Colorado.
But even beyond sandwich shops where the vegetarian offerings on the menu are openly signified by a cannabis leaf, it wouldn’t be surprising if, say, Taco Bell’s whole “Fourth Meal” late-night menu was developed based on demographic research that scientifically quantified just how many customers shuffling into the Bell around 3 a.m. are baked. (Um, let’s guess four out of five?)
Weed with sushi, though? That case of the munchies could get real expensive, real quick. Maybe this is just another milepost on pot’s march toward more mainstream acceptance—and with it, the perhaps inevitable yuppification of weed culture.
So forget that craft beer tasting set. Next thing you know, Crate & Barrel will be selling exclusive handblown glass bongs.