Tawla in SFs Mission – Come to the Table and Feast

first_img 0% I walked into Tawla just seven weeks after it opened, so I was ready to not be wowed. Restaurants usually need a little time to get their act together, to get in their groove. But not Tawla. Owner Azhar Hashem, a former Googler, had the foresight (and the Google money, one imagines) to make sure her opening and the weeks that followed were flawless. Hashem had no real culinary background, but a passion to bring high end, updated “Eastern Mediterranean” food to the City. And, luckily, she has a Jordanian mother who cooks.The kitchen.No, mama isn’t in the kitchen, but she was instrumental in helping Hashem train her chef, Joseph Magidow (formerly of Delfina), and her Jordanian sous chef, in the culinary ways of the Middle East – or, in Hashem’s words, “the Levant before there were borders.” The food at Tawla is a mix, not so much a fusion, of Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Syrian, Palestinian, Israeli, and, of course, Mom’s Jordanian heritage. The team worked together for a year on the recipes, with Hashem’s mother coming out periodically to help.  Hashem calls this home cooking: dishes that are served for family, typically not in restaurants. The name, “Tawla”, means “table;” in essence, you are coming to her table. (Another use of the word is “backgammon table” and Hashem envisions a time when they may have backgammon tables on the soon-to-be back patio.)The space is airy and modern, with beautiful Moorish-looking tilework and Aztec motifs (a nod to the Mission, of course.) The motif continues to a partial glass partition between the open kitchen and restaurant. It’s possible to sit at the counter where the bar is, and peer into the kitchen, or you can sit at the Chef’s counter and get one-on-one attention. I brought a vegetarian friend on my first night, and tried one of their signature cocktails, A Date to Remember: date and saffron-infused oloroso sherry, with Caramaro (a cardamom amaro) and bitters.A date to remember.It was a spectacular cocktail, really, with the caramel notes of the sherry playing off the date, without being overly sweet. My friend ordered the House Arak, which had a very nice grapefruit flavor, and infused vermouth with anise. Refreshing.We were served a little amuse – exemplifying the theme of eating what Hashem grew up with – a perfect little green slice of unripe plum, to dip in salt. There are many cultures that salt their fruit, and I remember as a kid eating cut lemons with salt, so this little bite brought that all back for me. Tart and salty, a nice touch.Unripe green pear and salt.Next, we ordered the artichoke skordalia with bread (bread is ordered separately). Skordalia, typically a Greek potato and garlic puree, was elevated here to fluffy aioli status, almost; silky, creamy, and oh-so-garlicky, to be scooped up with the luscious, crackly homemade bread – a sort of pita that comes right out of the ovens and into your bowl.Skordalia bread.I find it hard to believe I would ever come here and not eat this.We split the Mujadarra – a favorite dish of mine that I’ve had as takeout from many delis: usually brown lentils with caramelized onions on top.Mujadara.Hashem confessed that this is her favorite dish, as well. At Tawla, it is made with green Puy lentils, which hold their shape and texture so much better than the brown, and a fabulous pile of crispy fried shallots on top, and creamy labneh, strained yogurt. The dish managed to be incredibly homey, yet light. Just lovely.Next we had the sweet corn dish – reminiscent, to me, of the Indian dish Vaghareli Makai – a browned butter delight, sweet and slightly peppery. The corn was obviously very fresh and perfect for the season.Sweet corn.The eggplant maqluba (literally, “upside down”) was a heavier dish, very much comfort food. The dish is known for being “inverted” – with stewed meat and vegetables under a bed of rice, it is then flipped over so that the juices flow into the rice.Maqluba.Here, the “inversion,” we were told, was that there was more eggplant than rice in their version, and topped by crispy, ultra thin slices of buttery zucchini. A marvelous dish. Hashem told us that her mother had insisted they use a type of Early Girl tomatoes that hadn’t sweetened yet, and were still slightly tart, so the sauce was tangy, offsetting the bitterness of the blackened eggplant. I really enjoyed the charred flavor; my friend didn’t like it quite as well, but there were enough portions of the dish to eat that we were both well pleased.There is an eclectic wine list, with offerings from Lebanon, France, Italy, Greece, Spain and California. My dry rosé from Provence paired beautifully with the spiced food.Rose.The service was spot-on, too, for a newly opened restaurant. Tawla seems to have fought the new-opening syndrome by having at least 10 people on the floor at any one time. It was a little crazy, to see so many employees, but it also made for excellent, friendly service. It was particularly pleasant, however, having Ms. Hashem herself on board, explaining her beloved dishes and making recommendations with exceeding enthusiasm and warmth.We ended our meal with her favorite dessert – semolina crepes with a type of farmer’s cheese, similar to ricotta, with honey, lemon verbena, and mastic – a resin or sap from the mastic tree, which I imagine is much like our maple syrup, but not as sweet. Unfortunately, we found this dish a little bland; it actually could have used a little more sweetness, or more verbena. It felt like it must be a cherished dish from childhood, but without that context, her memories of it, perhaps, for us it needed a little something to make it pop.Crepes.Nonetheless, I was completely wowed by my first night here. The fresh flavors, the brightness of the food, the service, the ambiance: everything worked. My friend commented that it is the only really upscale (and much needed) Middle Eastern restaurant in the Mission, and she was also very happy with the number of veggie offerings on the menu. (Some might call Arabian Nights “upscale,” and while I do love that restaurant, it doesn’t compare.) Everything here felt new and modern – for Ms. Hashem, it is no accident there is no hummus or kabobs at Tawla. I couldn’t wait to come back.I brought the BF for my second visit.We started out with the three labneh appetizer – three lovely blobs of creamy yogurt topped with hazelnut dukkah (an Egyptian crunchy, herb/spice/nut/seed blend), with zatar (another spice blend common to many countries in the Middle East), and the third blended with Marash pepper (Turkish). And, of course, that wonderful bread. The labnehs needed salt, for both of us, and were only really flavorful if you got the spice blends in each bite with the yogurt. For that reason, the Marash was my favorite, as it was blended right into the yogurt.Labneh with bread.Next came a bowl of well-roasted cauliflower in tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), garlic, and lemon, which Ms. Hashem referred to as “crack.”Charred Cauliflower with tahini sauce.It was indeed very good, the charred cauli swimming in the creamy sauce. There were smoky notes and tanginess. It was another winner of a dish that I’d order again. But nothing compared to my next dish….Kibbeh NiyyehKibbeh Niyyeh – chopped “antique” (aged), cumin-y/peppery, raw beef, with mild raw onions, bulgur wheat, and mint. It was delicately spiced and bathed in a delicious olive oil. This dish was insanely good: light, slightly spicy, elegant. Of course, it called for another round of bread.Feeling for some reason we needed some virtue in our meal, we ordered a vegetable dish.Horta.Horta, a Greek steamed greens dish. It was nice, and maybe if it hadn’t been sandwiched between the kibbeh and the meatballs, I would have appreciated it more.MeatballsThese were the tastiest meatballs I’ve ever had, period. Yes, I challenge you to make me better meatballs. Please! So flavorful, made with beef, pork, and lamb, in a light, bright, very fresh tomato sauce, and so tender. I hope they don’t ever take these off the menu.The BF thought this meal was a bit overpriced, but I didn’t. I was sad to have it end. Talwa seems to already be achieving what another Mission restaurant with a heftier price tag I recently reviewed is trying to do – using the beloved flavors of a cuisine without falling into the trap of the expected dishes of that cuisine. Yes, the dishes here are typical of their regions, but they’re updated; and yet, they feel timeless. Hashem wants you to eat what she grew up eating, but in the here and now; and luckily for us, that means right here in the Mission.Tawla206 Valencia St.San Francisco, CA 94103415-814-2704www.tawlasf.com center_img Tags: restaurant reviews Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Street tent count drops dramatically and other updates from District 9 Supervisor

first_img 0% Tags: development • homeless • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% As San Francisco struggles to find ways to shelter people living on the streets, District 9 supervisor Hillary Ronen recently alluded to a significant reduction in visible encampments on Mission District sidewalks — from 200 tents and structures to 50. One of Ronen’s aides spends about 75 percent of her time working on homelessness. Mission Local got some updates on this and other neighborhood issues during a recent Q&A with the supervisor.The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Mission Local: At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, you said that encampment numbers in the Mission had dropped from 200 to 50. How did you assess this, and how do you evaluate the district’s progress on homelessness? Hillary Ronen: Right before we opened 1515 South Van Ness, [it was by] literally going to the street and counting every single tent and structure. There were 200 tents and structures, counted by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.More recently, Carolina [Morales], from my office, has been going every single Friday with DPW and doing a count to see the progress. This last Friday, there were 51 or 52 tents and structures.ML: In what area? Is that District 9 or the Mission, or … ?HR: Not counting the Hairball — we treat that separately — Cesar Chavez to Division, Potrero to Valencia.  My office has invested so many resources in addressing the homeless tent encampment. And that’s because we are dead-set on fixing it and making the conditions better for both homeless and housed residents of the Mission. [Carolina is] literally doing the count every single week. That’s how we determine whether or not it’s working, and we’ve had a tremendous impact.There are no longer large encampments. There’s one that’s a little larger in front of the PG&E yard, but other than that, the encampments that are left are one or two tents here and there, and we’re working really hard to figure out what’s going on with those individuals. Most of those individuals have been offered an opportunity to go to a navigation center several times, so we’re doing our best to figure out what’s going on — is it mental health treatment or substance abuse treatment? Some of those individuals are priority-one individuals, meaning they’re homeless more than 10 years, or have a disability or a [mental illness]. Those are being moved directly into housing. And then those that are left on the street and other people are being told that if they choose not to go to a navigation center, they cannot continue to camp in the Mission. ADVERTISEMENT: 6 Below Market Rate (BMR) Rental Apartments Available at 570 Jessie Street, San Francisco, 94103. Applications available 10/2-10/28 and must be submitted online at http://housing.sfgov.org or mailed in with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: 570 Jessie BMR, PO Box 420847, San Francisco CA 94142. For more information contact 570 Jessie leasing: (415)752-5700 or contact@570jessie.com.ML: What do you anticipate your role will be in the 1979 Mission St. approval process? (331 units, 41 of them affordable, proposed for 16th and Mission — with an additional 49 affordable units that would be built off-site at a later date.) Have you begun work on that?HR: 1979 Mission is a very unique project. There’s literally only three BART stations in the city where development is possible on top of the BART station, and I’m not sure there’s any place that’s more transit-oriented and transit-rich as 16th Street and Mission. So it’s a unique project in that regard. What I would love to see at the site is a project akin to what they accomplished in Oakland around the Fruitvale BART station, but even better, which is a large amount of affordable housing, neighborhood-serving retail and service organizations, and the most up-to-date green development techniques used to build the site. Once we make a decision on development at that site, it will be that way for 50 to 100 years, and it is a very unique opportunity.I’m open always to bringing the parties together to have a conversation. I will absolutely stay neutral on this project until and unless the project comes before me on appeal — which, given a project this big and with so many issues, is a distinct likelihood.Having said that …We need the housing. We need the art and [production, distribution and repair] space. We need the affordable housing. And while some of that has to be done through 100 percent affordable projects that are city-funded, we are also gonna get a lot of that housing through development of market-rate housing.But what I have found so important in being able to successfully mediate those projects is that there is a foundation of trust between the community and the developer, that both parties feel like the other will keep their word. And unfortunately, in the three years that this project has been out there, I know that there is not a lot of trust right now between the community and the developer, and that’s going to make it more difficult to mediate. But I’m always hopeful that things can change and trust can be developed and different relationships can form if people listen to one another and treat each other with respect and bring forward thoughtful projects.ML: Is there a way to facilitate a nonprofit purchase of the 2918 Mission St. property? (Currently a laundromat stands on the site, on Mission near 25th Street. Property owner Bob Tillman has said he would sell the site to a nonprofit to build affordable housing, but so far no deal has been reached.)Every single day, I’m trying to find opportunities and financing in the most creative way possible for the thousands of units of affordable housing I want to create while I’m in office. This is no different from any of the sites in my district.  I would love to see a nonprofit obtain [it]. The problem is that we don’t currently have any un-earmarked funds available in the housing trust fund locally. And, to the extent a nonprofit could find financing that doesn’t rely on the city’s financing. Of course I would help in any way that I possibly could to make that come true. But what we really need, desperately, as a city, is more revenue. Hopefully the voters of California will pass the measure [a $4 billion housing bond slated to go before California voters next year] that will be on the state budget that will add billions to the affordable housing fund statewide and that will be a new source. But locally, we also need to have a new source … I’m looking forward to seeing if we’re going to have a housing bond in 2018 or some other new measure that maybe taxes the incredible wealth coming into the city — the businesses that are accumulating enormous wealth — [to] mitigate the impact that they’re having on our housing market.The bottom line is, absolutely I want a nonprofit to purchase that site, absolutely I want to help in any way shape or form that I can, but without revenue sources, I’m not sure how to do that.ML: Now that Treasure Island is starting to move people out, will you be making any particular accommodations for the victims of the 22nd Street fire who are still housed there? HR: The legislation that we passed a few months ago extended the amount of time that the city could provide subsidies … they will have additional time. We’re going to have to wait to see how long they can stay on Treasure Island. Through that program, we will work with them to find them other units.I don’t know if they’re in the areas that are being moved right now, and so we have to find that out, but if they are, we’re going to work with the organizations that work with the tenants to use this program that we have in the city to help them find another space. ML: In San Francisco? HR: Hopefully; that’s always the first choice.ML: Any update on plans for the Hairball?We are working with the Homeless Outreach Team and the Homeless and Supportive Housing department and DPW and Caltrans and the police to address the situation. I’ve said many times that I’m urgently concerned about the safety of people camping in the Hairball, and worried that someone’s going to get killed. It could not be more urgent for me.There’s already been about 19 people that have moved into the Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness from the Hairball, and the Homeless Outreach Team is planning on working over the next few weeks with the remaining homeless folks in the area to move everyone who wants to move into a navigation center. DPW is working with Caltrans to sort of block off the most dangerous areas of the Hairball so they can’t be re-encamped. So we’re paying close attention there.We’re working to get more navigation center space so there is enough space for everyone who’s living in the Hairball.In the next couple years [we’ll be] working with MTA to be included in their short-term capital plan to create protected bike lanes and improve crosswalk areas, widen some of the pedestrian and bike lanes, to make the entire area safer for pedestrians and bikers. Then, in the very long term, we’re working on an area plan that will envision redesigning the entire area, up to and including undergrounding the entire mess. ML: That’s a pretty long way off though, right?We’re talking 20 years into the future. We have to start somewhere, and my whole goal is that one day when we have a change of administration in D.C., and a real investment in infrastructure, in cities, again — It’s the shovel-ready projects that are ready to go that are competitive to get that big influx of federal dollars. So I want us to be ready, hopefully, when that time comes. ML: When will the new property crime units become active in police stations? HR: We’re working with Chief Scott right now on the final language of the resolution, which we will hear next week in committee. Part of what that resolution will say is that, in 30 days, we want the Chief to come back to us with a very detailed plan for how he’s going to implement the agreement to open these units. We wanted to give him some time to do that, and be in consultation the whole time. The day we actually vote on the legislation, we’ll be introducing a hearing request that same day, so that there’s time to implement it. last_img read more

Wilmington business preps for Super Bowl Sunday

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s the night that many have been waiting for, the Super Bowl, but how have Wilmington businesses been preparing for the big game?Regardless who you might be cheering for, the Eagles or the Patriots, the Super Bowl is a big Sunday for Hell’s Kitchen.- Advertisement – “Today is probably the biggest day of the year selling wings. We got a lot of wings that are going out the door to Super Bowl parties and we should sell our wings today too, so it’s definitely a big day for us,” manager Andrew Flynn said.Food, friends and football that is what the Super Bowl is all about for Flynn. He said this is one of his favorite days to work.“Super Bowl Sunday I love just having everybody come out ya know. It’s more of our friends and regulars that kinda hang out here on this day and it’s just a fun way to close out football season,” Flynn said.Related Article: Dashcam video shows Wilmington man point gun at officerThe restaurant has taken a lot of time preparing for this day, but Flynn is excited to see more than first downs and sacks.“The halftime show is always great and I guess ya know my favorite part about the Super Bowl I guess is the commercials are very interesting as well,” Flynn said. “So I enjoy watching commercials.”But the clock will eventually hit zero.“It’s great to have the Super Bowl and a packed house, but the bitter part is there’s no more football,” Flynn said. “It’s the end of NFL football for however many months until it comes back around.”Flynn said they made more than 1,500 wings and this season was one of their best so far.last_img read more

Humpday Health 247 stroke treatment now available at NHRMC

first_img Patients suffering from stroke and other cerebrovascular emergencies are now covered 24/7 in southeastern North Carolina. NHRMC has expanded its endovascular stroke program, so now patients do not have to leave the area to get treatment.“Anybody with a large vessel occlusion in this region can be treated in a very timely fashion,” Dr. Doss said. “We no longer have to transfer these patients out, sometimes that adds delays, obviously, and inherently, worse outcomes with those type of delays.”Before the arrival of Dr. Doss a year ago, stroke patients would have to be transferred to the Triangle to get treatment.Related Article: Chlamydia in Charleston so common strain is named for Holy CityThis change isn’t just great for the patients, but also their families as well.“Having them there in the hospital and not having to travel and having us near the rehab facility if they need that, these are all key features to having a program here in the community,” Dr. Doss said.Dr. Jeffrey Beecher has joined Dr. Doss on the stroke treatment team, making 24/7 coverage possible. Dr. Doss says that he’s been happy with the results of the program since Dr. Beecher’s arrival in January.“Now, as we build this, Dr. Beecher and I have this well-covered and we’re very happy with the volume that we’re seeing and the teamwork we’re establishing with each other,” Dr. Doss said.The hospital has also implemented new guidelines from the American Stroke Association for clot-removal treatment. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As recently as a couple years ago, stroke patients could not get the care they needed at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.“This hospital sees over a thousand stroke admissions a year so it’s extremely necessary for us to be able to do this and actually do it very well,” said Dr. Vinodh Doss, an osteopathic physician at NHRMC.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Columbus County man arrested in murder armed robberies

first_img He was taken into custody without incident and will be extradited back to Horry County.Bellamy faces charges including murder, two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of armed robbery.Click here to read more. James Laverne Bellamy arrested in connection to Food Lion murder, Carolina Inn robbery. Photo: HCPD) HORRY COUNTY, SC (WPDE) — Horry County Police say they have arrested a suspect in connection to the carjacking and murder at Food Lion and the armed robbery of Carolina Inn. He is believed to be tied to an Columbus County armed robbery.James Laverne Bellamy, of Tabor City, was arrested Wednesday night by the U.S. Marshals Taskforce and Horry County Police Department Robbery/Homicide Detectives in Fair Bluff.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Hoggard High shelter closes 200 evacuees move to new location

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hoggard High School was shelter to many Cape Fear residents through the storm, but now as school gets prepared to open to students the evacuees must be relocated.Red Cross confirms the new shelter location will be 2216 Mercantile Drive NE in Leland. But, a Red Cross spokesperson says it was a challenge finding a space that could accommodate about 200 people including their belongings.- Advertisement – The families have been working with the Red Cross all day to package, organize and label their belongings so they could be ready for the big move.“The sheriffs down here are absolutely amazing,” Jordan Denoia said. “I felt safe any time there was a problem they’ve taken care of it, discretely. I haven’t had a problem with any of the sheriffs and the Red Cross has been amazing. They’ve been very attentive. They’ve kept everybody fed.A Red Cross spokesman says they have been working with multiple community partners to find the best location for these families to go.last_img read more

Golf club closes indefinitely neighbors up in arms

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A popular New Hanover County golf course is closing indefinitely and residents are up in arms. The Masonboro Golf Club is officially closing.“It’s just disgusting to see it sitting there, not being cleaned up, not being taken care of,” said Earl Grizzell, who lives in The Cape.- Advertisement – Grizzel says The Cape neighborhood quite literally revolves around The Masonboro Golf Club. The golf course is right in Grizzel’s backyard, but he says it’s just an eyesore right now.“I’d rather see the golf course maintained by a reputable owner and making progress,” said Grizzel.The general manager for the club says it is closed indefinitely because of damage from Hurricane Florence. The manager says they have notified members.Related Article: Pender County Schools closed to students until at least mid-OctoberResidents of The Cape say things have not been taken care of for awhile. Neighbors are worried that the neighborhood may become the next Echo Farms.“So now it’s really frustrating because he has given up on the golf course and is trying to build some more houses in The Cape,” said Kay Rutkowski, who has lived in the neighborhood for years.Rutkowski has been frustrated with the owner since he took over the club. The manager did comment on Facebook saying they will refund members who are owed money.Grizzel says there is an HOA meeting in a few weeks, and he hopes to find out more.“If it’s going to be sold. If it’s going to be fixed up. I’m very anxious to find out because right now, it’s an eyesore,” said Grizzel.But for now, the future of the golf club is extremely uncertain. The general manager did not share any details about whether the club would close permanently, or about the refunds.last_img read more

Woman charged with murder after alleged victim dies

first_imgSamantha Ferrari (Photo: VineLink) WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Police say a Whiteville woman charged with assault last month is now charged with murder after the victim died this week.Whiteville Police responded to Memory Twin Circle to investigate a domestic disturbance around 10:50 p.m. on October 22.- Advertisement – WPD says responding officers found 79-year-old Lonzie Lee on the floor covered in blood.27-year-old Samantha Ferrari of 2264 Antioch Church Rd, Whiteville, was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault, according to police.Police say Lee was airlifted from Columbus County Regional Hospital to New Hanover Medical Center.Related Article: Wilmington Police reviewing use of force after College Road brawlLee died Tuesday.Ferrari, who was already in the Columbus County Jail, is now being charged with murder.last_img read more

Great white shark pings off Cape Fear coast

first_img OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on great white sharks and other large apex predators.Nova’s last ping was off the southern shore of Nova Scotia on September 26 and pinged near Cape Lookout on Saturday.Sorry to keep you guys waiting so long for a new ping. I was a little shy about admitting that I left Nova Scotia, especially since I’m named after it an all. But don’t worry, I’ll be back. All sharks like me gotta migrate. I’m near Wilmington, NC right now pic.twitter.com/zLR6ez5xPx— White Shark Nova (@NovaTheShark) November 13, 2018Related Article: Oceanic Restaurant ready to dive in on Mother’s DayNova is the first white shark OCEARCH has ever tagged in Canadian waters.Follow Nova’s journey. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A large great white shark “pinged” off the coast of Wrightsville Beach late Monday.OCEARCH tagged the adult male shark, named Nova, in September during their Nova Scotia expedition not far from the town of Lunenburg. It is a 11’6″ shark and weighs more than 1,100 pounds.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Italy lose to Portugal in Nations League encounter

first_imgRoberto Mancini’s Italy were on the losing side in their second match of their Nations League campaign following a 1-0 defeat to Portugal in Lisbon. The latter were missing Cristiano Ronaldo but still managed to trouble the Azzurri and were the better side throughout the whole 90 minutes.Andre Silva, who had a poor spell during his debut season for AC Milan before being loaned out to Seville, broke the deadlock in the 48th minute with a left-footed strike.Gianluigi Donarumma pulled off a string of impressive saves to deny Portugal more goals. Italy created their best goal-scoring opportunity towards the end of the match but Torino’s striker Simone Zaza could not get his header on target.WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=a7617b59&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=128&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more