So we had a photoshoot with Lily Berlin of El Molino winery and her chickens the other day, which I hear jacqi has already uploaded to the Solbar f’book page. Coupla things:
Lily runs a very tight operation. I would swear under oath that the chickens were actually taking orders from her.
What a stunning setting. The pictures don’t even do justice to the wildflowers, grass, and vineyards surrounding us, not to mention the Napa River about fifty yards away.
They’re got a very ergonomic chicken coop set up. It does not resemble the foghorn-leghorn contraptions of the cartoons of my youth.
Those eggs are delicious.
The solbar kitchen is throwing haymakers . . . . for lunch, the lamb gyro is back and we have a KILLER duck confit banh-mi-ish sandwich served with a green papaya and ripe mango salad. Don’t ask me to share. Oh yeah and we have black truffles on the breakfast menu.
Dinner–we have salmon with creamed super sweet white corn, peanut-molasses relish, and sauteed collards; halibut with black and fresh chickpeas, pickled kumquats, and artichoke persillade; pastrami-spiced ahi tuna with gnocchi, mustard, caraway, and corned beef shortrib; and tomorrow, pork belly with bacon-fat baked shallot, white verjus glaze, and these spicy little radish pods that Nick Zetts is bringing in.
Let’s see if i can get a picture uploaded here
That’s kind of been the undercurrent of thought in the kitchen lately . . . lots of intriguing ideas and ingredients making their way through. Borage flowers, wheatberries, powdered egg whites, Pope Valley beef tenderloin, cobia from the redneck riviera, etc.
AHA! finally I got a picture in there again! I’m more excited that Danny Amendola. Well, okay. He has 31 million reasons to be excited, and I have a 99 Tacoma, but still, good development here.
Fish tacos. I could eat them every day. I could use them to colonize San Diego or convert vegans or distract Dennis Rodman.
Half-ass culinary anthropology observation of the day: from my POV, the reason that a lot of the Asian foods that we’ve been working on involve pork, cabbage, and vegetables–transformed through exacting techniques into intricate finished products–are that these are relatively cheap and plentiful ingredients, made by rural folk (folks? why do we need both “folk” and “folks” when both are plural? It’s not the same as “fish” and “fishes”. It’s something else.) with a lot of time on their hands but not wealth. So the simple doughs became thin, delicate wrappers, precisely folded and lovingly cooked.
That’s my historical tidbit for the day and I hope I didn’t come off like Jimmy the Greek.
ACC tournament begins today. Expectations are medium to medium-lowish. GO HEELS!
How can ESPN POSSIBLY put Laettner and Hurley in the same regional bracket of their “Most Hated College BBall Player of all Time” Bracket? Did Danny Ferry come up with that? With help from Alarie, Parks, Wociejowski, and Redick, all sitting around Kryczewski’s cauldron? [EDIT: Duke got its own regional bracket, natch. I couldn't see that because the capillaries in my eyeballs were bursting when I first saw it last night.]
Been a while. Rant over.
New on the menu next week–confit of Niman ranch shoulder with pickled black trumpets and lots of other cool stuff like maybe braised carrots, TBD. Zach is figuring how to get a black-truffle-egg dish on the breakfast menu. Goose is cooking up wonders on the grill menu and preparing to take it over. We’re getting a Devil’s Gulch hog next week and Chef Brad Borchardt returns for a whole-beast feast on Friday night 3/22 with Asian-inspired pork preparations for the menu that expires on 3/31. Like JJ said, Get it while you can.
extremely unstoked that I can’t seem to post pictures here for the time being. thousands it seems things have happened since I last posted . . .
(Asian) comfort food menu up and running (tantanmen ramen, five-spice brisket steam buns, hijiki salad, etc),
amuse bouche program during solbar dining room dinner service (picture not included),
Tour of Sufferlandria only one day left,
Paul Lemieux from Auberge du Soleil joining us next wek to develop our dinner dessert menu (you will be blown away.),
Zach put pupusas on the lunch menu,
Lance caved but came off like he’s still hiding something,
why did the Grizzlies trade Rudy Gay?,
completely new cocktail menu started last night . . . winter is project time here at Solbar, because during the spring, summer, and fall, we just RUN.
And to top it off I have churrascaria swords and a ceramic Japanese hibachi on my desk, both borrowed from Jayson Woodbridge, over which to further cackle like Mr Burns. Swords and fire. My four-year-old son would be IMMENSELY impressed.
The new lounge menu kicked off this past Saturday night, from sushi rolls to hijiki salad to chiang mai steam buns to chicken noodle soup (okay, double-boiled cantonese chicken and ginger soup with shiitake wontons and chile oil:
And of course I upgraded to wordpress 3.5 and can no longer insert images into my posts. That’s not the least bit frustrating. OK, off to call the techies for help . . .
Photo essay of our last 48 hours.
So we have this glass cube of a satellite kitchen at the top of Diamond Mountain, with a view of the Farallons to the west and the Sierras to the east, equipped with Rational ovens, induction burners, massage chairs, heated floors, voice-command daiquiri machine, and Caddyshack/Die Hard on constant loop. We sprung for the extra $3,500,000 on a solar-powered cloaking device, so it’s invisible on sunny days, and in the fogbank on others, which means Don’t try to find it.
Gustavo and I have been working with Bradley Borchardt, developing menu items for our temporary switch to Asian comfort food in the Solbar Lounge for January-March 2013. I’m so full of noodles and dumplings at this moment that I can’t even stay awake to read the opening paragraph that I let Bradley ghost-write.
pork shoulder gyoza with ponzu sauce
hijiki salad with yam, fennel, and hosui pear
chilled sesame noodles
beijing style noodle salad with peanuts
green papaya salad with fresno chile
four of eight different test batches of hong kong style pork ribs
roasted chicken and shiitake soup dumplings. double-black-diamond territory here.
chilled chicken laab lettuce cups
five-spice beef brisket steam buns
family meal was an epic feast.
chiang mai sausage steam buns.
not pictured, but processed today: tempura long beans with uni mayonnaise, clear-steamed chicken soup with mushroom wontons, pork siu mai, tom ka, dungeness crab rangoon with sweet chile and lime, pork belly ramen with onsen egg, fried chicken . . .
Do not eat this post
on the menu tomorrow
Like a banh mi cart crashed into my commercial steamer. Which piece of equipment I’ve written to Santa about.
I ate four of these things in the kitchen already this afternoon. The fourth one was to make up for the cold beer that I should’ve been drinking instead.
And a lot of people are rightfully fired up about it, it’s not the most exciting event of 2012. We’ve been working up some fascinating (penny-ante) sociological studies in the kitchen lately–people behave oddly in a restaurant environment, yet are perhaps the truest versions of themselves–and I really want to find out if folks other then homesick Southerners will order the pimiento cheese (served with an arsenal of dipping weapons).
The first hurdle will be explaining the ingredients. I mean, it IS about 90% mayo and cheese. 95%
[verbal tirade excised at the insistence of Solage's lawyers]
AAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNd I was looking forward to giving you the recipe but I just spent the last 15 minutes ripping my office and the kitchen apart in search of it but I CANNOT FIND IT anywhere! I know I wrote it down on the back of half an old BEO but it’s not in the hanging file folder outside my office where I swear I left it.
So I CAN tell you that seeded and diced piquillo peppers taste much better in there than the traditional jar of pimiento peppers, and that beyond those three ingredients, you should add a dash each of Worcestershire and Louisiana Hot Sauce (red dot) and one more thing that’s driving me crazy not to remember.
The moral of the story: I need an executive assistant.
Good crowd at the release party for the 2013 Michelin Red Guide in SF last night, at Terra Gallery, close enough to AT&T Park that we saw the F-14s fly over us before the first pitch of the World Series. Ryder, Goose, Yordan and I made duck breast–actually duck ballotines–with garnet yam spuma, duck glace finished with saba, and pickled radicchio. Four other chefs had been invited to cook as well.
I had the honor of cooking for Bob Cook and Paula Brooks at the launch for their latest vintage of Dancing Hares. Here is the evidence . . .
And, for dessert, solbar will keep its Michelin star in the 2013 Red Guide! My heartfelt thanks, respect, and appreciation to everyone who puts on an apron in our kitchen. Everyone.