Chef's Blog

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

Dungeness crab bisque with saffron foam and rouille:

Poached egg with Perigord black truffles, beurre colbert, and Lyonnaise potatoes:

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January 18, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson practiced a highly editorial, sometimes mostly factual form of writing that he called gonzo journalism.  When asked, he said that GONZO is “learning to fly while falling”.

I’ve worked with a few amazing gonzo cooks.  John Besh absolutely could not be stumped, be the ingredient wild arugula or wild boar still on the hoof.  Eric Ziebold, who was the chef de cuisine at The French Laundry during the two years I cooked there, was the king of gonzo cooking.  Watching those two, I learned to be especially wary when someone makes it look easy.

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January 17, 2011

“Poolside patio at Solbar is the spot to get a glass of wine and watch the sun go down over the Mayacama mountains across the valley. The Euro lounge-y vibe and a bar menu — served until midnight — with all the comforting basics make it an ideal place should you want to eat after most restaurants’ closing time of 9 p.m. (they get to bed early in wine country). Early risers, too, will find rare respite with breakfast and a Sunday brunch menu. While there’s a slightly trendy vibe, don’t be surprised if a couple wanders in wearing bathrobes — Solbar sits on the premises of Solage Resort. The haute-hearty dinner menu has garnered raves, though, and Solbar stands alone as a singular distention.”

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January 16, 2011

So the soup that went on the menu tonight, replacing the lentil soup at dinner (though we’ll still serve it at lunch for a while), is basically a Southern winter minestrone.  On the menu, it reads smoked ham shank broth, which says a lot but kind of understates the case.

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Are finally uploaded, and I will post them soon.  This message will serve as a teaser.  Delayment of gratification is a good thing, no?  Yes.

January 9, 2011

That phrase means something dramatic in Bridge, but I always forget what; I don’t play often.  ”Jump shift” doesn’t sound as smart as “paradigm shift”, another phrase I don’t understand (which has never stopped me from using it, whether the conversation centers on Lindsey Lohan and Bruce Pearl going to jail or just some famous chef’s next great idea.  Wait, neither LL nor Coach Pearl went to actual jail?  Be patient).  No visuals here, the Google Chrome search for “jump bridge photo” didn’t go as planned.  Victuals instead of visuals:

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(David Foster Wallace said it first).

The Blanc de Blancs probably wasn’t cold enough, and when I sabered it (outdoors with only me in the blast radius, thank goodness) it popped like a .357 and sent green shrapnel in every direction.  The flat strained remnants of the wine are in the margarita pitcher in the background.  No more sabering without a kevlar vest, a welder’s mask, and a call to Lloyd’s of London.

There were technical difficulties.  So here’s the beef tenderloin, roasted with garlic, thyme, and butter:

The tech difficulties continue, I can’t upload the shot of rosemary-roasted Brussels sprouts.  Here is the potato gratin with roasted garlic, somewhat blurred but not without its rustic charm:

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January 1, 2011

the pledge:the turn (tilt your head to the left . . .):

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the prestige: