Cool Is The New Sweet
10 chilled sweets and drinks to cool down the blazing Austin summer
Summer is officially here, and it burst through the proverbial doors of the solstice with a 105-degree vigor that Austinites were less than thrilled about. There's not much we can do except sweat it out, protect our pets, and splurge on a pool pass.
There is one more temporary solution: don a sunhat and dig into a sweet, ice-cold treat. Most Austinites know where their favorite ice cream is, but these 10 businesses have new seasonal flavors, unique pastry offerings, and delicious drinks, too. This list also includes lots of tropical fruits, no matter what culture inspired the dish, alongside some distinctly Texan ingredients.
Stay cool out there, Austin!
Of course we're going to start with ice cream, and Gelato Paradiso is some of the best available in Austin. These thick and creamy small-batch treats come in traditional flavors like stracciatella (basically a more delicate Italian chocolate chip), pistacchio, and nocciola (hazelnut), as well less-expected (but still not wild) seasonal flavors, like passion fruit, guava, and pineapple. Still, nothing beats a lemon sorbetto on a hot day. Nothing.
Lick Honest Ice Creams
If those flavors were a little tame for you, or celebrating Texas ingredients is more appealing than Italian escapism, look no further than Lick Honest Ice Creams. Four summer make an appearance at this gay-owned local favorite: strawberry margarita, "Orange You Glad It's Pride?," lemon poundcake, and peach leaf graham crunch. Its everyday flavors break the mold with combos like beets and mint, or goat cheese, thyme, and honey.
Most of this list is pretty local, but one Japanese company makes a chilled dessert too unique and delightful to pass up. Beard Papa's, at The Domain, makes semi-custom cream puffs in 24 combinations. First, choose a pastry shell from options like plain pastry, chocolate coated, green tea coated, oreo topped, and more. Then choose one of four fillings: vanilla, chocolate, green tea, or Vietnamese coffee, only available this June. Order a bunch to share with friends, but they're bigger than they look online!
This one is for the transplants, especially from the Midwest and Northeast: Remember those soft-serve ice creams with the ribbon of flavored gel along the edges? You could get flavors like cherry, butterscotch, and blue goo. (Obviously, if you were 12 or younger, you got the latter.) According to the maker's website, there's only one place in Central Texas with a Flavor Burst soft-serve machine, and it's the Museum of Ice Cream. But we know that the truck outside Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster is selling them, too. Enjoy irresponsibly. Order every flavor.
All cheesecakes are no-bake if you didn't have to bake them. Kalimotxo, the trendy Basque cocktail by Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, serves one of the most famous cheesecakes in the country, and by the time it gets to your plate, the singed top has all the benefits of a hot, hot oven, but has been long chilled. The Basque cheesecake is easily recognizable for its darkened, deflated top and a fluffy but very creamy center. The menu also features a corn ice cream sundae, for even more adventure.
Formerly a brunch craze and now just part of many wine-lovers' routines, the frosé (frozen rosé) is a gentle departure from stronger cocktails and heavier desserts. Meanwhile Brewing — an unlikely suspect, perhaps — makes a special frosé with a tropical twist: hibiscus, basil, and passionfruit. The brewery has a solid list of other wine cocktails alongside its many beers, including a house-made fernet and sake sangria.
This combo may surprise some non-Italians, but melon (cantaloupe) and prosciutto are an elite sweet-and-salty team. Uncle Nicky's Italian Specialties serves this classic treat with ricotta and mint alongside other chilled brunch items like parfait and overnight oats, or savory dishes like chilled shrimp. Pair it with a morning spritz or an espresso martini for a luxurious breakfast that couldn't feel more chill — in every sense of the word.
Frutería Las Mazorcas
There are lots of fruterías around town, and one is basically as good as the next. But Frutería Las Mazorcas is known for its over-the-top fruit cocktails, and just opened a new location at 6419 US-183 Hwy. on June 18. Go for the traditional mango chamoyada topped with an entire paleta, a variety of aguas frescas, or a rusa en cantarito topped with cucumbers, sour candy, and more. Whatever decision you make, there is chamoy galore.
Super Thai Cuisine
Americans are so obsessed with iced coffee, they'll drink it in any whether. But how about a sweeter alternative for that caffeine fix: Thai tea? For those who haven't tried it, Thai iced tea is a lightly spiced tea with sweetened milk, and it's one of the most refreshing summer drinks out there. Super Thai Cuisine serves all its teas hot or cold, including the green tea, which is served in the same style. For a side snack, the sweet sticky rice is served warm, but contrasted with chilled mango.
One of the best things the Texas heat brings every year is peach season, and Tillie's at Camp Lucy is making the most of it with a unique dessert recipe. A cross between an ice cream sandwich, a brown butter cake, and a peach cobbler, this layered dessert has Texas summer written all over it. They call it an ice box pie, and it's the invention of the restaurant's new pastry chef, Hannah Smith. The new and growing dessert menu looks worth the drive on Instagram.