There’s a point when you’re Googling statistics on celebrity chefs’ records in reality TV cooking competitions that you know you must be high. When you discover there isn’t a centralized database and think you’re the person to create one, you’re entirely too high. An hour later, I had yet to figure out much more than win percentages on “Iron Chef” and that I loved my new sous chef sativa: Amnesia Haze.
By the numbers: $20/gram, $400/ounce at Wellness Center of Denver, 330 S. Dayton St. in Denver.
A strain that had enjoyed a grand run in Amsterdam (like Julius Jaspers and Robert Kranenborg of Dutch “Topchef” fame), Amnesia Haze hasn’t enjoyed similar success here. Its rarity on menus is approaching Afghani #1 or “horse steak” levels. And for good reason: There’s plenty of reasonable Haze varieties floating around. Why bother with a temperamental low-yielder?
I’ve axed tomato plants for less.
Getting to know Amnesia Haze:
In this case, my sample is the sativa equivalent of a properly executed souffle: They did everything at the right time, and is was undoubtedly annoying to make. It’s downright photogenic, something I’ll admit seems a little creepy when talking about a dried plant. The surface is just plastered with these winking trichomes on every reaching calyx.
Instead of the citrus zest I’ll get from a favorite like Super Lemon Haze, it’s more of a candied peel or my memory of those gummy lemon slices we’d eat as kids. It’s also more strongly vanilla than buttery, making it overall like an undercooked lemon cake. It’s so pleasant, I get my nose dangerously close to my pipe to catch a whiff of the batter-like bud burning. Unlike actual baking, I did not lick the bowl.
More cannabis criticism
Flo: For me, Flo is the “Eh, let’s just order pizza” of strains when you’ve seen too many jars and need to walk out with something. If it were a re-run on TV, it’s an episode of “Friends” that’s all Phoebe. Sure, it’s fun and light, but you really wanted a good Chandler zing. Why do I keep buying this?
Tangerine Dream: You eat Pad Thai in the states and everyone laments how it’s not quite the same. Tangerine Dream in Holland doesn’t exactly distinguish itself. It’s a perfectly fine sample, and much, much stickier than the dust most nugs become in Denver. I need a paper shredder, not a grinder. But the sample is average.
Sour Diesel: Recommending Sour Diesel as a weed critic is like a music writer extolling the virtues of The Beatles or a historian making a case for George Washington as a great president. In fact, Sour Diesel probably belongs on a Mount Rushmore of marijuana — a fake monument that I desperately want my picture taken in front of.
Over the past week, I’ve smoked Amnesia Haze at Denver Comic Con, on Memorial Day and during our podcast. None of those, however, summed up how tangential the high can be as my sudden fascination with the records of various TV chefs. Spoiler alert: The following paragraphs contain details of the “Chopped All-Stars” finale.
After two hits I’m being productive (on page 17 of reddit) when the show captivates me from the background with epic strings over the sound of rapid knife work. By the time the show starts I’m noticing a tingle in my arms and pressure behind the eyes as the Haze sets in, buzzing like a silent timer. I’m pulling for Chicago-based Art Smith, known for his southern dishes on “Top Chef Masters” and “Top Chef Duels.” Of course, he’s the first eliminated. I am the kiss of death.
Fast forward to the dessert round, where Michael Psilakas and Anne Burrell face off. The former I’ve never heard of, but he’s less grating and infinitely more sincere than the latter. Anne Burrell seems like she gets the network note “Act more human” in her inbox a lot. Some people discover cooking later in life. She looks like she just discovered smiling. Again, the cooking Gods frown on me and my cattiness as Burrell wins.
This leads to a sincere moment between her and fellow celeb-chef Alex Guarnaschelli about what “tough cookies” they are, noting how many competitions they’ve battled in. Perhaps my usually sports-addled brain is missing stats and win/loss records as my embattled New England Patriots have me actively avoiding ESPN lately. Perhaps it’s this pulsing high that’s rendering peripheral objects fuzzy and has turned its attention to my laptop. Either way, I need to know who the greatest TV chef of all time is.
I’m scattered, however, in my research. I open a tab and forget what search it was designated for. The high is focused, but occasionally your brain hits the pause button without letting you know. If I was a video, I’d be intermittently buffering. None of this is particularly unpleasant, as it’s less amnesia and more carefree browsing. All I can find are two conflicting Wikipedia entries — surprise! — listing “Iron Chef” battles in a neat little spreadsheet.
A closer look at Amnesia Haze:
Of the old guard, you’d think Food Network poster boy Bobby Flay would be the unanimous No. 1 overall pick. And sure, he leads in wins, but Michael Symon (the human cooking equivalent of Mr. Clean) owns an impressive 82.1 percent win percentage. I try to find Burrell’s record on the show but keep seeing results like “15 Fun Facts About Anne Burrell” as I struggle to believe there’s more than three. Did you know “She would go crazy if she had to work in an office”? Fun! I start contemplating designing my own Basketball-Reference style site to hash out the real champion, developing a scoring system (.25 or .5 points as a winning sous chef on “Iron Chef”?), and then decide that an hour is all I’m going to waste on this.
Amnesia Haze tends to provide an immersive experience with little of the paranoia that can be associated with similar racier sativas. Instead of a cranking out plates like a short order cook, you will find yourself arranging micro greens on a plate using tweezers. For those looking for a more tempered experience, try adding a nice hybrid-leaning Kush alongside it. I hear “fusion” is still in.