Ask any of my friends. I have been talking about it for an entire year. “What?” You ask. The tofu I ate at Art Alliance Austin‘s evening event, Art after Dark. This was an event that used to occur on the same weekend as the annual Art City Austin festival that was just held downtown on April 24th and 25th. At the event, local food vendors were set up with stations interspersed with drink stations and the cost of the ticket provided event entrance and unlimited food/drinks. My friends and I strolled through the event until we discovered a food station with a sign that said StrEAT.
This modest table serving two delicacies offered me their tofu on a stick. I took a bite and silence came over me. It. Was. So. Good. Spicy, but sweet, not too firm, not too soft. Juuust right. (wait a minute, am I Goldie Locks?) I went back for more, and this time I asked about StrEAT and where I could find them because I knew I would have to get my hands on that glazed tofu again. I was told that StrEAT was a restaurant to-be, led by the owner of local favorite dining destination, Mirabelle. The concept was street food from around the world, and they were in the process of looking for a space as I bit into my next skewer.
Literally, since that day, I have scoured the internet for a website that would lead me to this so-called StrEAT. I called Mirabelle and left a message twice. (Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do). No luck. Finally, through the grapevine we call Twitter, I discovered this magical tofu maker was in fact real, and would be making an appearance at 32nd and Red River. I drove by when I was in the area one day to confirm with my own eyes.
Yesterday, my dream became a reality. StrEAT opened at 32nd and Red River, in an under-the-radar spot near Jimmy John’s. I stopped by for dinner and it was fantastically fun! It is apparent that the interior was completely thought-out. I loved the corrugated metal lining the walls, which reminded me of street carts with the roll down top I’ve seen in major cities around the world. In front of the counter where I ordered was a 3-sided wooden “bar” with stools, reminding me of small cafes and eateries in New York and Barcelona, where you can eat looking out the window. In the main dining room, wooden benches provide seating to give you a feel that you grabbed your street food from a cart, then sat down on a park bench to enjoy it. And, worldly photos were evenly spread out across the walls.
And the food. The flavors of the hummus and the tabbouleh in the Mezze Platter were spot on, as was the Baba Ganush, that was all served with soft and toasty pita triangles in a cardboard serving box. I can’t vouch for the falafel because they were made with green peas, which I am allergic to! And, my calling….the Indonesian Tofu sticks served with Jasmine rice were just as I remembered. Semi-firm, toasty, yet glazed on the outside. Sweet, spicy, just delicious! These were served in a red and white “french fry” container.
Every little detail of the presentation and the menu was creative and fit the concept of “Eat Globally”. With small portions, it’s easy to order a few items and share them with your group, or with yourself! I can’t wait to go back to try the Paninis, New York Style Pizza, Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Noodle Bowls….and I’ll leave it up to you to stop in to see what kinds of worldly desserts line their case waiting for you to dig in.
Word on the street: It is Rebeccammended that you Eat at StrEAT! (www.eatatstreat.com). And, it’s open for lunch and dinner!