The author samples a Black Rhino pre-roll from iVita Wellness. (The Cannabist)

Black Rhino (marijuana review)

Around the holidays my girlfriend and I love to break up a day of shopping with something we call “suburban date night” — even though it’s usually around 2 p.m. This involves ducking into a chain restaurant and ordering frozen drinks with our “2-for-$X” coupon and usually a heated debate over which appetizer we’ll share. When I found out a friend would be performing at the Denver Improv — in the commercial oasis that is The Shops At Northfield Stapleton — it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a legitimate suburban date night. And for me to take a crack at TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers. While I was ridiculously stoned.

Much has been written about their new all-you-can-eat menu, none seeming to extol the virtues of plate after plate of fried Friday’s. Could a healthy dose of marijuana change that? My 5-foot-nothing girlfriend, a former 2nd place finisher at Mezcal’s taco-eating contest, recommended performance enhancing drugs of the best variety. It was, as you say, “on.”

Black Rhino by the numbers: $4.20/pre-roll, recreational. Medical: $9.60/gram, $150/ounce at iVita Wellness, 1660 Pearl St. in Denver.

Stopping by iVita Wellness around 6 p.m., there was a healthy line of folks waiting, although the line was far from stagnant. A dude asked a law student for her number. Two 50-something women from Florida looked like they would bail when asked for ID but hung in there, tittering at the novelty of it all. And a lot of guys who looked like me sat and watched a syndicated episode of “The Big Bang Theory” on a flat screen, straining to hear if our name was called behind the Plexiglas, even though we were keenly aware of the order in which we entered.

The waiting room itself was the kind of hodgepodge I’ve become accustomed to at dispensaries. A nice canvas of Banksy’s “Monkey Parliament” on one wall. The other plastered with upcoming shows at Red Rocks and beyond. Mismatched furniture of varying comfort levels. Clean, light wooden floors that had seen a fair amount of wear for looking relatively new. A giant vase holding bamboo-ish looking poles. All of it anchored by a wooden coffee table topped with corrugated metal that looks like so many of the condos sprouting up in my neighborhood. With a roughly 15 minute wait, I felt like the area and I got to know each other well.

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I didn’t feel rushed in the dispensary area, but I was also keenly aware of my surroundings. When you walk in to a pair of budtenders talking about the number of people they saw on 4/20, you have an idea of how their day is going. They take patients two at a time, and another gentleman was right behind me. My budtender was friendly, asking me if it was my first time in. “Sure is,” I said, waiting for the usual spiel about discounts and offerings. Nope. Just a “Recreational?” and we started looking at jars.

They had fairly standard, genetically correct looking Sour Diesel and Blue Dream, a Grape Krush that would wow the purps fans, and a sense of humor in Crawford (a Cindy-99 cross). “You should see our Lohan” the other budtender laughed. It is, of course, a combo of Trainwreck and LA Confidential. With no piece handy, I opted instead for a pre-roll of Black Rhino, an indica-dominant strain that usually spikes my appetite like Misty May-Treanor.

Black Rhino (marijuana review)
Screen grab of iVita Wellness menu from (Click image to enlarge)

But which Black Rhino did I really walk away with? It’s a question that’s receiving a lot of attention lately, and pre-rolls don’t give you the best clue as you lose a lot of your visual examination abilities. Is it GreenMan Organic Seeds’ cross of Blue Rhino and Black Durban? Or is it OrGnKiD’s Blackberry Kush and White Rhino, as listed on Ivita’s WeedMaps profile? Is it “FL Great Shake” as it says on the tube? Hmm. A little digging shows a post on Instagram calling it a cross of Black Afghan and White Rhino, along with the tags #ivitawellness and #exclusivestrain.

I’m guessing from the fact that it’s been relegated to pre-roll status, its first run may be its last.

For what it’s worth, you’ll usually be seeing the Blackberry/Rhino iteration, smelling for berry notes that can be buried under the earth and rubber at times. It’s hard to miss, though, as you’ll get at least some purps. None of that is there in the portion of the pre-roll I broke up. This Black Rhino smelled more like I walked into a grow room; I was catching nutrients and old trim, managing to coax the smallest waft of that rubber band smell when grinding it between my fingers. This proved disappointing, considering I’m a fan of their Black Afghan (Black Domina x Afghan Kush) for its trademark spice and bite, but clearly any of the fruit has been muted severely. Still, the show must go on.

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I fired up the remaining joint and took two solid pulls, a little harsh with a tickle to it I wasn’t too fond of, but went back for a third when I forgot to pass on the next go-round. #stonerproblems. We’d arrived at TGI Friday’s with a full three hours to kill before the show, and I set a modest goal: a plate of boneless buffalo wings every hour. The irony of setting a “modest goal” for all-you-can-eat food isn’t lost on me, Cannabist readers.

Walking in was slightly disorienting, as families were waiting ahead of us but we were quickly ushered to a three top in the middle of the chaos that is TGI Friday’s. It was like a a dense forest, only with babies for crickets. My high was muddied, lurching, flipping too many pages at once on the children’s book of a menu, complete with pictures. When the waitress let my companions know that the $3 martinis were only eligible in the bar area — a distinction drawn arbitrarily, it seemed — we relocated to the bar.

There, the din was more familiar, but I was high enough to stare vacantly at a Rockies-Cubs game. My ribs (not baby back) were feeling better after bruising them in my latest attempt at kickball, but my head had a dull ache that wasn’t suited for such an immersion in faux-Americana. In the cloudiest of judgment, I decided an espresso martini would A) give me a boost of caffeine to stave off a headache, and B) pair well with breaded chicken. Neither proved true.

My stomach, however, saw the plate as its Manifest Destiny. At this point I had unknowingly checked out of conversation several times, and not the silence you attribute to a good meal. I was firmly entrenched in the munchies, the act of chewing more marking the passage of time than an attempt to sate myself.

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After 19 boneless buffalo wings, three loaded potato skins, and one pot sticker (of which I peeled like a banana and slurped the turgid insides), my high had worn off and a different type of ennui had set in. Being post-stoned and overstuffed, I realized there was still another hour left. I had no desire to fire up the rest of the joint in a TGI Friday’s parking lot. I didn’t have a lot of desire, period, even when an unexpected game of bar trivia started. Even the DJ pronouncing our team name “ace” when we wrote “Team ACYE” didn’t elicit a reaction from me. And I love when people aren’t in on the joke.

I begrudgingly ordered my third plate, almost gagging on my first bite but powering through five before calling it quits. The bartender hauled the wings away in an act of mercy I imagine isn’t often seen at the establishment.

I’m not sure if iVita plans on scrapping this strain, but they don’t have much other than a meandering high without much redeeming aesthetic quality. Such is breeding. If you’re looking for Black Rhino, stick to the Blackberry Kush cross. And never, ever, order the mozzarella sticks.