Assyrian Dolmas

magdys-cafe1.jpgby clarahsu
Unlike the ones that are wrapped with grape leaves, Assyrian dolmas are tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchinis and cabbage stuffed with rice, meat, parsley, basil and spices and simmered. They were on display, arranged in two glass dishes; and as soon as I walked into the tiny Magdy’s Cafe I knew I wanted to try them.

A couple of customers came and went. My friend and I were the only ones left.

“Do you like the dolmas?” Fred, the owner asked. When I said yes he beamed.

“I knew you would. My sister made them, with the supervision of my 93 year old mother.”

Fred’s family moved from Turkey to Iraq and then to the United States. When he heard about our travels he sat down and chatted with us. Fred told us there’s an Assyrian church in the Sunset, and a big community of fifty-thousand in Chicago. They still speak Aramaic, the language in Jesus’ time.

And here, at Clement and 31st Ave, we discovered another gem of San Francisco.