When we were first invited to Billo’s Cultivated Cuisine event (Steamboat Springs’ only private cannabis event, complete with a farm-to-table seven-course meal and all the cannabis one could sample) we experienced quite the sense of imposter syndrome. It wasn’t about the amount of weed we’d be smoking, because let’s be honest: if this dinner was the NFL playoffs, we had been training for this since we were 14 years old. No, the imposter syndrome had something to do with the fact that we’d never been to a seven-course meal before and we didn’t feel worthy. If we had been honest with our fellow dinner guests, they would’ve learned that we were living on the outskirts of town in a van and heating up frozen corn dogs over a campfire.
But when we were offered the chance to go cover the dinner for The Rooster, we weren’t about to turn down the fanciest food and some of the most premium cannabis we had smoked all year. We figured we could probably fake it until we made it, even if we couldn’t pronounce “vinaigrette.”
We were dropped off at Elkstone Farms, complete with several hoop houses, a greenhouse and a fruit forest. All the food we ate that night was grown across a large amount of acreage (We asked how big the farm was when we first arrived, but that number was just the first in a long line of forgotten statistics that went in one ear and out the other during a heavy THC-induced haze… it was a big farm).
The event had five sponsors in total: Keef Cola, Dialed In Gummies, Green Dot Labs, PuffCo, and Stündenglass, which, if you’re unfamiliar, makes the fanciest gravity “infuser” (bong) you’ve ever seen in your life.
We first met Liz Bernquist with Keef Cola, and she was quick to hand us a mocktail margarita that was made with a Keef Cola seltzer, estimating its dosage to come out to roughly 3 milligrams of THC. Ok, no problem.
Next was Spencer Beymer with Dialed-in Gummies. We talked briefly about Dialed In’s work with infusing terpenes into their gummies before he gave us one stemming from a collaboration with Billo. We estimate that we had between six and eight of these gummies over the next four hours, but once again, our memory is hazy.
The real trouble came when we met Matt Comfort with Green Dot Labs. Matt gave us a dab of “Roygbiv Blue #24 x Soul Cleanser” Live Badder followed up with a dab of “Wagyu” Live Rosin Badder out of a PuffCo, and, much to our chagrin, we had to go grab some of the plants in the garden to make sure we didn’t float away.
Had we miscalculated? Did all of our hash-smoking practice over the last twelve years simply not matter because we weren’t smoking on Live Rosin Badders capable of allowing us to hear our hearts beat in our own chest cavities? Before we could decide, we were called to the dining area for the first course, which was a preroll of Tropicana Cookies followed up with a handmade tortilla filled with beef from Elkstone’s pastures, heirloom tomato pico de gallo, and locally-sourced cheese. This taco had four flowers on it and we ate the entire thing in three bites.
Before we wrote this piece, we watched three seasons of Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri, in the hopes that maybe we could get a knack for food-based journalism in its finest form, and when it comes to describing that taco, it really is ineffable, except for the idea that it was kind of like a one-way ticket straight to FlavorTown.
Please note: no combination of words or Guy Fieri catchphrases could ever justify the meals that Chef Russell Goodman prepared for us on this night.
An Elkstone salad with red currant vinaigrette and root vegetables followed, and as our tablemates talked about who they were and what they did, we had a war going on in our heads over whether we needed to keep the fork we ate our salad with or leave it in the bowl. We know, it sounds silly, but we thought about this conundrum through every single bite of the salad and well into the dabs (Turpentine OG Live Badder) from Green Dot Labs that followed. If you’ve also never been to a seven-course meal before, it’s worth noting that you can leave the fork in the salad bowl. These types of events are practically made of forks, and they brought us four more utensils throughout the night.
Oh and the salad? It was like a one-way ticket straight to FlavorTown.
Next was the Ajo Blanco, which we also had described to us as a white gazpacho made with grapes from the Elkstone greenhouse. When we first heard white gazpacho, we became pretty afraid; were the secret police of Nazi Germany really here, serving dishes to stoned journalists in their finest Eddie Bauer flannel that they bought from Goodwill? But as the dish was served, we felt a sense of relief. Apparently, we were thinking of the word “Gestapo” and not “Gazpacho.”
The woman next to us lost her mind about this soup. Don’t get us wrong, it was delicious. It had hints of garlic combined with grapes and was like a slightly wetter hummus. We would’ve licked the bowl if it wasn’t frowned upon, but our table mate was curious. “How are you even going to write and describe something like this?!” she asked.
We replied that we didn’t know, but the fact of the matter was that we were incredibly stoked to not be eating Chef Boyardee Ravioli out of a cold tin can. And now that we think about it? That’s correct. Straight to FlavorTown.
Next up came several more dabs followed by rocky mountain trout topped with preserved squash and trout roe. Did you know that trout roe means trout eggs? We’d never eaten fish eggs before, but we couldn’t help but think that they’re kind of like nature’s boba tea, if the boba balls were sourced straight from a fish’s ovaries. Either way? FlavorTown.
Our favorite course was probably the Colorado Ribeye of Beef topped with salsa brava and fresh vegetables. Halfway through the course, a Studenglass Gravity Infuser complete with a hookah hose and a bowl full of Trop Cookies made an appearance at our table. We hadn’t hit a gravity bong since our junior year of high school, but we weren’t about to let that stop us. As we inhaled lung full after lung full of bong smoke, we couldn’t help but think about which Guy Fieri catchphrase we would use to describe this beautiful moment. At the end of it all, we decided on “Winner Winner Ribeye Dinner.”
The last two courses were panna cotta and bon bons. The panna cotta came complete with gooseberry gelee and farm berries and was topped off with a Dialed In gummy, and the bon bons had a blueberry filling. Both of these were like a direct line to flavor town, sure, but at this point, we were fading fast. We were racking our brains as to how we were going to bring this article to a close in a grand conclusion, and at some point during these deep thoughts, we teleported from Elkstone Farms and somehow made it into the passenger seat of our girlfriend’s car.
So if you were hoping for an incredible and poetic sling of words that greatly summarizes how fantastic this event was and how Billo is changing the industry through events like this one, we have some bad news for you. When we woke up the next morning and checked our notes, all we had written in our notebook was the word “Camnabiz” before underlining it three times in red crayon.