Friday, August 20, 2010

The Flying Carpet

If you've been in Austin at all in the past year, you know that food trailer parks are popping up all over the place. On South Congress & Gibson, in the heart of all the SoCo trendiness is one of two parks within a 2 block radius. (The other one is the probably more well known, with Hey Cupcake, The Mighty Cone, and others.) I had been dying to try The Flying Carpet, a new installation at the Gibson locale, as it brings Moroccan food to the masses. I was in Morocco not quite two years ago, and have wished for a local spot to bring all those fabulous flavors and spices to the Austin restaurant scene.

I was not disappointed!

Their Moroccan burgers are very tender, seasoned pieces of beef kefta (like a meatball, but shaped like a small, fat cigar), with a little bit of an aromatic tomato & onion sauce. You can tell it's good quality beef. It's placed inside a soft pita bread, with a fried egg. I initially asked for it without the fried egg, which I can't stand. They convinced me though, this wasn't like a typical fried egg with the runny yolk. And they were right -- it's more of a firm scrambled egg that's laid next to the meat. You can put some of their incredible l'Afrique sauce -- a creamy, lightly spicy concoction -- on it as well, and save some for the fries too!  The fries are fantastically crispy, without a hint of grease (they use canola oil) ; they're well seasoned with salt & pepper.
We also had a couple of their salads, one of which had a really nice lemon dressing on it; both salads were very fresh & crisp.
 I loved the little touches of Morocco -- the colorful lanterns, the flowers on the table that were in traditional mint tea glasses. Gives the place a warmth, and I am not just saying that because I was sitting in an asphalt parking lot on the evening of a 100 degree day!  As it was a slow evening, we were able to chat a bit with the owners, husband & wife team Abderrahim & Maria, who were very engaging & welcoming. They said they plan to move the trailer to under a tree in the same lot, but closer to Congress. They also have some ideas for future menu items that I can't wait to see!

I've heard their grilled eggplant is fantastic, and the owners were saying they're very cognizant of when someone orders a vegetarian or vegan to make sure the grill is well-cleaned before preparing it. I'd love to see more items on the menu, and can't wait to take another trip with the Flying Carpet!

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