The Austin Chronicle

Wholly Kabob

Persian wraps and bowls carpeted with big flavor

Reviewed by Mick Vann, October 4, 2013, Food

Nanaz Ahmadi opened her Middle Eastern-Persian trailer after a modest Kickstarter campaign succeeded in funding a big chunk of the cost of her food trailer. She was born in Iran, and learned to cook at the side of her granny and her chef uncle. Ahmadi lived in Germany and San Diego before moving to Austin, where she graduated from St. Edward's (with just one of her degrees) before the food trailer bug bit.

Her bright red trailer sits at the south end of the popular East Side Fillin' Station food court on the Northwest corner of Sixth and Waller, in near-East Austin. Picnic tables sit under a huge multi-trunk Chinaberry tree; the spot bustles day and night. Her menu is small but dynamic, focusing on minced-meat kebabs served in wraps or as bowls; several sides and a vegetarian option round out the delicious and healthy fare. Ahmadi keeps every dish under 400 calories without limiting flavor and uses local, organic, or all-natural ingredients.

The Dude! ($8) features a pita wrapped around a juicy, spiced, minced free-range beef kebab with ripe tomato, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño-avocado sauce. El Arabo! ($7.50) adds pickles and a hummus schmear to the wrap; I got this one with kuku, Ahmadi's vegetarian option. Think of it as golden brown logs of herbed frittata – tastier than tofu and just as healthy. The side of Shirazi ($3) is worth the drive on its own: ripe tomato, crunchy cucumber, and red onion with lemon-mint dressing. Ahmadi's hummus ($4) is unique: a huge portion made with cooked and sprouted garbanzos and less tahini than normal. It's different but delicious.

Wholly Kabob has grown with the addition of a food truck made from an old Red Cross truck. If it is not catering a party or event, you can find it on the corner of Barton Springs and Jessie on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Health food, normally not my deal, but Wholly Kabob manages to cook healthy with loads of flavor.

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