Layering your buzz is a learned skill. Sometimes you need to kick an edible in with a little smoke or you need a body high to balance a heady situation. The key is finding complimentary highs that ride the line, so, for a dinner at the very sexy Mezzanotte in Georgetown with artist Amanda Manitach, I chose pre-dinner pre-rolls from No Mids and a highly concentrated, double dose of drinkables from Rays.
“Picking this place was too easy,” Manitach said between sips of her glittery gold Disco Diamond cocktail. “One of my best friends, Jason Stratton, is the chef at the restaurant, and my partner Jayson Kochan is manager. So it kind of feels like a clubhouse to me—like a sumptuous, Piedmont-meets-PNW, Nebbiolo-filled clubhouse with one of the coolest disco ball bathrooms ever.
“Nearly everyone who works here is also an incredibly talented artist, musician, or creative in some field,” she added. “I first met Stratton 10 years ago when I was working with Rebecca Brown to curate an art exhibit at Hedreen Gallery, where I was curator at the time. The subject of the exhibit was ‘devotion’ and Stratton created this intensely personal, poetic installation made of a small mountain of hand-cut Tajarin pasta—about 50 orders worth—perfectly cut and arranged on an open wooden pedestal. It was about labor, repetition, penance, and the intimacy of feeding others. We became fast friends.”
Manitach is known for her highly detailed and lush oversized pieces that combine a precise sense of proportion with the written word. She recently wrapped 10 weeks at Amazon as an artist in residence playing with AI.
“While there I also began working with AI text-to-image platforms to develop a series of wallpaper patterns—I typically use historic patterns in my text-based drawings. That endeavor took on a life of its own. Learning to communicate abstract pictorial ideas ‘verbally’ with a machine’s ‘visual’ brain is fascinating. Honestly, I do think the human relationship to language, writing, and visual thinking will be forever altered by AI. I’m not mad about it. I think it’s exciting and is going to challenge creatives and push us into spaces we could never access before.”
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We started our evening with the No Mids in Grape Guava. Its palette is fruity and sweet with a chem-to-gassy back end. Sativa blended hybrids that have purple origins can prove stimulating for an array of carnal delights. They make you pleasantly hungry and a little speedy, a combo you don't get with other buzzy drugs, and purp hybrids can often be sexual stimulants for vagina havers. They can also inspire you to indulge in your artistic side, so I asked Manitach about weed and her process.
“I’ve been imbibing weed off and on since my early 20s—I’ll go through phases of a lot or little. The type of drawing and mark-making I do can be very repetitive, meditative, and focused on detail. Sometimes cannabis can really center your focus—or unfocus you in just the right way—to reach that sweet spot where you’re physically dissipated and lost in a drawing, almost machine-like dissolved into the rhythm of it, and ego melts away. A sort of death of the author, or la petite mort of the author, to mix some French metaphors. You telescope into the details so closely you can’t see the forest for the trees. That perspective is both dissociative and intimate in a beautiful, peculiar way.”
The Grape Guava was the perfect jumping-off point for our decadent appetizer and dessert, both of which relied heavily on vibrant fruits, pistachio, and dairy. The burrata starter was a generous helping of fresh cheese served on a bed of beets and peeled blood orange that tasted like earth and sun meeting in your mouth. Pistachios and greens added texture and hints of bitterness that, when all married with the house focaccia bread, made for a moan-worthy bite.
“That pillowy, delicate, heavenly mouthfeel of a bite is pretty much an umami orgasm,” said Manitach. “And of course the nuttiness of the pistachio circles back to the cannabis.”
We took part in the pineapple and raspberry-flavored concentrated lemonades in doses of around 20 milligrams at a time, first combining it with club soda in a shot glass—“The shots were delightfully punchy!” said Manitach—and later on its own. The pineapple and raspberry were nice complements to the fruit-centric menu, and consuming it with dinner slowed what would have been a much harder-hitting buzz.
And then came the pistachio cake. OH, THE PISTACHIO CAKE! With its passionfruit curd and orange blossom cream, it would best be described as an exercise in pleasure. The juxtaposition of the tender, nutty cake and the explosion of deep, sweet and tart tropical flavor was, as Manitach eloquently put it, “what I was most excited for, and that pairing couldn’t have been more on point. I’m a sweet tooth girlie when I’m stoned, and my tastebuds, brain, and soul just melted into that bite. I’m pretty sure I became one with the dolci.
“I absolutely would pair these cannabis recommendations with this food again,” she added. “Next time I might skip the pre-roll and go straight to the cannabis shots. I loved the pot-tail spritzer with seltzer.”
See more of Amanda Manitach’s work at amandamanitach.com and follow her on Instagram at @amandamanitach.