These Are My Favorite Edibles for a Fancy Dinner. Now They're Available Nationwide.
Plus, one of NYC's best steak sandwiches at Tusk Bar, a cannabis-fueled night at Cosme, the meaty laab salad at Thai Diner, and kimchi THC by David Zilber
TL;DR: Rose Los Angeles produces delicious low-dose edibles, available nationwide, but high-profile chef collaborations sell out quickly, and the company is pivoting toward online-only sales. Scroll down for detailed reviews of individual flavors.
A meal at Cosme, one of my favorite splurge spots, while on an edible
One of my favorite fancy dinners last year began on a sidewalk in Midtown, a full 20 minutes before I reached the restaurant. I usually don’t consider pregaming with edibles part of an actual meal. But this was different.
While strolling over to Cosme in Flatiron, I stopped at a street corner, and opened a tiny box by Rose Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ve heard of the brand. It’s a hip cannabis-company known for its pricey edibles ($36 or more), low doses of THC, chic collaborations (Dominique Crenn, Enrique Olvera), and annoyingly ubiquitous influencer ads (“So the chef at the No. 1 restaurant in the world just released their own line of edibles”).
Twenty orange gummies, speckled red and packed as tightly as AirPods, lied inside a palm-sized box. David Zilber, who once led up the fermentation program at Noma, helped create this particular batch. Among the listed ingredients were sous vide Nashi and Bosc pears, clarified kimchi water, and a dusting of — let me see here — “heirloom” gochugaru powder. Christ.
Then I ate one of the gummies. The firm gelatins reminded me of movie theater Dots, but nothing else screamed “candy.” Chewing it released an aroma so floral and concentrated it was closer to a ripe apricot than a typical pear. And the chiles emitted a startling heat, a warm rush for a fall evening. All told, what looked like an everyday sweet tasted more like a creative amuse at a posh fine dining spot.
Forty-five minutes later, I could feel the edible doing the impossible: making this Modern Mexican meal even more delicious than it already was.
The gummy’s 5 mg of THC — the psychoactive component in marijuana — let my mind zero in on the deep smoke of pasilla-laced octopus. It let me focus on the nuances of a sweet potato tamal, swathed in carrot-colored foam. That’s not a minor point. You know how at a fancy restaurant, sometimes you need to close your eyes to detect a subtle seasoning? I find that when enjoying a good edible, the ingredients reveal themselves with much greater clarity.
So with the tamal, the sweet potato sugars jumped out. For a moment, it seemed as if I was eating cake, all moist and crumbly. Then came the pastoral earthiness of the masa and a smoldering guajillo heat. Yes, that’s how this particular tamal is supposed to taste. But for me, sampling a layered dish on THC is like watching Jordan Peele’s “Nope” on a giant IMAX screen, versus on a laptop. The flavors become more immersive. You don’t have to ask a waiter if there’s cilantro, because the cilantro is right there, whispering into your ear.
And while I know for a fact that other great and natural-tasting edibles — that cost much less — will produce a similar effect, sometimes it’s nice to kick off a fancy evening with “Champagne.”
Do we really need seasonal edibles? Maybe!
The next time I dine at Cosme, alas, I’ll have to pregame with another Rose flavor. The Zilber variety, which I picked up at Gotham in the East Village, is sold out. But the permanent collection of flavors — rose, mango, and “boxed wine” — remains pretty great. And one of the things that sets Rose apart from other pricey brands is its constantly changing roster of chef collaborations. So when the prevailing special sells out, and it always does, another one comes online soon enough.
Yes, there’s a bit of clever marketing in any limited-edition release. And sometimes, Rose’s copywriting can induce a bit of farm-to-table eyeball-rolling (the edibles “capture a snapshot of nature, bringing together organically grown flower and local fruit at the peak of its season.”). But still, I like how this small but chic cannabis company — not a class of business known for cutting-edge flavors, not any more than Jolly Rancher — is putting out experimental gummies on a regular basis. Just as I’ll pop into a restaurant when I see on Instagram that there’s a fun nightly special on the menu, I enjoy checking out when Rose has something that might run out in a few days.
On that note, the latest variety is plum miso caramel, developed in conjunction with Madrid’s Acid Bakehouse. It’s available across the country via mail order for $45.
Mail-order edibles? Is that possible? Are they available in stores too?
Rose is one of the few purveyors that ships nationwide. That’s an impressive feat, since sending marijuana through the postal service is theoretically the type of thing that could impede your ability to vote in presidential elections (or access the Internet) for quite some time.
So Rose does something different. For its in-store products in California and New York, the company uses “flower rosin” produced from marijuana. But for its mail-order products, the company relies on rosin derived from hemp cannabis, which a number of companies believe is legal thanks to a change in the Farm Bill.
Soon, those distinctions could be moot. Rose co-founder Nathan Cozzolino tells The LO Times that the San Francisco-based company is no longer producing wholesale to sell into retail locations. “There just isn’t the margin to support continuing to use the quality of ingredients that we choose to use,” he writes via email.
You can still find the (stronger) in-store versions at Gotham in New York and at select California locations.
Behind the paywall:
Rose reviews: Ha’s Dac Biet (sold out), Boxed Wine, Rose Hibiscus, Mango
A stunner of a steak sandwich at Tusk Bar
Thai Diner’s meaty larb salad, reviewed
Why Rose’s dosing scheme makes for a more enjoyable edible
The importance of edibles going beyond the “World’s 50 Best” network
Will Rose’s hemp-based edibles still get you “high” or stoned?
They should, but allow me to explain…