Chef's Blog

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

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.


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.