Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

November 19, 2010

“Sharp is executive chef of the Michelin-starred Solbar Restaurant in Calistoga. He is preparing turkey for Thanksgiving but will brine and roast the breast while deep frying the leg. This, he says, turns the different parts of the turkey into the best versions of themselves. Accompanying the turkey is one of his personal favorites — sour cream and chive whipped potatoes. At Solbar, Brandon concentrates on making the best possible version of traditional dishes. For the dish, Yukon potatoes are boiled then dried. Add hot sour cream and slowly add in chunks of cold butter (not melted). Sharp explains that using cold butter will result in creamier potatoes, while also letting you use more butter without making the dish too greasy. Whip potatoes and add in desired amount of chopped chives. Brandon recommends Fisher Vineyards “Unity” Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon; Lang & Reed’s “Two Fourteen” Cabernet Franc or Chateau Montelena’s “The Montelena Estate” Zinfandel with dinner.”

Read full story here

Recipes for the Good Life

“One of his signature dishes is Lucky Pig – it’s currently on the lunch menu (did you think I’d tease you with something you couldn’t have? Shame on you for thinking that.).”

November 17, 2010

Time for an interlude.  Autumn in Napa Valley is stunning.  Again, this is the best I can do with a camera phone from a moving truck . . . if you haven’t heard Ryan Bingham yet, he’s the perfect music for this ride . . .

Across the valley floor, from Highway 29 to the Trail.

Alongside the Napa River on Dunaweal Lane.


November 14, 2010

So far, about 1200 words have been written, erased, and are (thankfully, believe me) forever gone.  As I drove home from work tonight, I worried that this post could run to 50,000 words.  Points I want to make for sure:

I. Chang / Appleman follow the link–there’s a recent history.

II. Daniel Patterson v Chez Panisse follow the link–we may be doomed to repeat less-recent history.


November 10, 2010

Just got back from seven days in NYC:  two were filled with a variety of press interviews, two cooking at the apartment of an interested party, and three I spent almost solely walking and eating.  I hadn’t been to Manhattan since a 2003 trip with John Besh to cook at the James Beard House, and to make up for lost time, I bagged 34 restaurants on this trip.


(Which appearance got me almost as many funny looks as my frequent use of “y’all”).


According to Brandon Sharp, executive chef at Solage’s restaurant, Solbar, “Pasta with veggies is one of the quickest, easiest and most satisfying dishes you can make.”  The noodles provide protein and slow releasing engery, while produce addes nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.”

See the whole article here

October 31, 2010

The menu has changed a lot recently; the rains have started in NV, tourist traffic has slowed a tad, and we’ve had a couple of spare moments to change the menu around, several of which I’ve documented in the posts.  Tonight we changed the scallops out for a halibut entree.


October 30, 2010

We kept our star.  362 days to sweat till the next announcement . . .

October 26, 2010

Michelin Guide Bay Area 2011

“The Michelin Guide San Francisco storylines were shared yesterday, and today, the stars are finally out.”

October 26, 2010

March of the Michelin Stars: The Restaurant at Meadowood Gets a Triplet; Chez Panisse Gets Knocked Off The List

“Face and director of Michelin Jean Luc Naret, who recently announced he’s stepping down, reminds there are 10 total inspectors who travel throughout the year to cover all three U.S. cities with Michelin Guides. A third of the inspectors (so 3.333 people?) call the Bay Area home. “We spend a full year studying this region to produce our Guide and the effort is immensely satisfying,” he says. “This is quite simply one of the finest culinary regions in the world.”