Austin Fat Guys Review: The Flying Carpet
This week the Fat Guys decided to try a trailer offering what they call "Moroccan Burgers." I don't know that I would call them burgers, but they were certainly tasty. We were joined by my close friends, Sean and Laura, for this tasty excursion.
How does one describe Moroccan food? First, in case you don't own a map, Morocco is located on the northwestern corner of Africa, directly across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. Its inhabitants are the descendants of the people who ruled Spain from about the year 700 AD until 1492 AD. In 1492, other than Columbus sailing an ocean of some color or other, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella finally drove the Muslims from the Spanish land, completing the Reconquista. Sorry, as a history major, I really couldn't resist adding a little background. Morocco was, in ancient times, one of the major centers of the spice trade coming from Asia going to Europe, and its cuisine shows this fact. Moroccan food has great spice and depth of flavor found only in countries where the spice trade made its mark in a big way. Indian and Ethiopia are other examples of "spice trade cuisine," though markedly different from Moroccan food.
The Flying Carpet serve three different main items: The Moroccan Burger, The Sleek Vegetarian and The Sleek Vegan. The also offer fries or a salad as a side. We were able to cover everything except the salad, because they did not have any available for sale. Oh well, maybe next time. All of the sandwiches come wrapped in a pita and are served with a sauce they call L'Afrique, a tangy, slightly spicy mayonnaise type sauce. The Moroccan is grilled ground beef, a fried egg and mixed greens all in a homemade tomato sauce. This wrap is very tasty, well spiced and beautiful. The richness of the egg compliments the ground beef well and helps to cut some of the acidity of the tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is made, not surprisingly, with Harissa (pronounced ha-ree-sa). Harissa is a type of chili paste common in North African cuisine. It was nice and spicy without overpowering the dish or setting your mouth aflame. In all, it added a nice, balanced tangy/spicy layer to the wrap.
The Sleek Vegetarian is made with eggplant, fried egg, greens and the same tomato sauce; very flavorful if you like eggplant as much as I do. The Sleek Vegan is the same as the vegetarian, just replace the egg with falafel. Personally, I liked the Vegan better. I thought the addition of falafel added a nice crunchy texture to an otherwise soft dish. One nice thing about this one is that it is a very satisfying wrap. When most people think vegetarian or vegan, they may think of something like a salad out of a bag; which is to say not satisfying and not particularly flavorful. In this case both wraps are quite substantial. The eggplant acts as a nice substitute for meat in this case. Not that it tastes like meat or that you'll mistake it for meat. It adds a nice amount of substance to the wrap, much like a grilled or sauteed portabella mushroom can be used to add substance to a vegetarian sandwich. The result is a very tasty and very satisfying dish. The french fries are well fried, just crunchy enough without being tooth-shatteringly hard. This is a difficult technique to pull off, and one that many places fail at - not The Flying Carpet though. In addition to being salted, the fries also have a little black pepper added to them, which gives them a nice touch.
There is one thing I would like to point out that I caught on their website: They use 100% hormone and antibiotic free ground beef that has been vegetarian fed as well as eggs from cage free, vegetarian fed chickens. I know to many people this is not the sort of thing they ever think about, but the difference to the planet and your health is worth it. Cost wise you are looking at $6.50 for the Moroccan or Vegetarian or $6 for the Vegan. Fries are $1.50 for a small basket and drinks are all about $2. All told, you can get a very good dinner for around $10; a great deal, honestly. The Flying Carpet certainly makes a nice addition to to the trailer scene here. I hope to see more ethnic based trailers popping up soon. Maybe an Indian trailer? I'd certainly be okay with that! All things considered, Flying Carpet gets a solid two points of the Lone Star out of five.