The Flying Carpet
Moroccan food trailer The Flying Carpet has worked for months to get settled in a new brick and mortar space on Oltorf near South First Street, but permits and delays keep pushing back the opening date. Fortunately, the trailer is still operating out back and will live on even after the storefront opens. (The inside will serve as a coffee house with premade salads, cakes and Moroccan drinks, while the trailer will continue to sell heartier, made-to-order options.)
The trailer is hidden behind the blue house out front that will eventually be The Flying Carpet, but there is plenty of parking out back for those in the know.
The Flying Carpet serves Moroccan souk food (street food sold in open-air marketplaces), with a menu of flatbread wraps, salad and Moroccan tea and dessert. Soon, if you call ahead, you will also be able to order tajine, a Moroccan specialty stew cooked in a clay pot.
But for now, the menu provides plenty to work with. I saw another patron with a delicious looking salad mounded with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, goat cheese and olives. But I was in the mood for something a little more meaty.
I ordered The Big Abdu, a wrap filled with spiced ground beef that looked like a kebab, as well as grilled tomatoes, eggplant, French fries and a fried egg. The wrap was massive and hearty enough that I ended up giving at least a third to the friend who came with me.
The eggplant in The Big Abdu was cooked perfectly, and the spiced French fries treaded the thin line between greasy and crispy. In other words, right on the money. The Moroccan spiced beef tasted like a kebab of ground beef – nice but nothing special – but it was delicious combined with the eggplant, fries, grilled tomatoes and the egg, which was fried just enough to skip being runny without becoming overcooked.
My friend ordered La Dajaj Maghrebi, a chicken wrap that was decidedly smaller, and had a more fresco appeal. The chicken was halal, covered in a mustard sauce and wrapped alongside tomatoes, onions and greens that were fresh and delicious. The wrap had a slight aftertaste of Moroccan spices, maybe cumin and cinnamon and some I couldn't name. The wrap was very nice, but it became fabulous when we added the sauces.
The Flying Carpet’s menu includes three sauces. We tried the L’Afrique and Harissa sauces. L’Afrique was a tangy, spicy orange sauce that had a creamy mayo-like base. It tasted similar to the orange spicy mayo you might find on sushi. The Harissa is a Moroccan chili sauce with a slightly sweet tomato base and a lingering fire. Put together, they added a spicy layer to both wraps that made it all work.
The food is great, and the shop where Flying Carpet will hopefully open its coffeehouse soon appears to have a lot of potential. Next time, I want to try the sweet Moroccan mint tea and the Mejool Date dessert, stuffed with sesame almond butter.
The Flying Carpet is located at 504 W. Oltorf Street. During the summer, they are open from noon to 2:30. Follow them and their hours on Facebook.