Zand’s is a nice little lunch spot

Zand's combo platter
sampler platter ($10.99)

Zand’s Mediterranean Food & Deli (1401 Solano Ave.) is a cute little eatery on the corner that also carries specialty grocery items, such as rose water, mint syrup vinegar, and roasted eggplant. It’s a casual order-at-the-counter kind of place that has a homey feel to it.

This time there were four of us: our friend Sandy joined Dave, George, and me. So it was lucky that we snagged the only table that seated four people, though I suppose we could have pushed two of the three smaller tables together if we were desperate.

Zand's plate 2
Sandy’s tah-cheen

Dave and I split the sampler platter, which promises “just about everything” on their menu, although it didn’t have the tah-cheen, so I’m glad Sandy ordered it. Tah-cheen (or tah-chin, depending on whether you read it on the takeout menu or the board on the wall) is baked basmati rice with a little chicken, some saffron, and barberries. I really liked it, and Sandy declared it “yummy.” George got a dish called olivieh, which is a Persian potato salad with chicken. George liked it. I thought it was okay, but I was glad that I was splitting a platter with Dave so he could eat the rest of it after I tasted it. The falafel was perfectly cooked—not too crisp and not mushy. I’ve had better spanakopita, but it was perfectly fine. The tabouli was fresh and tasty, and the hummus was flavorful and especially creamy. I never like dolma, so I didn’t even try it. (Again, it was good that I was sharing with Dave, who eats almost anything.) Something I’d never seen before was kookoo sable, which is a veggie soufflé with parsley and leeks. Dave wasn’t a fan (he compared it to a sponge), but I thought it was interesting, in a good way. The baba ghanoush was delish.

Two of us had ordered sour cherry soda, but they were out, so we got a whole bottle of pomegranate juice in place of it, which was quite tasty.

While we were there, the smoke alarm went off in the kitchen. The woman assured us there was no fire, then went behind the counter, pulled out a broom, and waved it repeatedly in front of the smoke detector to get it to shut off. It took several passes, but she finally quieted the alarm. I could relate. Our smoke detector used to go off when someone took a shower and left the door open afterward.

Zand’s doesn’t have a restroom, but the proprietor said the one at CVS across the street was nice. I didn’t have to go anyway. I just wanted to check it out. Some of my best photos for this series of posts have been taken in bathrooms.

I decided to splurge and get baklava, but there were two different kinds. I asked the woman there which she recommended. She said that one of them they bought from somewhere else, but the pistachio one she’d made herself. I got the pistachio one, and I was glad I did. It was actually a pretty big piece, so I quartered it and shared with my table mates. We all liked it.

 

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