For their one-year anniversary on Tuesday, Suffolk fine-dining joint Fin & Tonic has decided to cook a nice, relaxing dinner.
No, but seriously — really relaxing.
With the help of products from nearby Lilley Bros. Canna Company., Fin chef Kenny Sloane Jr. is concocting a three-course meal of food and cocktails made with CBD — cannabidiol — a non-intoxicating chemical found in cannabis that many prize as a treatment for stress or anxiety, or as a low-key painkiller.
(The science isn’t all in yet, we should note, and the FDA gets very tetchy at businesses that make specific promises.)
At $45 for three courses and cocktail pairings, Fin & Tonic’s CBD Tapas dinner will feature an appetizer of scallops encrusted with hemp-seed hearts — which Sloane likens to sunflower seeds in their snackability — atop a CBD-spiked sunchoke puree. The main course will be a braised pork belly served with a tomato-vinegar CBD barbecue sauce. And for dessert? CBD-infused rooibos tea sorbet.
For Sloane, it’s mostly done in good fun, inspired in part by online shows about cooking with weed.
“With Virginia trying to legalize the real stuff, I figured I’d start with CBD,” Sloane said. “I’m just trying to be creative in some way. I figured I’d try something new, and one of my good buddies did this stuff on the West Coast.”
Though fairly new to Virginia, CBD dinners are already a staple in Colorado and many other states in the west, where hemp and marijuana have long been legal in one form or another.
Over the past couple years, CBD-infused items have also proliferated at Hampton Roads health food stores and specialty shops — and occasionally at restaurants, as in coffees at downtown Norfolk’s aLatte Cafe and cocktails at now-closed bar St. Germain.
Fin & Tonic bartender Robert Gregory will mix up a few CBD cocktails of his own, Sloane said — both as pairings with the dinner, and as standalone cocktails in the restaurant’s speakeasy lounge for those who don’t spring for the whole experience.
“He’s doing a mojito. We have a tea we buy, Cativa from Portsmouth, and we’re doing something mojito-wise with that,” Sloane said. “Chesapeake Bay Dr. Stoner’s vodka, we’re doing a drink with that.”
Gregory will also make a CBD-infused cocktail made with an IPA-derived spirit from Hampton’s Caiseal distillery.
The CBD served in the foods and drinks at the anniversary tapas dinner is derived from hemp grown by the Lilley family — traditionally better known in Suffolk for their strawberries. The Lilley Bros. Canna Company also makes a CBD-laden strawberry oil, in keeping with family traditions, that’ll find its way into the ice cream dessert.
Sloane consulted with farmer Jay Lilley on how to manage dosage, so diners won’t get more of an effect than mild relaxation.
“He gave me some insight how to use it, what to do — from extracting the stuff from the flower itself, all the way to using the oil, and the distillate,” Sloane said. ” We figure if we’re making a sauce, we’ll divide the amount we’re putting in by the number of people.”
But from this food writer’s personal experience with CBD cocktails and beers in particular — it’s usually the dose of alcohol that’ll have the most profound effect.
Sloane says if you miss this CBD dinner, he’s already planning another one for April.
And yes — of course — it will take place on April 20.
CBD Tapas will take place Tuesday, March 16, at Fin & Tonic, 1301 Bridgeport Way, Suffolk, 757-800-1074, finandtonicsuffolk.com. Reserve $45 tickets by phone for three CBD courses and cocktail pairings; a la carte CBD cocktails available in the speakeasy lounge. Live music 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Matthew Korfhage, 757-446-2318, firstname.lastname@example.org