A Valentine’s dining guide for procrastinators

If you’re one of the brave souls opting to brave the Feb. 14 restaurant crowds, I applaud you. Please let me know how that goes.

But if you’re a procrastinator — or just don’t like fighting for air on the busiest dining day of the year — several restaurants are planning to extend their Valentines Day offerings throughout the weekend. (I’m going for Bocconcini’s dinner because I simply must have that chocolate ravioli, but I’m going on Friday instead.)

Following are some of the restaurants offering specials for those who are putting off their celebrations a bit.

Abuelo’s, 1413 N. Waterfront Parkway, 316-634-2230: The Mexican restaurant is offering a dinner-for-two special good through Sunday that includes fajitas plus a choice of dessert for $29.99.

AVI Seabar & Chophouse, inside the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, 135 N. Waco, 316-262-3300: The restaurant is serving a $79-a-couple meal that includes choice of appetizer, salad, filet mignon with coconut shrimp or grilled or blackened salmon with coconut shrimp plus a dessert to share and one glass of champagne each. The special is available from 5 p.m. to close through Saturday, and the regular menu will be available as well. Call for reservations.

Bocconcini Italian Eatery, 4811 E. Central, 316-613-2523: The Italian restaurant is running a special four-course Valentine’s Day meal through Saturday. It’s $35 a couple without alcohol or $55 with choice of a bottle of red wine, white wine or prosecco. The dinner includes choices for each course, and among the entree options are lemon chicken, pork saltimbocca and pancetta-wrapped salmon. Call for reservations.

Hereford House, 1400 Terradyne Drive, Andover, 316-733-7800: The restaurant has a standing offer of a four-course dinner for two for $65. Call for reservations.

Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road, 316-636-9555: Newport will offer a special Valentine’s Day dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. through Saturday. It’s $50 a person and includes a steak and lobster dinner, a salad and a dessert of chocolate terrine with a raspberry coulis. The regular menu also is available, and those diners can add the dessert for $6. Reservations are recommended.

Zaytun, 2020 N. Woodlawn, 316-613-2474: The Indian/Pakistani/Turkish restaurant will be serving a four-course meal for $25 a person from 5 to 9 p.m. through Saturday. Among the several entree choices are tandoori chicken masala and Australian lamb shank. Call for reservations.

Zaytun adds pizza and other Indo-Pak deliciousness

Zaytun, the fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant at 2020 N. Woodlwan, has recently updated its menu.

When he called to tell me he was going to open on Christmas Day, owner Syed Abbas also told me about the many additions to his lunch and dinner menu. You can view the menu here. The new items are in bold.

Abbas is particularly excited about the addition of some Mediterranean pizzas, which he cooks in a brick pizza oven left behind by the building’s previous tenant. They’re unlike a typical pizza, he said, and their descriptions support that claim. I’ll take the Spicy Seekh Kabab pizza, which is topped with cilantro chutney, green chili, onion and mozzarella cheese.

He’s also added a Tandoori chicken dish and several vegetarian selections, and Abbas enthusiastically recommended his new rib eye steak, which is charbroiled and served with charbroiled steak with rosemary garlic potato and pomegranate mushroom sauce.

One other change: Zaytun now allows lunch customers to order a la carte from the menu or choose the always-different Indo-Pak lunch buffet.

Zaytun is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for lunch. Dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Abbas also offers an elaborate Pakistani brunch from 11 to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Call 316-613-2474 for more information.

Restaurants open on Christmas

Syed Abbas plans to open his Middle Eastern restaurant Zaytun on Christmas Day.

It might seem a little bit early, but I’ve compiled my list of restaurants planning to be open on Christmas Day. The more time you have to plan, I figure, the better. Plus, I’ve already received about a dozen e-mails from people wanting to know.

As usual, the list includes an interesting mix of Asian eateries, family buffets and a few random restaurants willing to give Christmas hours a go.

There are a few new players this year: Zaytun owner Syed Abbas is planning to open and serve a Middle Eastern brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Day. And the Starbucks at 29th and Rock will open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Christmas. It’ll be the only Starbucks in town that will be open.

Follow this link to see the full list, and if you see that I’ve missed a restaurant, e-mail me. I can still add it between now and Dec. 25.

Can we talk about baba ghanoush?

babaganoushAs often happens when one ventures over to hang out with Brett and Tracy and Kathy D. at B-98, my morning had a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to it.

I’d called Kathy to ask if I could come on the air to promote Monday’s On the Town with Carrie and Denise and Tuesday’s Wichita Eagle Holiday Open House. Kathy, the producer, said okay, but you’d better bring some baba ghanoush.

I thought this was an odd request, considering that she asked me to arrive at 8:30 a.m. So I decided she was joking.

She wasn’t.

Apparently, she and Brett stumbled across a goofy, online pronunciation of baba ghanoush and have been obsessed with the words ever since. They really, truly expected me to bring some.

Shamed, I went to the only place I knew would be selling baba ghanoush before 9 a.m. on a Friday morning: Green Acres Deli. The lady who checked me out said, “Have you been listening to B-98? Every other word is baba ghanoush.”

Tell me about it.

When I quizzed Brett about his baba obsession, he admitted he’d never even tried it. For those who don’t know, baba ghanoush is the best use of eggplant I’ve ever tasted. A Mediterranean dip, it’s made out of a mixture of mashed eggplant, herbs and fresh lemon juice. Some of the best in town, in my opinion, is served locally at Zaytun and at  N&J Cafe, but several other Mediterranean restaurants do it well, too.

Joking aside, who else out there loves baba ghanoush? Where have you found some you love?

Exotic snackage

zaytun.jpg 002Yesterday, I stopped into one of my favorite restaurants that I never seem to remember to go to — Zaytun, a delicious “IndoPak bistro” at 2020 N. Woodlawn, and as always, I had an interesting chat with owner Syed Quettawaala.

He was very excited about a new patio snack bar menu he’s created (and I was pretty excited about the pretty patio he’s created, which you can see here. It’s a new addition since the last time I visited.)

Though it might be a little hot to sit outside at the moment, Syed’s still serving his snack bar inside starting at 5 pm. Mondays through Saturdays. He described some of the dishes, which are inexpensive and meant to be shared (sort of like Indian tapas, I guess?) They have names such as chana chaat,  dahi baray, pani pori and kulfi, and they contain ingredients such as garbanzo beans, tomatoes, marinated meats, and exotic spices.

I foresee a lot of patio pani pori in my future.