Solage, Auberge Resorts Collections Opens Picobar, A New Contemporary Mexican Restaurant
Napa Valley’s favorite resort adds color to the local culinary scene with a seasonally driven menu that celebrates Northern California’s ingredients and coastal Mexico’s traditions
NAPA VALLEY, Calif. (July 7, 2021) – Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection today introduces Picobar, the newest poolside dining destination for modern, Mexican cuisine in Napa Valley. Building off the world-class reputation of the resort’s signature restaurant, Solbar, Executive Chef Gustavo Rios has designed the resort’s second restaurant to playfully exhibit a fusion of his two homes: coastal Ensenada, Mexico and Northern California’s wine country. Picobar artfully balances the traditions of casual, family-style dining in Mexico and the hometown spirit of Napa Valley. Its name “pico,” which translates to “peak,” captures the ethos of the year-round eatery, which is depicted by seasonally driven dishes with the highest quality ingredients from local and regional purveyors. Picobar is situated near the landmark pool, which is the largest in Napa Valley. Equally meant for a refreshing poolside bite on a hot summer day or a fun night out with family and friends, Picobar is set to become a must-see dining destination for locals and visitors of Napa Valley.
“Picobar is the vibrant, playful younger sister of Solbar,” said Gustavo Rios, executive chef, Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection. “For me, Picobar is a passion project and a perfect marriage of the two places I am most passionate about in the world—and the cuisine and ingredients that represent them.”
Picobar highlights include:
Cuisine that lends itself to the energy of the place
Chef Rios’s menu comprises local ingredients sourced from the mountains, valleys and rivers in respective peak seasons, and traditional and authentic ingredients from Mexico. When combined, these influences evoke simple pleasures and a sense of sunny nostalgia.
“We are thrilled to unveil Picobar, the final piece of our resort reimagination, which blends modern design with expertly crafted dishes and drinks that amplify the creative energy that is signature to Solage,” said Todd Cilano, regional vice president and general manager, Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection. “Picobar invites guests to grab a bite and a cocktail to enjoy by the pool or sit down and stay awhile to share stories and memories over family-style and shareable dishes.”
Mexican flavor is a creative lens for Picobar’s crisp and clean cuisine. For example, its take on guacamole is far from a garden variety style but instead, a Whipped Avocado Dip featuring avocados from Bernard Ranches in Riverside, Calif., pistachios from Napa Wild in Napa Valley, kale, cilantro and lime, served with fresh corn chips in a reusable canvas bag or fresh vegetables. The flavor profile is reminiscent of the original but Picobar’s take is unique, almost whimsical. Other starters include Queso Fundido featuring beloved Cowgirl Creamery cheese and Wild Mushroom Tostada dressed with local herbs and goat cheese from Sonoma’s Laura Chenel. Additionally, an Ahi Tuna Tostada and traditional Aguachile presents fresh Pacific catch straight from Monterey Fish Market in San Francisco. The menu, which is almost exclusively gluten-free, offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan options like a Jicama and Grapefruit Salad and freshly-picked Little Gem Salad to please all palates.
Around Picobar, tacos are playfully referred to as “Head Tilts,” a name inspired by Chef Rios’ daughter, who calls them in reference to the position in which they are best enjoyed. “Head Tilts” are filled with classics like Carne Asada featuring a short rib cooked for 48 hours and Al Pastor but also new signatures like vegetarian Squash Blossom and Duck (from Liberty Duck Farm in Sonoma, Calif.) with a housemade mole sauce. Famous Fish Tacos, originally a Solbar menu item with a cult following, have permanently moved to the poolside menu. A piece of Solage history, Chef Rios created the recipe on a whim with Petrale sole, a fish found 500 feet below sea level along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja, breaded with a special mix and served with pickled slaw, chipotle aioli, cilantro, lime slices and side of daring hot pepper.
The colorful “Head Tilts” are wrapped in warm, homemade Napa-flavored tortillas made with yellow, purple or blue corn from Masienda. The LA-based company sources from small family farms in Oaxaca, Mexico. The flavors change seasonally; Picobar launches with a Spring garlic variety, and others (like sun-dried tomato, California olive and chili) will unfold throughout subsequent seasons.
As the menu changes with the harvest, two signature entrées will remain permanent fixtures. Pollo Rojo is a full or half chicken dish intended to be shared family-style. The marinated chicken is cooked on a plancha and served with beans from Napa County’s Rancho Gordo, spicy cabbage, California green rice and tortillas. No pool is complete without a burger, and the Double Patty Torta nods to true Picobar style. The Mexican sandwich combines two thin patties of Flannery Beef in San Rafael, Calif. with pepper jack and two sauces (spicy avocado crema plus special sauce with chipotle and jalapeno), pressed like a panini for an optimal blending of flavors.
Picobar’s not-be-missed dessert items include Bunuelos, a Mexican churro-like funnel cake, a classic Tres Leches with seasonal fruit compote, and Choco Tacos, a chocolate-dipped waffle taco filled with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate. For a special and traditional touch, each meal concludes with housemade Borrachitos (or “little drunk”), which are Mexican candies infused with agave, or a Tequila Paleta (or “popsicle”).
Wine, beer and mixology that tell a story
The signature Picobar concept extends to its wide assortment of tequilas, innovative cocktails and a diverse selection of beer and wine. The curated wine list features unconventional yet approachable varietals from local vineyards for cooling off in the Mediterranean climate sun. The craft beer selection—featuring Mexican Style Black Lager from Iron Ox and Por Que No? Amber Lager from Barrel Brothers Brewing—reflects Napa done in a Mexican way. The only out-of-state beer on the list is Chef Rios’ personal favorite from Mexico: Modelo. Furthermore, wine tastings and spirit pairings, dubbed Migrations and Vacations, include unconventional combinations like Mezcal and Cheese.
Signature cocktails and mocktails also tell the unique Picobar story. For instance, the Wandering Whale is a take on the paloma with Grey Whale Gin, a gin infused with botanicals found along the grey whale’s migration pattern between Mexico and California (the same migration pattern of Chef Rios). The Frozen Solage Sangria serves as the perfect poolside treat and infuses Latin flavor with seasonal fruit and cardamom blended Solage style. Zero-proof mixology includes housemade Herbal Frescas, light bubbly refreshments of seasonal botanicals; first up in the rotation is Tyme Tamarindo and Lavender Toasted Walnut Horchata.
An experience equally colorful and cohesive
Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection tapped Napa Valley architect Howard Backen to concept and design the new contemporary wooden barn structure alongside award-winning Los Angeles-based boutique agency Studio Collective to lead interiors. The design compliments the menu in a way that is equally relaxed yet vibrant. Small finishes like ceramics, flatware and glassware allow for the food and beverages’ bright colors to do the talking.
The outdoor space at Picobar is an extension of the interiors: a fireplace and a striking tiled bar are designed for people to gather and enjoy live music and community. Guests can arrange fireside experiences including a colorful s’mores night with ruby pink chocolate by Bay Area’s Charles Chocolates or Whiskey by Firelight for a taste of rare and exclusive whiskeys often aged in wine country barrels. Trivia and bingo nights will be regularly scheduled for wine-themed fun. A custom spirits menu is available around the fireplace to showcase local and rare distilleries.
The restaurant is a key feature in a comprehensive $30 million property renovation, including newly built suites and a redesign of the guest rooms and several key public spaces, including the pool deck and Solbar’s outdoor lounge. With its dynamic design and a high-spirited culinary team that fills the restaurant with energy, Picobar is destined to become a Napa Valley social hub.
For more information, please visit aubergeresorts.com/solage/picobar.