High Country: Recapping the revelry at The Pullman’s 2nd annual 4/20 dinner
The Glenwood Springs staple marked the high holiday with a munchies-inspired menu
With a classic stoner playlist of Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Sublime and Cypress Hill turned way up on the speakers and munchies-satisfying gourmet dishes on the table, the only thing missing at The Pullman’s second annual “420 High Holiday Dinner” was the joyous ritual of passing a joint around a table amongst friends.
When the announcement email from The Pullman came across my inbox, I immediately called to make a reservation (lesson learned after it was already sold out when I tried to get a coveted table last year).
Fully booked again within a few hours after announcing its next special supper “in a regular series of irregularly scheduled events,” The Pullman paid homage to the unofficial national cannabis holiday with a five-course menu paired with libations ($75 per person) inspired by “the attack of the munchies.”
With public cannabis consumption illegal in Garfield County (and most of Colorado with the exception of Denver, which is in the process of licensing social lounges) anywhere aside from the privacy of your own home, The Pullman’s invite encouraged guests to “come as you will” — subtly suggesting to light up or pop an edible before arrival.
My dinner date and I made the drive down to Glenwood Springs on April 20 with a few minutes to spare before the one-and-only 7 p.m. seating and shared a vape pen during a risqué riverside walk.
We watched from our high-top for two as the restaurant filled to max capacity and reviewed the printed menu in front of us — adorned with a piglet sitting blissfully on a pot leaf (an art installation on the front wall reads “eat more pork!” in graffiti). As the staff simultaneously delivered the first round of drinks to each table, general manager Brandon Cambron welcomed the lively crowd, “We hope you had a little fun before and are a little hungrier now.”
Back in the kitchen, chef John Little — who took over majority ownership of The Pullman when longtime down valley restauranteur Mark Fischer and his wife Lari Goode announced their retirement earlier this year — was orchestrating the only community 4/20 party in the Roaring Fork Valley (at least to my knowledge).
“(Fischer) was always willing to push the envelope. In 2021, the original idea was that we would do something with THC(-infused) food and we went down that road, but obviously realized there were serious implications as far as us operating as a restaurant with a liquor license,” Little explained during a post-dinner phone interview. “So we said, let’s just do a munchies theme instead. We were slightly concerned about people coming in too high and having too many cocktails, which could turn into a recipe for disaster, but everyone was in such a good mood and loved the food, so we decided to make it an annual thing.”
Little, who grew up in Maryland and got his start locally as a sous chef at Fischer’s 689 in 2008, has consumed cannabis for his “whole life” and admitted, “I don’t smoke as much anymore, but how far (legalization) has (progressed) is crazy … I can’t even imagine where (it’ll) be in the next five years. A lot of what is happening with cannabis and the culinary world is beyond my comprehension … I have a lot to learn. But for now — the world I’m in at the restaurant — we obviously follow the rules, so we’re not there yet in terms of me being able to start experimenting. But It’s definitely something I will give a shot once the laws catch up.”
As for Little’s inspiration on such a unique spin on what The Pullman likes to refer to the sometimes side-effect of “the blind, screaming munchies”?
“We wanted to play off of things that are comical and whimsical in cannabis culture — like Cheez Whiz, cereal milk (inspired by Christina Tosi), mac ’n’ cheese and Funyuns — in the same vein as we always do at The Pullman. For all of our special dinners (May TBA) or new dishes, we try to take a theme or idea and elevate it to a point where it’s reminiscent, but different,” he added.
The Pullman’s 4/20 dinner did just that perfectly. And hopefully Colorado will let us imbibe together socially in 4/20’s to come.
The menu from The Pullman’s 4/20 “attack of the munchies” pairing dinner. | Courtesy Rising Sun Photog
Korean corn dog, potato, gochujang aioli, house-made “Funyuns,” caviar ranch, oxtail French onion, gruyere “Cheez Whiz”
Paired with coconut rum, pineapple, thyme, hibiscus, lemon, CBD
Mushroom taco, cilantro tortilla, queso fresco, avocado, salsa macha
Paired with Voodoo Brewing Co. Good Vibes West Coast IPA
Lobster mac’n’cheese, mascarpone, orecchiette, pari crisp, chive oil
Paired with Loosen Bros. sparkling Riesling (Dr. Loosen Sekt Extra Dry; Mosel, Germany)
Thai BBQ pork ribs, tostones, spicy green papaya salad
Paired with Snow Capped Cider’s 6130’ Dry
Fried cereal milk, banana anglaise, bacon caramel
Paired with cinnamon toast milk, rum and whiskey
“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.