Bong appétit

A Sacramento food writer revisits least-favorite foods to see if they're tastier—on weed


I wonder if everyone in Rick’s Dessert Diner is also completely stoned. I contemplate this while in line, high and at ease. The child standing behind me probably didn’t just smoke a bowl. But the couple in front of me, ordering two slices of cake, a cream cheese brownie and a cinnamon roll? Definitely.

And, crud: Suddenly it’s my turn, and I’m distracted by Rick’s inability to properly label his desserts. Come on, Rick. This mocha torte is not a torte. It’s a cake. Just a cake. Nothing fancy. I order it to prove my point.

Why am I here? Not just to feast on six layers of buttermilk cake with coffee and chocolate buttercream, but to see if something tastes differently after a little cannabis. OK, a lot of cannabis.

A bite. Initially, I feel pure pleasure. Then, horror. The buttercream melts away, leaving me left with just dry cake. I feel each individual crumb slowly disintegrate onto my tongue. Its dryness feels amplified—deeply intimate, even. Still, I finish it, because it’s cake.

Next, I revisit one of my all-time most disappointing meals: Thai Basil’s pad Thai with tofu.

It looks OK when it arrives, although I’m still philosophically angry at the stalks of broccoli poking out. What are you doing there, broccoli? You don’t belong in pad Thai.

As I eat, I realize that, flavorwise, it’s sweet and nothing else. Lime doesn’t help. The cubes of tofu break apart like dry sponges—and I like tofu, when it’s cooked or marinated or something, anything, please. Still, I devour it quickly, soundlessly, because I am high and hungry and eating feels good.

Luckily, I have a Rico’s Pizza delivery already scheduled, which I made while smoking on my couch earlier, of course. Thanks,!

As I’m walking home, my phone rings and I don’t want to answer it. I try to avoid answering the phone when I’m inebriated. Then it rings again. It’s the pizza guy, claiming to be at my building. But he’s not at my building. I’m at my building. So, I start stonedly arguing with the dude, like, come on, what? Then I realize I gave him the wrong address, because I was already dazed and confused when I put in the order hours earlier. Oops.

Anyway, I get the pizza and immediately flashback to my first encounter with Rico’s Pizza. My friend thought it’d be a great idea to order an extra large Rico’s for dinner without consulting anyone else, and my other friend wound up crying after one bite. It was, without a doubt, the worst pizza I have ever had.

I inspect. The bottom crust oddly splits into two parallel layers. The bottom resembles greasy cardboard while the top looks raw. The cheese can’t possibly be real cheese—there’s no stretch to it, no flavor. Its sweaty sheen best resembles rubber. Is there even tomato sauce? Where does Rico source his mushrooms? They look like shit. I am repulsed.

Yet, the process of eating feels too good. Weed doesn’t make bad food taste any better, it just makes you care less about whatever you’re forcing down your throat—and the fact that you just spent way too much money on awfulness. That slice of cake? $7. The pad Thai? $16 with tip. Rico’s? $20.

I might as well grab another slice.