Chef's Blog

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

August 13, 2011

We’re only going to put them on the menu when Barney over at Forni-Borwn Gardens has them ready, and he’s still more than a week out . . . a lot of cool, foggy mornings here in the valley this summer.  The rains better hold off till Halloween or we’re going a lot of despondent vintners.  Cooks can always move on to hard squash and turnips.

While tomatoes aren’t ready, it IS prime time for summer squash and eggplant, and Ryder, our Chef de Cuisine, came up with a killer riff on ratatouille and rice that is the only vegan and gluten-free option on our menu: eggplant involtini with saffron-tomato arancini, red pepper glaze, and squash ciambotta.

The preparation is so intricate that it would take 1K words to explain, but the natural sweetness of the vegetables, the creamy-crunchy of the arancini, and the perfect acid-sugar balance of the peeled sun gold tomatoes (which ARE ready) makes for a satisfying meal.

A few other mentions:

–Can’t wait to eat at La Condesa in St Helena when it opens, same goes for R Reddington’s pizza place in Yountville.  And French Blue (SH).

–Why the heck don’t the 49ers appease their fan base and acquire Tebow from Denver?  He’s obviously not wanted there, and I don’t think even Harbaugh can convince Alex Smith that he’s a winner again.  I’m not even a 49er fan and I think this should happen.  Coupla the A Smith games last year were flat-out unwatchable.

–Let’s just say my expectations for the UNC football season are low.  Let’s skip right on over to bball season where we’re preseason #1 with good reason(s).


One Response to “still no tomatoes. blargch.”

  1. Buva says:

    Chef Sharp-

    If you read these comments . . .

    Congratulations on the recent award from Cooking Light. I am hoping to be pleasently surprised by the football Tar Heels . . . but am prepared for a generation of mediocrity. Hoops should be fun.

    Shoot me an email (


    Brian (BUVA) Clarke

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