It is with abundant thanks to Dixon Hospitality and the fantastic peeps at Queenies in Surry Hills that I got to attend the most fun dining experience I have ever had, that of the 420 Stoner Dinner on the appropriate April 20. 420, 4:20, or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a code-term that refers to the annual consumption of cannabis and by extension, as a way to identify oneself with cannabis culture. Observances based on the number 420 include smoking cannabis around the time 4.20pm, as well as smoking and celebrating cannabis on the date April 20 (4/20 in U.S. form). The origins of 420 have been greatly debated but Wiki lists it as thus:
A group of people in San Rafael, California, calling themselves the Waldos because “their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school”, used the term in connection with a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about, based on a treasure map made by the grower. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4.20pm as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. Several failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean marijuana-smoking in general. Mike Edison says that Steven Hager of Hight Times was responsible for taking the story about the Waldos to “mind-boggling, cult-like extremes” and “suppressing” all other stories about the origin of the term.
It is here that I will mention that while I no longer smoke Mary Jane I was a fifteen year addict and at one stage was invited to the US to be a judge for a High Times marijuana international competition. Haha. Oh times have changed but you can see the appeal of this foodie night had on me, I was literally a school kid in a candy story giggling at everything, and I wasn’t even smoking weed.
Weed smoking in NSW is still illegal and while the dinner was a tribute and themed event based on 420 in no way does the venue, Queenies allow or encourage smoking at the venue, it was quite funny seeing an Irish tourist ask if it was OK to smoke weed in the restaurant or would they have to go outside and it was also funny seeing quite a few red-eyed and “somewhat confused” patrons working out what their meals were haha.
There was a giant smoking doobie hanging from the roof and smoke machines occasionally filling the venue with smoke. When not hosting 420 dinners Queenies is actually a Jamaican restaurant so the decor is well suited to a 420 dinner. It is very retro Jamaican with flags, people and cultural items all over the place, you could spend a bit of time just appreciating the kitsch joy of the venue. Our tables were appropriately appointed with colouring in themed paper, crayons and scatterings of lollies and Cheesos/ Twisties.
Myself and my guest for the eve, Bec, were invited guests of the venue but the 420 dinners are once a year and they have a Queenies meal night that is similarly inspired in around September/ October of each year. Follow their FB (link below) to find out more and keep in the loop. If you were buying your ticket it would be $55- for a four course meal with an added surprise course and more treats throughout the meal with a normal purchase bar and themed cocktails on offer. The cocktails were a little exxy for the size but they were bloody amazing, it is again with thanks to Queenie’s manager, Jacqui, who refused my payment for the drinks and totally spoiled us.
Queenies is located upstairs at The Forresters bar in Surry Hills and is ranked as one of the best food venues in Sydney on Zomato. It is layed back, fun and ever so colourful and is darkly mood lit, this made the pics a challenge but made our experience much more enjoyable, as I am sure it did the stoned monkeys there to pig out. The foodie girls sitting next to us had been to every one of the 420 or Queenies’ special nights and thought this was actually their tamest event but enjoyed the experience. I was in heaven. Every single dish was a treat of some sort that embraced what stoners would just pig out on when in the munchies state and the music played was every stoner greatest hits from Marley to Cyrpus Hill to Peter Tosh and so on, I was so impressed it truly embraced the 420.
Above is my cocktail, the STONER DELIGHT – rum, chocolate and banana foam $16- – it was amazing!! They also had a bunch of others and a chocolate one I would have killed for that was filled with cocopops :).
We then started with what was my favourite meal of the night, it was just amazing and had me stinging to smoke a doobie and appreciate it in its deserved state. This was the PEANUT BUUTER AND JELLY S’MORES FRIES haha. Even hearing it again makes me giggle again, and while most gourmands would be turning their noses at even the sound of it the flavours were sublime and I wanted a second bowl!
Following the S’MORES FRIES my guest, Lady Tupper aka Bec, tried to have a cone lols. This was THE CONE – a pizza lamb kebab with yoghurt and chilli and topped with the green. The top half of it went down a bit dry and it appears the sauces oozed to the bottom. The pizza dough on this one was a bit thick but the idea was there and it was successful. Sadly though when I got towards the bottom and bit into it the yoghurt and chilli literally jizzed themselves across the table haha. I still loved the idea behind it and I am stoked that I got a photo of Bec looking like this hahaha. Bec thought this one could have something on top that you needed to literally light with a lighter so it fully did the “cone” thing, I explained this probably would break a lot of council “nanny state” regulations but sounded awesome.
And then came out the best sweet of the night, the most amazing surprise mid-meal course; CHURROS HOTDOGS WITH COOKIES AND CREAM ICE CREAM, CHOCOLATE SAUCE AND PRETZEL CRUMBS – just read the title again, I need not explain how freaking awesome this dish was. I finished the dish with diabetes and it was worth it. QUEENIES I LOVE YOU.
I squealed when the main arrived, it was literally INDIAN TAKEAWAY, all in the paper bags with the food in takeaway contains inside, I am pretty sure I even clapped it’s arrival. Sadly I wasn’t a huge fan of the contents, something this savoury did not suit being served following the above CHURROS HOTDOGS, perhaps if I was really stoned I would have inhaled it all but I barely ate it, but Bec ate it all and loved it. It contained Charred chicken tikka, coconut rice, lime pickle, onion bhaji and naan. Loved the naan and scooped up a fair bit of the tikka and rice with it, but the lighting was so dark and I thought the little container had pieces of chicken in it so whacked an entire forkful into my mouth to find out it was the lime pickle, where my mouth screwed up and I cried on the inside.
And after the main came the dessert, the OMFG FRIED DOUGHNUTS: Maple bacon custard, sweet chilli peanuts. These were small doughnuts and that maple bacon custard, holy shit it was awesome, there was lots of bacon pieces in it. I found the doughnuts a bit over fried, I could taste the browned sugar a little too overdone and I never got the sweet chilli taste, I did love them though and a little admit, I could only eat one and half of them but Bec, she ate hers and finished off mine. If I hadn’t just eaten so much food I would be all over these, considering Bec is about 1/4 the size of me I have no idea how she did it all, bottomless pit me thinks.
And to finish it off we got mini toffee apples, actually made with apple scooped with a melon baller, I loved them but that toffee – OMG – pretty sure I took a layer of teeth off, it’s been so long since I have eaten toffee, Bec couldn’t eat them so I had to take one for the team and make boobs out of them for pics before devouring them :).
The food wasn’t perfection although those S’mores fries were pretty bloody close. The desserts won out on this meal for me, but stoners would always pick sugar over anything else so overall the concept is perfection. I award more points to this venue purely on the concept and the logistics involved and the ease with which it was all pulled off, it was the crusiest and most laid back joy of a night and I cannot thank QUEENIES or Dixon Hospitality enough. See you guys in October for the next one :).
Level 1 336 Riley Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW (top floor of The Forresters)
Phone: (02) 9212 3035
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) ate as an invited guest of the venue but to be frank, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.