Rollin Dolmas at Mezes

26 Jan

“May this be my year of love affairs, entertainment and restaurant writing, rolling dolmas and stuffing cabbage, and learning to make a perfect whiskey sour” That is a direct quote from my Facebook status on the first day of 2011. My new year wishes were not asking so much (meant to be read in the voice of a Jewish mother) and yet they were of the utmost importance. Only a week or so later I received an email from a Greek restaurant in the Marina, called Mezes, telling me about the menu. I didn’t let a second go by before I asked if their chef/owner, Nikos, could teach me and my friends (food bloggers and twEATers) how to roll dolmas. We got the okay and arrived for our cooking lesson. Nestled in the superior part of the Marina, the ‘Nut (Chesnut Street) is an adorable restaurant that feels immediately homey upon entering. We were sat at a table for Dolmas 101 class. We saw the leaves that many people forget to wash and learned to tear off the stems.

We got up close and personal with the dolma insides, which include rice, onions, parsley, dill, mint, pine nuts, and golden raisins. My personality television twin is Grace from Will & Grace and when she admits that she likes raisins in everything and that she even saw Raisin in the Sun because she thought that raisins would be in it, she was speaking my language. I always prefer vegetarian dolmas and these fun additives made these babies the best dolmas I’ve ever had.

Greek food is very much about using your hands so there is only way to mix up stuff and that is with your fingers. I was shocked that the mixture is made with uncooked rice. It’s not that unusual when you think of  banana leaf wrapped rice that is stuffed and then steamed in its aromatic and natural envelope.

You then lay out your leaf, vein side up, and put a scoop of the stuffing down. I was whining that I didn’t have enough stuffing and then people reminded me of basic cooking chemistry, rice expands when cooked.

I rolled it up nice and cozy and was so proud of my baby but the rest of my creations needed  a hand from Chef Nikos. Sorry, I was never a roller (there is like two drug references there, but I will ignore both) and I am not good at wrapping presents, burritos, or doing origami.

The cooking of the dolmas revealed another surprise. The pot was lined with grape leaves and then the dolmas went around the perimeter like a beautiful wreath. A plate (Greeks love plates) was then put on top upside-down and water filled the top, it was a genius makeshift steamer/pressure cooker. For full recipes and other notes see  Club Dine In’s post and another recap from Tastie Tidbits.

I had a lot of fun but I think I will leave the assembling, rolling, and cooking to the experts. Chef Nikos and his crew at Mezes have more than ten years experience and have the process perfected. At  only $8 a plate, I’d rather save myself the hassle and make a trip to the Marina. I got one item checked off my year long wish list and I truly couldn’t have had better teachers and classmates!


2373 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123

(415) 409-7111


Club Dine In


Tastie Tidbits



3 Responses to “Rollin Dolmas at Mezes”

  1. merri January 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Yay thanks carina, it was fun! Even though it looks like i have my eyes closed in that photo up there… 🙂

  2. Jesse April 14, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    totes jealous


  1. Tweets that mention Rollin Dolmas at Mezes « -- - January 27, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mezes Greek Kitchen, Mezes Greek Kitchen and Nimisha Ambati, Carina Ost. Carina Ost said: Rollin Dolmas at Mezes: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: