Today is 420 Day, the day known fondly to stoners everywhere as a kind of unofficial National Marijuana Appreciation Day. It's a holiday that's been around for more than 40 years -- you're not as hip or cool as your parents were, kids; they started this shit in 1971 -- and the evolution of the holiday itself is as interesting as the creation of Thanksgiving. (It's also far less racist.)
420 Day is also the official release date of the new High Times cookbook, The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook. We reviewed it in advance of the release, and can verify that High Times does, indeed, know how to make some tasty fudge.
In keeping with the High Times cookbook, which featured classed-up recipes from samosas to marinated kale salad, we're recommending some more gourmet options around town for this 420 Day. If you're going to celebrate, celebrate in style -- leave the Cheetos dust to the college kids.
Crispy Fried Pig Ears at The Hay Merchant
I believe that literally everything on this menu is appropriate for stoner snacking, from the savory beef chips that melt off the bone into your mouth to the lamb sweetbread po-boy served on crusty French bread. But it's Chef Antoine Ware's crispy, spicy fried pig's ears that are like the addictive Lay's potato chips of the meat world -- you can't eat just one. Basket.
Smortune Cookie at Dragon Bowl
Ken Bridge's restaurant empire seems purpose-built for stoners at times, between his craveable pizzas and Crack Brownies at Pink's, the bacon-donut waffle at Shepherd Park Draught House and this Smortune Cookie from Dragon Bowl. Bridge crushes up fortune cookies into a S'more-like concoction, with milk chocolate and marshmallows binding it all together. It's salty, sweet and crunchy all at the same time, hitting all of the important stoner culinary buttons.
Bacon-Donut Waffle at Shepherd Park Draught House
It's a Belgian waffle, topped with a Shipley's glazed donut, crumbled bacon, maple syrup and whipped cream. Wake and bake and binge. It's all good.
Korean Fried Chicken at Nabi
The fried chicken at Nabi is the elegant, adult version of the Popeye's fried chicken you used to bury your face in during late nights spent in college dorm rooms after the cafeterias had closed. It hums with rich, spicy heat from its Korean-style sauce and is even better during happy hour, when it's only a few bucks a pop. (You know you probably spent all your money on good ganj today.)
Dr Pepper Icees
Granted, this is one of the less "gourmet" options on the list, but real Icees are increasingly hard to find these days. So we say that their elusiveness has suddenly made them cool -- at least, that's what our inner hipster thinks. Here's a handy guide to finding the greatest Icee ever born of a convenience store machine: the famous and rare Dr Pepper Icee.
Baleadas at Honduras Mayan
Honduras Mayan makes one of the most elegant yet inexpensive breakfasts in Houston: baleadas stuffed with scrambled eggs, refried beans, crema, avocado and a few crumbles of salty white cheese. It's $1.75, and you'll be full all day long from just one, but that never stops me from ordering them two at a time.
Da Bomb at the Eatsie Boys Truck
Da Bomb is the modern, food-truck version of a banh mi -- always craveable, especially when baked -- from intergalactic planetary truck Eatsie Boys. In addition to your choice of chicken or tofu (hippie), you get the standard array of spicy, crunchy banh mi toppings, plus a savory-salty spread of avocado puree.
Cafe Sua Da Milkshake and Duck Fat Fries at The Burger Guys
Order both. Dip the fries in the milkshake. Bliss the hell out.
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The 420 at Pi Pizza Truck
Last but certainly not least, Pi Pizza offers the only pizza in town specifically named for 420 Day: the 420, topped with chili-cheese Fritos, barbecue sauce and plenty of gooey mozzarella cheese. Like all of their slices, it's completely over-the-top and totally delicious -- stoned or not.