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Happy Thanksgiving (Holiday Hours at Siena)

Thank you Veterans!

On Saturday, in observance of the Veterans Day holiday, we honored veterans by buying their meals as a small measure of thanks for their service. Although we take it largely for granted the other 364 days of the year, freedom is never free. And on Veterans Day it is important and rewarding to thank those who have kept us safe and allowed our great country to grow and prosper.

Each year we highlight the story of a Medal of Honor Recipient. On first read, their stories are of incredible heroism and bravery, are emotional and inspirational. But as you read again and explore the background of these extraordinary individuals, it is amazing how many come from humble backgrounds and difer any praise of their heroism. In the face of extraordinary adversity, and in conditions that we can never imagine, what shines forth is their unfailing sense of duty and love for their fellow man.

This year’s story is that of Private First Class Desmon Doss. A conscientious objector, he refused to carry a rifle and but believed in serving his country and did so as a medic in World War II. Subjected to constant derision and humiliation from his fellow soldiers and commanding officers, he never waivered in his faith. Those around him could not have been more wrong about this skinny farm ,boy from Georgia. Please read the following citation that details in part how he saved the lives of 75 soldiers, individually lowering the injured down a 400 foot cliff in the face of enemy fire. Later though severely wounded, he rolled off a stretcher insisting that other be taken first.
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Italian food proverbs: “One never ages at the dinner table.”

Above: Chef Harvey Harris, Texas-born and Italian-trained, and a lover of all things Italia!

Here at Siena Ristorante Toscana we don’t just love Italian food: We live Italian food!

That’s one of the reasons why we love Italian food and wine proverbs so much.

One of our favorites is a tavola non s’invecchia mai. In other words, one never ages at the dinner table.

Our Italian table at Siena is a place where people of all ages and from all walks of life come together around great food and wine. And when it comes to sharing a great meal, we are all young at heart. A tavola non s’invecchia mai…

Please click here for our current menus.

And please call (512) 349-7667 to reserve.


Homegrown, handmade, and wholesome: The secret to GREAT Italian cooking

Here at Siena Ristorante Toscana, we make most of our pasta in house.

We source local ingredients from local farms whenever possible, keeping in line with the Italian philosophy of “zero kilometer” food (what we call “farm to table” in America).

And we use as many organically farmed fruits and vegetables as we can find. Many of them even come from Chef Harvey’s on-site garden.

When it comes to great Italian cooking, technique and know-how are always key.

But the real secret to making it taste the way it taste in Italy is homegrown, handmade, and wholesome.

Words to live and eat by!

PLEASE CALL (512) 349-7667 TO RESERVE.

Italian wine: No greater bang for your buck!

Above: A vineyard in Northern Italy where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are grown.

Whether its sparkling (like Prosecco), still white (like the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from northeastern Italy), or big red (Barolo, Brunello, and Amarone, just to name a few), there’s no country that gives you more bang for your buck than Italy.

We are living in a true renaissance of wine in the world today. In fact, there is more high-quality produced throughout the world than ever before.

But when it comes to value for premium wines, Italy has the market cornered.

It’s partly because Italy is such a natural place to grow fine wine.

A long, narrow peninsula at the top of the Mediterranean basin, the Italian countryside has everything you need for growing fine wine grapes: mountains, ancient volcanic and ancient seabed subsoils, sunshine, and plenty of ventilation (thanks to being surrounded by the sea).

But perhaps even more importantly, the Italian lifestyle is centered around eating and sharing a meal. In Italy, wine isn’t just considered a luxury beverage. It’s considered to be a vital part of the meal and digestion. Some Italians would rather go without eating if wine isn’t available to pair with the meal.

So it only makes sense that this wine-obsessed people would create some of the most value-driven fine wines on the planet.

Here at Siena Ristorante Toscana, we love wine from all over the world. But nothing goes better with the food that Chef Harvey’s kitchen puts out than Italian!

What is Mona Lisa smiling about?

Here at Siena Ristorante Toscana, we don’t just love Tuscan cuisine and wines. We all love all things Tuscan, including its many famous Renaissance artists.

This fall, we’ve been enjoying Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the Tuscan Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci (titled simply Leonardo da Vinci).

The book reminded us of the painter’s iconic painting, which is known in English as the “Mona Lisa.”

The word mona meant madonna in Renaissance Italian, literally, my lady (mia donna).

The subject for “My Lady Lisa” is believed to have been Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. And that’s where the painting gets its other name, La gioconda, which means the jolly (or gay) lady. You might think that she’s called gioconda because of her enigmatic smile. But the name actually comes from her family name.

So what’s she smiling about anyway? And is she smiling at all?

One thing we’ve learned about Leonardo da Vinci as we read the new biography is that he, his life, and his works are a never-ending mystery.

Buon weekend a tutti! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Image via the Wikipedia entry for the Mona Lisa (Creative Commons).

“Our pasta will transport you to Tuscany in a flash!” — Chef Harvey

Pici con Ragù di Cervo (venison) is one of our new pasta dishes for the fall at Siena.

Tuscany is known for its pici pasta (above) with wild game and at Siena we spike our ragù with Chianti, sage, juniper berries, and porcini.

It will transport you to Tuscany in a flash!

—Chef Harvey

Please call (512) 349-7667 to reserve.

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