Tomorrow, Feb. 8, downtown’s Café Hitchcock will launch a new menu of beverages chef/owner Brendan McGill is calling wellness lattes for their purported health benefits. Even saying the words “wellness” and “latte” together evokes a slow eye roll and a heavy sigh. But before you judge a drink by its hippy-dippy name, know that a man who knows how to cure bacon as well as McGill does can’t possibly lead us too far astray.
To Seattleites, the menu (see below) reads a little like a pamphlet for a Southern California spa, and some of the ingredients you’ll definitely have to Google. But perhaps most intriguing is the addition of CBD—the non-psychoactive component of marijuana that’s all the rage for its anxiety-reducing properties.
McGill said the idea came to him on a trip to Los Angeles (of course) last summer. Before heading to the airport to come home, he stopped at an organic market called Erewhon and picked up a bottled lemonade—a bottled lemonade boasting 20mg CBD. He chugged it before getting on the plane. “My assistant said she’d never seen me so relaxed, but not inebriated,” he says. “It just has this really chill effect on your body.” His lattes will have a softer effect, with only 5mg instead of 20.
For those unfamiliar with the marijuana industry, things are changing at a break-neck speed. (Check out the story we wrote about the awesome assortment of high-quality edibles here.) Because demand is there, more farmers are focusing on breeding plants to meet certain qualifications, in the same way farmers do when they’re growing the very best cherries or tomatoes. McGill says a friend of his moved from Bainbridge to Oregon to grow organic hemp that doesn’t have enough THC to be considered marijuana. (THC is the psychoactive component.) The farmer’s facility extracts CBD from these hemp plants and sells it to McGill—totally legal, which is why McGill was able to purchase CBD in California before the legalization kicked in, and food-safe as well. But, he says, he’s still having a hard time convincing even the building managers that he’s not just selling weed.
McGill is no newbie to the health-food game—his Bainbridge juice bar, Verjus, shuttered last summer in order to expand into a larger space. He says he’s hit a few roadblocks with getting the bottled cold-pressed juices off the ground—the permitting process is “harder than when you’re making charcuterie,” he says—but you’ll be able to find poured juices at Café Hitchcock come tomorrow as well.
As for the CBD and other health supplements, McGill says he wants people to rethink how they approach their to-go routine—opt for something that makes you feel good instead of another chocolate croissant and triple mocha. He says, “I want people to have this wonderful treat: it’s delicious, it feeds your soul, it makes you happy and it’s good for your body.”
Café Hitchcock: Downtown, 818 First Ave.; 206.467.5078; cafehitchcock.com
FYI, these won’t all roll out at once.