July 26, 2010

The Flying Carpet

- Location: Gibson Trailer Park - 1318 South Congress Av. -@Gibson St.
- Hours: Wednesday - Friday: 6  PM - 10 PM

              Saturday: 12 - 3 PM & 6 PM - 10 PM
              Sunday: 12 - 3 PM & 5 PM - 7 PM
- Telephone: 512-744-5651
- Facebook: The Flying Carpet / Twitter: TFCAustin

- Cuisine: Moroccan Burgers

Maria & Abderrahim Souktouri are the heart and soul of the Flying Carpet with cultures as bold and brilliant as the food they are serving.  Maria grew up here in Austin, while Abderrahim haled from the ghetto in Morocco.  He won his United States citizenship in the lottery when he was 27 and came over to the states.  They met at a party with the Latin American studies department at UT and ended up hooking up at Club Rio.  Eventually they married and had their first-born, Talib, and with his birth came a change in lifestyle.  With a leap of faith, Maria quit her job as a paralegal for a civil rights attorney in order to stay home with Talib while Abderrahim kept his job at the Dell factory.  It was during these moments of chance that the couple decided to do something ‘just for them’ and try their hand in the food industry.   

Maria tells it like this, “We’ve always entertained and been foodies; having parties for 30-40 at our house is not a strange thing.  People rant and rave about our food and we’d always talked about what it would be like to open a restaurant ever since we first got together fifteen years ago.  But we knew enough to be scared…. When we thought about opening trailer we had plan b, c.  “b” was sell the trailer – “c” was move to Morocco.   But there were so many confirmations once we did this, and I realized the house, the biggest thing we’ll ever buy, even if we lose it, it doesn’t change who we are. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal its now.  What are we waiting for?  The trailer was something we could financially and logistically do.” 

Back in Morocco is where Abderrahim tested the waters with his trailer food endeavors.  He had a street food business there, selling roasted nuts.  He has taken his bride to his hometown twice, and his son got to go once so far.  The couple feels strongly about serving people what they would eat out of their own home, so all of the ingredients come from hormone free and cage free animals as well as organic vegetables.  Former Barton Springs Lifeguard Maria says, “The food in Morocco is clean and brilliant because it is not mass produced.  Even though I’m Mexican we never ate at trailers because they were dirty.  But Morocco is different.”   

In fact, the “Moroccan” is the Souktouri’s best seller. They use a very pure bread made of flour, salt and water which they buy daily.  Next, they pour a tomato sauce that includes tomatoes they have peeled slow cooked in spices, onions and then garlic at the end so as not to burn.  (The minimum they lovingly cook the sauce is 2 ½ hours.)  They use vegetarian hormone free beef and plop three little nuggets of the beef on top.  A vegetarian-fed, hormone free, cage free egg is fried and put on top as a final touch.  If that doesn’t have your tastebuds watering with underground soul food, I don’t know what else to write.