Chef's Blog

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

September 23, 2010

It’s difficult if not impossible to eat your way from Calistoga to Napa this time of year without tasting every California fruit (except Meyer lemons) you could name.  From apriums to pluots to nectarines, figs, and every berry, all are featured on both the sweet and savory sides of our menus.  But what about Napa Valley’s most widely-planted fruit?

Oh, right.


September 21, 2010

a few new items out there for solbar . . .

Check out the new Food Arts page 66 (the September issue, which is on newsstands but not online as of today).  I was really excited to participate in their mystery basket feature till they told me the secret ingredient was roofing nails.  Tough, tough.

LeAnn Rimes graces the cover of the new SHAPE magazine and she forgot to put on her chef coat.  Solbar is on page 154.

Lastly, the 2011 ZAGAT survey came out for SF-Bay Area today.  Our first time in there.  If you love us, vote early and often for 2012.

September 20, 2010

“No no, I think it’s my phone.  I just want to make usre I heard you correctly: you did say beef shin right?  As in bone-in beef shank.?

Conventional culinary wisdom says to pick a killer ingredient and then build a dish around it.  No chef I know would, by choice, begin with beef shin.  Choice, however, is not a factor in this exercise (late of my “Sounds Like Fun’ list, new to my “WTFIT?” list), because the beef shin is prescribed, as are 29 other ingredients.  It’s a free country, but not when you work with Food Arts on MYSTERY BASKET”

-Chef Brandon Sharp – Food Art September 2010

Read the Full Article Here

September 17, 2010

Thanks first of all to Jay McInerney, write of Bright Lights, Big City (among others), who posted a great write-up of solbar last week right here.  Jay writes for the WSJ, and I may have foamed at the mouth while describing the parmigiano mousse, the lack of which, in a bad peach season, is of course the true source of the US blues.


“The next couple of nights, I stayed at the Mt. View Inn, my old standby in Calistoga, and dined at Solbar at Solage, the new hotel resort which is part of the Auberge de Soleil group. Solage has given the little hot springs town a serious injection of style, and its restaurant, which recently received a Michelin star, has revived the spirits of local foodies after the closing of the Wappo Grill. Chef Brandon Sharp’s food is well worth a detour—he’s great at deep frying, though there is a spa side of the menu and an appetizer of peaches and onions with a parmesan foam was one of the best things I’ve had this summer.”

Full Story

Time to update the bar menu again, and these two were done pretty much on the fly yesterday afternoon.

Cheese fritters–the new and undisputed heavyweight champ of the mozzarella stick weight-class–with genovese basil from our garden and hot fra diavolo for dunking.

Ant the extra crispy cobb salad, which contains all the required ingredients, then some twice-fried chicken wings.


August 28, 2010

Tonight we hosted a winemaker dinner (Meet the Maker–you like that?) for Kelly Fleming, one of our Vintner Members at Solage.  Of course, I was so worked up about the ingredients and other common frustrations in the kitchen that I forgot to take pictures of the food.  It was all gorgeous, so just imagine that.


August 22, 2010

Ryder and Greg met at the garden at Fisher Vineyards on Friday, and I headed over there in the pickup this morning for tomatoes, only golf-ball size but incredibly sweet and juicy;


August 20, 2010

Changing the menu is more than just up and switching around some print and a few ingredients. Tonight we had two dinner entree menu changes, lemon steamed sole with black corinth grapes, icicle radish, pickled shiitake, broccoli, cashews, and lime, and petaluma chicken a la plancha with calasparra rice croquettes, salsa diablo, sun gold tomatoes and sugar snaps.


After an old friend’s wedding and an intensive tour of Govan, Strathloanhead, and Avonbridge, as well as some other, better-known parts of Scotland, I was back in the kitchen this week, and what a firestorm it has been.  We are incredibly fortunate at solbar to be screaming busy–last night and again during lunch today, I was expediting and the tickets were coming out of the printer much faster than I could call them.  Several times during each service, a string of them reached all the way down to the floor . . . thankfully, we have a wonderful atmosphere and very patient guests.  And plenty of ink.