The Lonesome Vegetarian: Tastes of Turkey and Ethiopia give meatless diners some global options | The Star Telegram The Star Telegram

By Marilyn Bailey | June 26, 2015

Mixed appetizer platter at Flying Carpet – Marilyn Bailey

I’m slightly late writing about two new-ish cafes that are small and quite special.

Each brings a cuisine that’s hard to find in Fort Worth and is as interesting for vegetarians as for carnivores. Both deserve a following.

Flying Carpet Turkish Cafe, which recently reopened after a long hiatus with an all-new menu, is also a rug shop with 500 handmade Turkish rugs on display, stacked in the front room and hanging on the beautiful wood-plank-lined walls in the dining rooms.

The menu naturally highlights a lot of kebabs, lamb chops and cubed-meat entrees. But for vegetarians, the attraction is all in the appetizers, or meze’ler. Fortunately, they’re numerous, good-sized and varied enough to make many different meals over time.

You’ll find three choices of eggplant dishes, starting with imam bayildi (meaning “the imam fainted”— some of the names are quite fun), which is whole baby eggplant stuffed with tomato, onion and garlic, and cooked in olive oil. There’s also the stew-like soslu patlijan, sauteed eggplant in a tomato-onion sauce, and a good version of the familiar baba ghanoush (eggplant pureed with tahini, garlic, etc., similar to hummus).

The long list also includes red lentil soup with vegetables and herbs; zucchini pancakes made with carrot and parsley; a fried cigar-shaped pastry stuffed with salty white cheese and parsley; two yogurt dishes; and falafel, hummus, dolmas and tabbouleh.

All these are available as separate dishes for $5.95-$8.95, slightly less at lunch. At dinner, though, you can try a sampler of five ($14.95) served with baskets of fluffy pita. It includes hummus, baba ghanoush, dolma (grape leaves stuffed with onions, currants and pine nuts), the soslu patlijan eggplant dish and my favorite thing on the menu, ajili ezme, a sharply spicy red pepper-tomato dip with chopped walnuts. If you get a full order of this, pair it with one of the yogurt plates or the excellent baba ghanoush to cool down your tongue.

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Source: The Lonesome Vegetarian: Tastes of Turkey and Ethiopia give meatless diners some global options | The Star Telegram The Star Telegram

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