Osteria Al Fico should be opening any day now. Stay tuned!
Feast your eyes on those Glera grapes, baby!
This photo was taken yesterday (August 27, 2015) in Prosecco Country, Italy, in the township of Asolo to be exact.
Glera is the primary grape used to make Prosecco, the gently sparkling white wine from the Veneto region in the northeast of Italy.
Growers there began harvesting their fruit this week. The winemaker who took us to see his vineyards started picking yesterday morning (thanks again, Luca, for taking time out on an extremely busy day for you!).
Here at Al Fico, we’re putting together an all-Italian wine list that will cover every one of Italy’s 20 regions.
From Glera grapes in the northeast to Nerello grapes on the island of Sicily in the south, our wine program will feature native grapes and traditional winemaking.
Can you think of anything better to pair with classic Italian cooking?
No, neither can we.
Al Fico will be opening shortly. Stay tuned for more posts on our wine program and Italian wine in general!
As the opening of Osteria Al Fico draws closer, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask us about the name of the restaurant and why we call it that.
The word osteria (pronounced OH-steh-REE-ah) means tavern, inn, or small town restaurant in Italian. It comes from the Italian oste or host.
The other half of our name, al fico (AHL FEE-koh), means literally by the fig tree. Many Italian restaurants are named after trees and there’s a reason for that.
In the old days, salami and cheese makers would often set their roadside stands up in the shade of a fruit tree. Not only did the tree help to keep the food cool and fresh but it also provided a sweet treat to accompany the salty cured meats and cheeses.
We decided to call the restaurant Osteria Al Fico because there’s no Italian fruit that we love more than the fig.
If you’ve ever had a perfectly ripe fig you know what we mean. There’s probably no greater pleasure in life (well, actually, we can think of a few greater pleasures but you know what we mean).
Stay tuned: We’ll be opening soon!
We should have final approval from the city any day now.
Earlier this year, Osteria Al Fico’s co-owner Jeff Courington traveled to Italy with Austin-based photographer and artist Nils Juul-Hansen.
Over the course of two weeks, Nils created a “photo essay” documenting their culinary adventure using analog film.
Those photos have now been been printed, mounted, and selected and they will soon adorn the walls of the soon-to-open Osteria Al Fico.
The image above was snapped by Nils using his iPhone. It’s a preview of what’s to come!
In the photo, you can see Mt. Vesuvius, an active — yes, ACTIVE! — volcano that casts its shadow over the beautiful city of Naples.
There’s a saying in Naples: vedi Napoli e poi mori (you see Naples and then you die).
According to local tradition, the breath-taking beauty of this ancient city (which was founded by the ancient Greeks who colonized Italy) is so powerful that it can overwhelm the visitor.
But the saying also reflects the precarious nature of Naples and the Neapolitans who live in the shadow of a volcano that could erupt at any moment — a metaphor for the fragile nature of the human experience.
Al Fico will be opening soon! Stay tuned for updates!
The build-out at Al Fico is moving along nicely and we expect to have the dining room completely outfitted in the next week or so.
That’s a preview, above, of what it will look like.
We are thrilled to announce that Kendall Melton (above) will be joining the Al Fico team as Pastry Chef.
A Dallas native, Kendall, 32, will be doing a short stage in Paris before she begins working at Al Fico. She’s been accepted at L’Arpège, a three-Michelin star restaurant and one of the most venerated kitchens in all of France.
We asked Kendall, 32, how she got into cooking and here’s what she told us:
“I’ve literally always been baking. When I was little, I wanted to open a restaurant called ‘Buffet Everyday.'”
“I even had plans drawn (with crayons).”
“I was working in Los Angeles in a totally different industry and baking became my most favorite hobby. Then I moved to Austin to go to Texas Culinary Academy in their pastry program, and a year after that, I became the pastry chef at Contigo [2011-2014]. Things moved pretty quickly.”