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Eating The Stigma: Is The Cannabis Cafe The Next American Culinary Trend?

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, has become America’s first brick and mortar cannabis cafe, recently opening its doors in West Hollywood, California (yes, before Colorado) and it reeks of exclusivity — but rightfully so. 

It goes without saying, but most will agree that cannabis and cuisine have an unspoken bond. Yet, it’s taken more than 100 years for America to legally bring them together. So, it’s easy to understand why potheads all over the world are collectively losing their shit that this place ACTUALLY exists.

Cannabis Cafe

However, since California voters passed Prop. 64, the Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in 2016, the state has seemed eager to become a candidate to test this cafe-in-a-dispensary business model. Well, it’s here, but you’ll need to make a reservation if you’d like to get inside. 

For the thousands of guests already lucky enough to be shown into the wood decor filled dining area of Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, the cannabis smoke-filled interior is casual and inviting, buzzing with the scents of freshly brewed espresso, wafting clouds of cannabis, and food.

Set behind the bustling dining area, guests can opt to sit in a wide, open-air patio, shaded with small trees and shrubs, which maintains the same good-to-be-here feels you would expect to find inside one of Amsterdam’s culturally iconic coffee shops — except it’s all under a big blue California sky. 


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AMERICA’S FIRST CANNABIS CAFE 🌱☕️ // The doors to our nation’s first brick & mortar cannabis cafe have opened in West Hollywood, California. Here’s what I discovered while on assignment for @foodbeast during the @lowellfarms: A Cannabis Cafe’s opening week. • • Pro tip: Go for the food, stay for the high. • • 1️⃣ VEGAN BAHN MI Built on a nice firm, but chewy baguette like any typical bahn mi, but the protein is replaced with cauliflower! Much more ‘meaty’ than I anticipated! The addition of pickled onions & sliced jalapeños give it a nice crunch and a slight kick.🥵 • • 2️⃣ TAMARIND STICKY WINGS 🍗👀 Brushed with a very sweet, almost sour tamarind sauce & hit with sesame seeds. Pair this with something herbaceous strain like gelato for a nice sweet & sour vibe! 🤪🤯 • • 3️⃣ DOUBLE SMASH BURGER 🍔 Smash parties are a serious trend right now, and it’s clear Lowell Farm noticed. Also note, there’s two smash patties in that guy. Served with red onions, cheese, pickles & a house dressing. 🧀🥒 • • 4️⃣ DOUBLE FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH Two fried chicken patties, a house slaw, sliced tomatoes & pickles. • • 5️⃣ ROASTED MARSHMALLOW BROWNIE SUNDAE 👀🍨 Some torched ‘mallows sit atop a few scoops of @mcconnellsicecreams ice cream and a nice brownie base! A pair of brûléed banana slices also make an appearance! 🔥🍌 • • 6️⃣ HAND-ROLLED FUSILLI NOOLE JOINT // A few months ago, @710labs & @710labsflower announced a new line of hand rolled pre-rolled joints, that contain a gluten-free fusilli noodle at the end. Known as a crutch, the uncooked noodle serves as a mouth piece, which provides optimum airflow and acts as a levy that keeps debris from exiting. By far the best pre-roll I’ve ever smoked. • • 7️⃣ CANNABIS & COFFEE Possibly two of my favorite things have merged into one surreal experience. What a time to be alive. If there’s anything we can learn from this experience — it’s that it works. Hopefully, this model can provide a glimpse into a future that’s already trending toward more cannabis-forward dining experiences where guests can control their own adventure.

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How it works

Once seated, your experience begins. Guests are greeted by two different servers — one is a cannabis sommelier, or flower host, who can walk and talk you through the entire purchasing process, all done table side. Your food order is placed with another server, both arrive seamlessly. 

Here’s where the crux of Lowell Farm’s cafe model functions like a well-oiled machine. For anyone new to cannabis who has awkwardly waited in line at a dispensary — hat brim dipped low, eyes pointed downward, counting the seconds for the next available bud tender to help you — Lowell Cafe addresses it by working to become the antithesis of those interactions.

Cannabis Cafe

Be prepared for a truly surreal experience, with an expansive cannabis menu featuring packaged cannabis flower, pre-rolled joints, hashish, and even rentable smoking devices — Lowell Farms thought of everything to make every cannabis connoisseur’s dream a reality, without pushing the average user out of their comfort zone.  

While you can abstain from purchasing cannabis on location, guests can BYOC (bring your own cannabis) for a “tokage” fee of $20. Guests can also bring in their own smoking devices. 

Cannabis Cafe

While the cannabis is obviously a central focus of Lowell’s newest concept, don’t forget about the food — none of which contains cannabis. Sporting a modest cafe-style menu, Lowell features a mix of finger foods like Sticky Tamarind Wings, and shareable items like Animal Style corn dogs. From a personal standpoint, the Vegan Bahn Mi was a sleeper hit, which uses sliced cauliflower as the protein.  

Cannabis Cafe

For years, American culture shunned public cannabis use, thanks primarily to a government-driven, tax-payer funded war on drugs. While many cannabis users looked past the judging eyes of naysayers in public — Lowell Farms is allowing the underground to flourish in public view, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight. 

What we learned

If there’s one thing that Lowell Farms has established, it is being able to create a functional model that goes against drug war propaganda, and establishes proof that the public has been willing to explore cannabis-focused brick & mortar concepts — despite decades of anti-cannabis rhetoric.

Culture Restaurants

There’s A Hidden Speakeasy Inside The First Permanent US Hello Kitty Cafe

The cultural phenomenon that is Hello Kitty has opened a few popups in the United States over the last few years. These mini “cafe stands” served treats and beverages inspired by the animated feline and were beacons for fans to venture forth, visit, and get to know one another through a shared love of the iconic cat. Now, Hello Kitty is finally opening her own brick and mortar location complete with a secret immersive experience for enthusiasts to enjoy: a hidden Hello Kitty tea room and speakeasy.

Located in Irvine, CA, the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe front of house features fresh baked cakes, cookies, donuts, beverages, merchandise, and apparel — all inspired by the beloved Sanrio character.

In the back of the cafe, tucked away against the far wall, is an inconspicuous white door where a single golden bow hangs. When you knock on it, the door opens, transporting you to the wonderland known as the Hello Kitty Bow Room.

It turns out that magic comes in all shapes and sizes, including the form of a tiny white Japanese cat. Who knew?

By day, the secret space operates as a tea room that serves Hello Kitty bites and teas. Afternoon tea assortments include paprika-smoked egg salad in a cone, cucumber bread with dill cream cheese, smoked salmon served with cream cheese on a pretzel croissant, strawberries and cream, and Hello Kitty mini cakes.

At night, however, the Bow Room transforms into what’s essentially a speakeasy — complete with a wide array of cocktails inspired by Hello Kitty and her animated animal friends.

Along with the cocktails, guests can also choose from a selection of wines which are available during both the afternoon tea service and the cocktail service.

Once you’re inside the Bow Room, really take it all in and let yourself become one with the become one with the euphoric pink atmosphere. Dress to the nines, take tons of pictures, make Hello Kitty puns, and immerse yourself in the experience. How often can you really say you’ve been inside a secret Hello Kitty speakeasy?

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe (and Bow Room) will remain inside the Irvine Spectrum Center as a permanent location. To experience the Bow Room, reservations will need to be made ahead of time by calling the store or visiting the cafe’s website.

Restaurants Sweets

This Decadent Gold-Covered Apple Costs $700 And Is Served With A Pour Of Louis XIII

We’ve often heard that eating an apple a day will keep your primary care provider at bay. While that may not be the case with Jane Q’s outlandishly decadent Golden Apple, it’s still an experience you may not want to miss out on.

Jane Q, a cafe and coffee bar located inside Hollywood’s Kimpton Everly Hotel, is serving an apple one would find straight out of a fairy tale.

The $700 apple is cored and filled with a rich white chocolate ganache. Executive Chef Bryan Podgorski then coats the apple in a luscious salted caramel before carefully adding gold leaf by hand. The dessert is then served on a wooden base inside a glass cloche and paired with a 1.5-ounce pour of Louis XIII cognac.

While over-the-top, the item was designed for guests to treat themselves.

If you plan on snacking on Jane Q’s Golden Apple, make sure to give the cafe at least 48 hours notice. Each apple takes quite a while to craft.


Disney Fans Will Nerd Out Over This Beauty And The Beast Inspired Cafe

There’s just something about bringing anything animated into real life that makes us overtly giddy like a little girl’s first time at Disneyland. In celebration of the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast hitting theaters real soon, the Town House cafe at Kensington Hotel is offering a limited time experience called “Tale As Old As Time.” Just one caveat: the cafe is in London.

Beauty and the Beast cafe

Photo by: Town House at Kensington Hotel

The afternoon tea experience has a lot of Disney pixie dust infused. The menu and ambiance is reminiscent of the classic movie, and has actual ceramic adaptations of Mrs. Pots and Chip that you can actually drink out of! Priced at 35 Euros (or 45 with champagne), with a great selection of eats, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
Beauty and the Beast cafe

Photo by: Town House at Kensington Hotel

The response has been so overwhelming that reservations for the magical cafe has been booked up until the end of June. But…at least the cafe will be around until November, so you have some time to stack those airline miles up!

Beauty and the Beast cafe

Photo by: Town House at Kensington Hotel
Drinks Restaurants What's New

This Coffee Shop Charges You Every Minute You’re Sitting Inside


We’ve been guilty of purchasing a small coffee and spending an entire day working remote at a Starbucks before. With the free bathrooms and WiFi, working in a coffeeshop is probably one of our preferred places to crunch out some editorial pieces like this beauty.

A new cafe in Brooklyn, however, won’t let you just lounge around all day just for buying a small drink. Williamsburg’s Glasshour charges customers $6 for the first hour they’re at the coffee shop and 10 cents for every minute after the first hour.

The model is similar to those of cyber cafes where you’re charged by the time rather than purchases, Grubstreet reports.

While you’re there, you can relax and play some board games, drink coffee or tea, and even get some free snacks.

Customer’s won’t be charged more than $24 bucks though. So think of it as a parking garage for your butt.

Fast Food Health News Restaurants

10 Cases Of Hepatitis A Linked To Smoothie Franchise


Smoothies just can’t catch a break. First we find out that they’re packed with sugar and now some of them can even give you hepatitis A.

According to WTKR, some Tropical Smoothies Cafe in Virginia served frozen strawberries in their smoothies that may have a strain of the hepatitis virus. Customers who consumed a smoothie that featured the frozen fruit on the dates August 5-8 will want to get vaccinated or an immune globulin.

According to the Virginia Department of Health there have been 10 cases of hepatitis A linked to the strawberries at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations so far.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has voluntarily removed the frozen fruit, which had been sourced from Egypt, from their stock. Patrons who had one after the aforementioned dates are not believed to be at risk. However, you may still want to keep an eye out for symptoms of hepatitis A which develop 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms of the ailment include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, the yellowing of skin or eyes, nausea, vomiting, and dark urine.

Those who show these signs should seek medical attention immediately and are encouraged to wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water if you plan on handling food, to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you work in food service, just stay home.

Hit-Or-Miss News

Guests At A Vegan Cafe Are Assaulted With Chunks Of Meat

The vegan lifestyle is already a difficult one to live as it is. The thought of never eating anything that comes from an animal is quite literally making me sick to my stomach at this very moment. I love beef jerky too much to give it up, sorry I’m not sorry that I’m sorry. Still, that’s one man’s opinion, and that’s where the buck stops. Some people are taking this “kill the vegan” mentality way too far, and it’s beginning to get out of hand.

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Georgia, a Middle Eastern country located in the nook between Asia and Europe, is famous for its particular wines and cobblestone streets, but the capital city of Tbilisi seems to be a cultural battleground lately. The Greek Orthodox church continues to ward off forthcoming western values while people more dedicated to love and acceptance (also known, unfortunately, to many people as “western values”) fight the archaic traditions of their culture.

The Kiwi Cafe, a bohemian cafe in Tbilisi, was assaulted over the weekend by a group of more than a dozen men wielding a wide variety of meats, from sausage links dangling from around necks to grilled meat on skewers to handfuls of fried fish, according to the New York Times. After emptying their hands of their ammunition, the men bravely ran away before any authorities could catch and/or identify them.

I’m all for a a few jokes and jabs here and there when it comes to veganism, but acting out like this is sickening. We don’t know why these people choose to be vegan, and it’s none of our god damn business either. That’s a universal right to privacy we were all given. Vegans need not answer to ANYONE for their decisions, period.

Live your life, vegans. You do you.



Photo Credit: Kiwi Cafe, Trip Advisor


Woman Allegedly Gets Thrown Out of Urth Caffe For Being Muslim


A popular cafe franchise in Southern California is under fire after an employee allegedly kicked out a woman for being Muslim.

Sara Farsakh, a Muslim woman, was dining at Urth Caffe’s Laguna Hills location last night when a employee by the name of “Tino” approached her table. Farsakh wrote on in a Facebook post:

“Tino explained that they were anticipating a busy evening and needed to clear tables and that per their policy anyone that had been there for over 45 minutes was required to share or give up their table to other customers.”

However, Farsakh and her group had just gotten there and the policy only applies when the restaurant is clearly busy, Farsakh took video footage of the numerous tables that were available and the short line out front.

“We told Tino that our orders had just arrived and that we couldn’t reasonably finish and leave within 10 minutes. He said it didn’t matter and we had to leave.”

“The party on the table next to us (a group of white women) overheard our conversation and were shocked. They told us they had been sitting far longer than we had but had never been told to prepare to leave.”

After trying to reach the owner via other staff members to no avail, the police were called to escort the women off the premises. The officers reminded the woman that an establishment as the right to refused service to anyone regardless of the reason.

“I truly believe that because I was sitting with visibly Muslim women, we were singled out when we were asked to leave. I can’t even begin to express the feelings of embarrassment and humiliation as police officers were called to escort out a group of Muslim women from a restaurant. Shame on you Urth Caffe for your disgusting and racist treatment of paying customers.”

More NextShark Stories: Selena Gomez Reportedly Banned From China After Meeting the Dalai Lama

Since Farsakh’s post has gone viral, Urth Caffe’s Yelp and Facebook pages have been flooded with negative reviews for their Laguna Hills Location.


Here’s Farsakh’s Facebook post in full.

We’ve reached out to Urth Caffe for a comment and will update this post once they respond.


Written by Editorial Staff, NextShark