There’s a lot of canna-cookery going on in Los Angeles right now, and nobody is leading the charge more tastefully than executive chef and partner at the Original Cannabis Cafe (formerly Lowell Cafe) in West Hollywood, Andrea Drummer.
Drummer, who’s worked with cannabis/food-pairing pioneer Neal Fraser since before 4/20, says it’s about ensuring the flower supports and doesn’t overpower the food, while also discovering which flavor profiles of herbs pair with a specific cuisine. While Fraser laid much of groundwork for this burgeoning sector, L.A. chefs are taking advantage of legalization to explore the concept and enter a space where they’re comfortable experimenting at cannabis supper clubs around Southern California.
The Cordon Bleu–trained chef is probably best known from her many Netflix appearances on shows like Chelsea Does and Cooking On High. She’s also spent years crafting private THC- and CBD-infused meals for enthusiasts like Wiz Khalifa and Chelsea Handler, and is now feeding Angelenos at the city’s first cannabis cafe.
In addition to meat-based dishes, there are plenty of vegan options on the menu, like the signature vegan nachos made with cauliflower meat, black beans, Follow Your Heart Cheese sauce, guacamole and pico de gallo with house chips. Suggested pairing: a mild Jack Herer sativa.
Drummer recently introduced weekend brunch at the cafe, with a menu that includes a nontraditional corned beef hash, French toast, vegan options, and pork belly and grits, which she would pair with a bud that has citrus notes like sour diesel or 710 pre-rolls. There are also plans to soon open a second patio area that will serve beer and wine (no bud, however).
“The cannabis aspect is more forward in the cafe, but we really wanted to pump up the food and not have it be secondary and a reason on its own just to come in,” Drummer tells L.A. Weekly. “When it comes to pairing, it’s all about finding that space where the flower supports the food as opposed to clashing with it , and it’s important for the guest to know their tolerance and what they are looking for. Our flower hosts are a big help there.”
Drummer considers the unique job her life’s work, to help change the misconception of cannabis consumption.
“It’s been three and a half years in the making,” says Drummer, who was originally approached by Lowell Farms to be the executive chef. “And I think what makes it so successful is the sense of community — between consumers and non-consumers. Some people come in just to eat with friends who are consumers and can enjoy a peaceful communal space. Every single day, we are so authentically enamored with the diversity of people who come in here — all different ages and cultures who sit together peacefully and enjoy each other’s company, some good food and a little bud.”