Solbar in Calistoga, CA

October 18, 2010 at 8:13 pm 2 comments

The fact that I was on a long-awaited family vacation may have influenced my thinking. Or perhaps it was the relief of  leaving behind Kansas City’s high humidity and temperatures. But a recent visit to Solbar restaurant in Napa Valley confirmed all the hype…this is a very special spot. We sat outside surrounded by palm trees, a fountain displaying water and fire, and a Beverly Hills-style pool, the combination of which set the stage for a very fun evening.

Recently awarded a Michelin star, Solbar is a trendy dining locale within Solage Calistoga hotel, showcasing the fresh produce of nearby farms in Northern California. Very capable servers steer  diners through a creative menu and help pair selections from a stunning wine list.

The cuisine is quintessential Calfornia fare, beautifully presented–chile-rubbed pork cheek tacos,  a  stunning tuna carpaccio, summer bean and miso stew,  scallops with a tomato-caper vierge,  chicken with beet and avocado purees, and “lucky pig”. The latter dish is for two and requires some assembly to make lettuce wraps and taco-like sandwiches with sesame crepes.

We explored two wines side by side, including a bottle of Chateau Montelena Zinfandel, not the grape featured in the movie “Bottle Shock”, but another enjoyable varietal, and a Keenan Merlot, which was very food-friendly.

Dessert was the exclamation point to a fabulous meal, the “We All Scream” sundae. Ever heard of popcorn ice cream? Combine that with a scoop of peanut ice cream, cinammon peanuts, caramelized bananas and, of course, hot fudge sauce, and nothing more needs to be said.

My idea of a perfect evening.

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Entry filed under: culinary travel, restaurants. Tags: , , .

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