Chef's Blog

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

October 24, 2010

because we’re going for a ride.

Here’s the white board again with a slew of fall menu ideas; the ones that are crossed off are live if they have a date next to them, and dead if they don’t (pending ideas are the ones remaining).  In addition to what’s on the board, there are a beet salad with navel oranges and cracked hazelnuts, a hot and cold endive salad with avocado and grapefruit, and a salad of young greens from Forni-Brown Gardens with pomegranate vinaigrette and pickled fennel.


October 19, 2010

Serious Eats

What to eat in Napa Valley

“I’m a big fan of dinners that require some assembly at the table: give me some lettuce and pancakes for wrapping, sauces to smear, and free rein to create my own masterpiece, and I’m happy to roll up my sleeves. The classy patio at Solbar in Calistoga may not seem the most obvious place for freeform finger food, but their Lucky Pig is as delicious as it is fun. One order ($36) is big enough for two (or three) diners, making it the best value on the menu by far.”

October 18, 2010

Around the BLOCK

Solbar in Calistoga

“But a recent visit to Solbar restaurant in Napa Valley confirmed all the hype…this is a very special spot. We sat outside surrounded by palm trees, a fountain displaying water and fire, and a Beverly Hills-style pool, the combination of which set the stage for a very fun evening.”

October 12, 2010

Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog

Things To Do In Napa #2: Fried Doughy Love

“I mentioned one such example of culinary decadence in an earlier post. The doughnut holes produced at Solbar located on the grounds of the sumptuous Solage Spa and Resort located just south of Calistoga provides a second example of something that makes foodies crawl up into a fetal position and rock back and forth.”

October 10, 2010

I prepped 18 of those salads, made one for the cooks and I to taste, made one for the servers to taste at lineup.  The sixteen remaining salads sold out before 7pm and we had to reprint menus!  It outsold the peaches and the heirloom tomatoes, which I thought nothing but lobster risotto would be able to do.


October 9, 2010

And from that produce order, here is our salad of six root vegetables (red beet, baby chiogga beet, parsley root, celery root, tokyo turnip, and french round carrot) with six techniques (fried, crudo, a la grecque, puree, sous vide, and glazed) with rosemary pistou.

October 9, 2010

Dale Murphy is still my favorite baseball player.  I’m surrounded by supposed Giants fans, but none of them spoke up during the regular season, and I suspect they’re kind of closeted because they still secretly support Barry Bonds and his Easter Island-ish skull.  Anyway:  Ankiel.

Last night’s new items on the produce order sheet:

watermelon radish

black radish

meyer lemon

celery root

tokyo turnip

french round carrot

parsley root

baby chiogga beets

large red beets



Calistoga’s Michelin Star at the Bar – Food

“Because of its status as the sole restaurant at a secluded resort, Solbar has to serve every meal, every day, to the wide variety of people passing through its doors.  Unlike many restaurants in this position, though, Solbar actually succeeds at churning out top-quality, stylish, satisfying cuisine for guests of every preference and persuasion.  And the warm welcome isn’t reserved for those who chose to sit in the main dining room.”

September 29, 2010

heather in a candy shop


“We ate at Solbar, a Michelin star restaurant that seems to be universally agreed upon as the best restaurant in town among locals. We went indulgent and got a full three courses each.  By the end, my Ever wrap dressmay or may not have snapped open when I breathed too hard. I admit nothing.”

September 26, 2010

In my purely speculative forays into why the East coast has better and more diverse fish for eating than we do on the West coast, I’ve formulated a (boring, predictable?) theory:  the West coast is newer (geologically), with a harsher, more dramatic coastline, fewer harbors, deltas, marshes, and the like.  More rocky beaches and cliffs.  So our marine life is rock-clingers (like mussels and oysters), flatfish (halibut and petrale sole), and strong deep-ocean swimmers (amberjack and tuna).  East coast fish have gentle tides, places to hide from predators, and a broader continental shelf.  It’s entirely possible this theory is already well-known or shot to hell, either one without my knowing it, but it makes sense to me, but then so did Clerks 2.