From Penn faculty to sorority sisters, Magic Carpet’s cookies are a crowd favorite, attracting numerous loyal customers to the green-tented food trucks. What is it that makes these delectable treats so popular on Penn’s campus? We got the inside scoop from Deborah Carson herself (co-owner of this remarkable food truck) and learned the history behind these magical sweets.
Since 1984, Deb and Dean have been serving up their whole-world vegetarian cuisine on Penn’s campus. It’s been thirty-one years, and judging by the number of people lining up outside their food trucks, Magic Carpet is as popular as ever!
The menu has remained pretty much the same throughout the years. In the past, Deb and Dean offered various types of traditional desserts and pastries. From cupcakes and baklava, to natural chips and whole wheat pretzels, they were able to concoct all kinds of goodies. Gluten allergies and dietary restrictions were almost unheard of back then.
Three or four years ago, there was a group of girls on Penn’s campus that, Deb recalls, were “cookie crazy.” The girls would broadcast the flavor of the day on Twitter, and customers would flock to the food trucks to get their favorites. They were incredibly enthusiastic about Magic Carpet cookies and helped promote cookie sales via social media. Then, on a chilly Spring day, the cookie-craving ladies requested that Deb make a version of the cookie that would be kosher for Passover. Thus, the magic carpet cookie as we know it was born!
These magical cookies are oat-based, sweetened with a tiny bit of brown sugar and apple juice. The gluten-free and vegan creations make a great healthy snack, or even a late breakfast for some! When asked how she would describe Magic Carpet cookies to a customer who’s never tried them before, Deb answered in four words: “They are really good.” I couldn’t agree more.
With two different cookie flavors available each day, there are so many flavor combinations that it’s hard to pick a favorite. During the colder months, you’ll find seasonal surprises such as the “Hot” Chocolate cookies, a spicy and rich cocoa creation. Though Deb says its difficult to choose the ultimate bestseller, the most popular flavors include Banana Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip, and the Chocolate Bombs.
On some days, the line in front of Magic Carpet is a feeding frenzy, with people running to pick up a cookie before lunch. Deb says these regular customers will stop by for lunch later, but they are in need of a snack, now. Though you might be intimidated to come up to the front of the line if you only intended to buy a cookie, Deb reassured us that this is entirely acceptable, as long you are polite and ask to be excused by the customer who is being served. “It’s silly for anyone to wait in line for a cookie,” she states, “throw a dollar over—it’s part of the reason I can’t raise the price a bit, even though I should!” At merely $1 per cookie, these treats are a real bargain.
Magic Carpet Foods operates two street-side food trucks on Penn’s campus:
- 34th and Walnut streets, between the Jaffe Building and Meyerson Hall
- 36th and Spruce streets, outside Lower Quad