Hideout and dine out

If you look closely off of Nogales Boulevard, you may spot a cluster of stores between T.S. Emporium and Cube Bakery. Eastern Earl Plaza is a quiet, newly-opened center that isn’t easy to find, but there’s a small restaurant called Hideout Café that seems to attract many customers. As soon as its doors open at 4 p.m., customers can experience the hipster vibe and impressive selection of coffee and tea.

Hideout Café takes the hipster trend to a new level, incorporating barista specialities, brick wall linings, and old-fashioned factory lights to create an effortlessly comfortable, clean vibe. The café’s decoration created the impression of a vintage urban loft, blending woody, natural colors with 60’s technology, cement floors, and a high ceiling.

The menu was presented on a clipboard and printed in typewriter font (to match the vintage ones displayed at the front of the store). It comprised a page of food and three pages of coffees and teas, offering the usual Espresso, Americano, and Latte; some creative drinks like Rose and Tiramisu Latte; and others, like the Costa Rica Sonora and Brazil Serra do Bone, which I’d never heard of. “Hideout baristas monitor the quality of water at SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) standards, and always follow a parameter in order to constantly provide outstanding coffee,” its menu read – the baristas certainly knew their art, as I also discovered after ordering one of their coffees.

The Ethiopian dripp, made from a freshly opened bag of beans, was served black on a wooden tray with a glass cup and mini pitcher. It had an acidic flavor that was balanced with its rich, earthy aroma and was brewed to the perfect medium, leaving a dark but not-too-bitter aftertaste in my mouth. The mixing station offered a syrup that added subtly sweet cane flavor to the coffee. I also ordered pomegranate black tea, a refreshingly tangy and slightly sweet drink with a layer of foam on the the top that accentuated the tea’s slight aromatic bitterness.

Hideout Cafe’s non-beverage menu wasn’t large, offering five appetizers, five entrees, and seven desserts. This small selection of food, however, was packed with powerful flavors like cheddar tater tots, drunken chicken rice and fried cheesecake. The funnel cake fries were a freshly fried batch made from a spin-off of the traditional county fair funnel cake batter. Sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with sharp maple syrup, the appetizer had a crisp outer layer and a chewy center that melted in my mouth.

I also ordered the red wine beef rice was a thin stew of sweet carrots, tender celery, and juicy beef chunks. Lightly flavored with basil leaves and wine, this vegetable and beef medley was a satisfying dish served with rice and an aromatic butter-and-garlic-sauteed spinach.

If you’re into barista specialties, vintage-urban style dining or anything else that will get your hipster vibe going, Hideout Cafe is a place worth visiting. After all, it’s not every day that you’ll come across a food spot that combines unique food, European-inspired coffees, and Asian-themed teas into one trendy cafe.

By Megan Wu, Staff writer

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