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Cannabis Chef Opens New Bar and Lounge in SoCal

Chris Sayegh (The Herbal Chef) is the owner and operator of Nostalgia Bar, and Lounge. The bar and lounge opened its doors in Santa Monica in February.

Food has always been a part of Chris Sayegh’s life. From his youthful experiences hosting cooking competitions in his parents’ backyard to his personal discovery of cannabis while studying molecular cell biology and physiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Sayegh’s influence on the culinary infusion of cannabis into fine dining is legendary. The Herbal Chef is a company that has raised the standards of cannabis cooking since 2013. He talked with Chronic NewsThe February 2022 issue features his initial experiences with cannabis and the path that led to him where he is now.

“Cannabis deserves to be recognized as the superfood it is and plated with other foods,” Sayegh told Chronic News. “It’s way past time for diners to be enlightened to this point. Cannabis is just another dish at the table that can induce happiness. Every time our guests are fed, my colleagues and I observe this. It’s not rocket science, it’s the science of foods that uplift and heal.”

Sayegh’s values have led to the creation of Nostalgia Bar and Lounge, a 21+ venue that does not offer infused food, but does offer a wide variety of unique menu items, live music, and best of all, enticing CBD- and terpene-infused cocktails.

The menu will change regularly during each season, as according to Sayegh’s and Chef Jared Ventura’s current inspirations, to present elevated dishes that are inspired by childhood food favorites. The current offerings include Branzino Fish & Chips, Lobster Roll with Caviar, Dry Aged Porterhouse Burger infused with Wagyu Fat, Kobe Toast and Seasonal Trifles.

Back in 2018, cannabis cocktails were banned by the Los Angeles Health Department until Assembly Bill 45 was passed—and legalized CBD in food, beverages, cosmetics and dietary supplements, as of October 2021. Now Nostalgia will bring back the infused cocktails again with an “Enchanted Tiki Whip” (a play off the popular Dole Whip throughout Disney theme parks), “WooHoo” (inspired by YooHoo Chocolate Milk) and “How Many Licks” (with flavors that mimic that of a Tootsie Pop). Even better, you can request any drink to be infused with CBD or other terpenes.

Nostalgia is also the venue where the “Secret Supper Club”—a limited, private members-only “speakeasy”—is held. The Secret Supper Club will be returning to Nostalgia on April 4, according to the Herbal Chef. The Secret Supper Club originally began in 2020, “in response to rules & regulations that decimated the Food Service Industry and continue to criminalize the use of plant medicines,” the Secret Supper Club states on The Herbal Chef website. For 10-20 people, the club offers a 12 course meal with infused cocktails and wine pairings.

Secret Supper Club

“Each plate is expertly dosed according to personal tolerance thresholds—our goal is to accent each dish with cannabis. We take every precaution to never leave our guests feeling overwhelmed, but if you’d like to travel the stars—we’re more than happy to accommodate.” Chefs Sayegh and Ventura agree that the inspiration behind the Secret Supper Club is to celebrate cannabis infusions.

“The Secret Supper Club menu is about having a fully integrated Cannabis Hospitality experience for our members and at its core, excellent food and beverage,” The Herbal Chef told Chronic News.

With plenty of plans for live music and a lot of excitement to follow Nostalgia’s circulating menu options, we’re excited to see what this bar and lounge continues to offer locals and visitors to Santa Monica, California in the future.