High Country: Talking food, wine and weed with Colorado’s highest podcast hosts
Just dropping its third season, “Stoned Appétit” has gained a cult following in Colorado and beyond
“Stoned Appétit” is available for download now, with new episodes dropping on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week through December. Find “Stoned Appétit” socially @stoned_appetit and online at stoned-appetit.com.
There’s not a more perfect title for a podcast about food and weed than “Stoned Appétit.”
Co-hosted by friends Kip Wilson and Chris Byard, each episode is dedicated to the things they’re most passionate about: food, weed, booze and live music. Both Denverites who relocated to the Mile High City a decade ago from Mississippi and Alabama, respectively, they came together through their “close-knit jam band circle from a large swath of Southern folks who moved west.”
Wilson got his start in the world of podcasting through a side hustle as a sports blog contributor, ultimately launching his own show “Transplants & The Native” in 2018 and bringing Byard on board soon after when they rebranded as “Stoned Appétit.” Just dropping its third season in August, the podcast has gained a cult following for the duo’s hilarious banter and impressive guest list of local celebrity chefs (ChoLon’s chef and owner Lon Symensma), mainstream musicians (Greensky Bluegrass’ Paul Hoffman), industry insiders (Veritas Fine Cannabis’ Mike Leibowitz) and hospitality heavyweights (Edible Beats’ Justin Cucci) while earning sponsorships from the likes of Live Nation Colorado, LivWell and Kyoto Botanicals.
In celebration of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this weekend, where CBD will be welcomed back into the Grand Tasting Pavilion (hey, it’s a start!), these best buds share their cannabis-infused musings about dream interviews, epic munchies and the social consumption conundrum.
KATIE SHAPIRO: Favorite interview so far?
KIP WILSON: I don’t know if I have a favorite … they’ve all been enlightening in different ways. But (interviewing) chef Kelly Whitaker back in 2019 in the basement of The Wolf’s Tailor, right as they were opening up in Denver. We were sitting on the stacks of wood he would be burning in his big ass oven. Being able to continue enjoying his restaurants and Kelly’s friendship over the years is pretty high up there.
CHRIS BYARD: That’s an incredibly tough question. I can’t truthfully pick one as we have met so many fascinating people who are extremely talented at what they do and insanely passionate about the community they serve. But, since we are on the topic of Aspen, a great interview that comes to mind is when we met general manager Kevin Lind and executive chef Richard Lee of EMP Winter House at the St. Regis. We interviewed them in a yurt and had discussed “burger integrity” during a debate of Shake Shack versus In-N-Out. They showed us a lot of love (in the form of black truffles) when we dined with them later that night! P.S. We were so high at that dinner … it was amazing!
KS: Are you high for every episode?
CB: Cannabis plays a large role in both my personal and group creative process. We also toss around
ideas and try to come up with new segments or questions for guests when we’re stoned. Shit, we conduct most of our interviews high. I’m not talking stoned out our minds, just the casual creative buzz.
KS: And who’s your dream guest?
KW: Guy Fieri. Hands down. Back in the day (I loved) getting high and watch him eat gluttonous, dank food around the country. He’s an idol … he dresses like a clown and I love him for it. Lean into the Godfather of Garlic … embrace him!
KS: What are your local haunts for the best munchies?
KW: We have a lot of friends from back home in the South who call the Aspen area home, so we come to visit a few times a year. White House Tavern’s crispy chicken sandwich is the size of your f–king head. Zane’s Tavern has sturdy wings and casual eats without going deep in pocket. The last time (I was in town), 7908 was delicious and chef Byron Gomez has been slaying it recently, so I need to come back and see what he’s up to. But one of the best things about Aspen is hanging out around town with friends at spots like D’Angelico Guitars, Aspen Hatter and late nights at Fat City Gallery — shit like that is more fun than going to Matsuhisa … no offense.
CB: I first visited Aspen in 2010 to catch one of my favorite bands, Wilco, play Jazz Aspen Snowmass. But my first time really diving into the city happened a few years later when I returned as a volunteer for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. During a break, I remember stumbling across White House Tavern and popped in … what a great spot … I had the fish sandwich and loved every bite. I’ve had lunch there every visit since. Grateful Deli is also one of my favorite spots … solid subs, but I am a bigger fan of the panini sandwiches. And last, but not least, Zane’s Tavern … great place to grab beers and fried goods.
KS: Go-to Colorado cannabis products?
KW: I’m probably a plain Jane in this aspect, but I love my vape pens. You can hit ’em casually in a public space without a big stink, you can fly with them wherever you go (shhh) and they’re inconspicuous in everyday scenarios. After work, I love to throw a little flower into some glass and get high and watch sports or romcoms. But seeing as I’m usually on the go, I love the Seed & Smith Dart vape pen right now … that thing pops.
KS: How do you think the intersection of the cannabis and food scenes in Colorado has evolved since legalization?
KW: I feel like it’s been a mutual boom since recreational (cannabis became) legal. (Denver’s) not just a steak town anymore. We talk with guests who are natives and they say how downtown was relatively dead in the early 2000s after work. Now there are 150 happy hours! With social consumption laws being passed, we’re starting to realize it might change. I’d love to start seeing more spots in town that are combined with restaurants … chicken wings and dab rigs! Burgers and bongs! A Stoned Appétit Café?! Tourists come to Colorado and buy our weed and basically still have nowhere to puff (legally) right now. Like, why are we making it so difficult for people to smoke the product we as a state embrace and benefit from its tax dollars? I hope to see cannabis lounges regulated like bars eventually … but good things take time.