Psst. Have you heard? Crush-ins are so last season. The cool people are totally over them. Ice cream lovers in-the-know have developed a taste for frozen desserts with more unique characteristics. With the cupcake fad long dead, and a doughnut obsession well underway, will gourmet ice cream be the next national craze?
One can only hope.
Image courtesy of Ice Cream Social
So where can sweet-toothed Austinites get in on a scoop of upscale ice cream? There are actually a number of gourmet creameries vying for position as the town's top banana. Gourmet flavors, crazy sundaes, and overloaded waffle cones abound. Here are a few places to check out if you are ready to take a leisurely stroll on the wild side.
Dolce Neve, South First and Annie Street
1713 S 1st street | Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 10pm & Sat - Sun 11am - 12am
The pistachio gelato at Dolve Neve is currently my favorite frozen dessert in Austin - and I don't expect to find another anytime soon. Somehow, some way, it tastes even more like a pistachio than a pistachio. If you haven't had it yet you are wasting precious time. Life after this stuff is better. Trust me. Besides the delicious ambrosia that is Dolce Neve's pistachio gelato this adorable little cottage shop offers up a whole line of rotating gelato flavors, some of which are quite imaginative. They even do cakes, cookies, and gelato sandwiches in house. Need a second opinion? South Austin Foodie has got you covered.
Snow Monster, Braker and North Lamar
11220 North Lamar Boulevard | Hours: Mon - Thur: 1pm to 10pm / Fri: 1pm to 11pm / Sat: 12pm to 11pm / Sun: 12pm to 10pm
What they are dishing up at Snow Monster isn't technically ice cream but it certainly is interesting. Taiwanese Shaved Ice is something you probably didn't even know you were missing. This magically fluffy stuff is made by thinly shaving frozen blocks sweetened milk. You can top your pile of frozen fluff with fresh fruit, boba, panna cotta, or other such wild and wacky accouterments. Still curious? Visit Foodie is the New Forty and A Taste of Koko to find out more.
Cow Tipping Creamery, 26th and Rio Grande
2512 Rio Grande Street | Hours: Tues: 1:30 - 9:00 / Wed & Thurs: 1:00 - 9:00 / Fri & Sat: 12pm to 11pm Sun: 1:00 to 9:30
First of all, you should know that Cow Tipping Creamery is a soft serve place. I know, right? Soft serve? Normally I would think, "big whoop", especially after hearing that they only keep two flavors available at any given time. There is, however, a really good explanation for the simplicity of the ice cream itself. Cow Tipping Creamery uses their simple (but unusually delicious) soft serve as a base for some of the most outrageous ice cream creations you will ever eat. They make milkshakes with cake, waffle cones with coffee soil, and sundaes with lemon curd and tea biscuits. Exotic ingredients like pomegranate sauce, champagne marshmallows and honey dust populate their expansive menu. It's really, truly, out of this world. Don't just take it from me. Ask Cow Tipping's superfan, A Mike's Life.
Lick, South Lamar
2032 South Lamar Boulevard | Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12:30pm ’til 10:00pm / Friday & Saturday 12:30pm ’til 11:30pm
Lick is Austin's one and only brick and mortar gourmet ice cream shop. Their flavor combinations are really creative, and made with mostly local and organic ingredients. The texture of Lick's regular base doesn't quite do it for me, but I love their imagination and their carefully sourced ingredients. Another thing I love about Lick is their vegan ice cream. The dairy-free base at Lick is really special - smooth, creamy, delicious, and what I go for every time I visit. Want to hear from some Lick lovers? Check out these posts from Oh Hey What's Up and Vegan Lazy Smurf for another perspective.
Sweet Ritual, 45th and Duval (Inside the Daily Juice building)
4500 Duval Street | Winter Hours: 2-9 pm daily
A little something for the vegans, Sweet Ritual dishes up handmade hard pack and soft serve ice cream in a bevvy of unique flavors. Visit their Facebook page to find out what they are currently serving. You are likely to find such enticing titles as lavender blueberry, peach pie, malted vanilla, and salted caramel. It's a real treat to find so many dairy-free flavors under one roof. The gals at Sweet Ritual will also happily transform their ice creams into shakes and sundaes. Check out Veggie Annie's review to hear all this straight from a real live vegan.
Image courtesy of Sweet Ritual.
Cool Haus, currently located at the Midway Trailer Food Court on 360
1905 S. Capital of Texas Hwy | Hours change regularly, but it seems like a sure bet Thur - Sun: 11:30 - 2:30. Visit their site for up-to-date hours and location info.
When it comes to smooth, creamy satisfaction, Cool Haus knocks it out of the park. These folks specialize in ice cream cookie sandwiches, one of man's greatest inventions. A rotating selection of cookies and scoop flavors allows you to create a different, custom cookie sandwich every time you stop by the truck. Their ice cream is plenty yummy, and when it is sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies there is a pretty much no way to resist it. I love that they give you a huge scoop of ice cream, the perfect proportion to match the size of their cookies. Also? Edible wrappers. Get the eff out. Cool Haus is the funnest place ever. This truck moves now and then, so be sure to confirm their current location before hunting them down. Tasty Touring hunted them down when they first arrived on the scene.
Images courtesy of Mike Galante
Coming Soon: Spun Ice Cream, East 7th Street
1912 East 7th Street | Hours: TBD
Spun Ice Cream promises to be very interesting indeed! Owners, Ashley and Christina Cheng plan to open their gourmet concept ice cream parlor in early 2015 (so any time now?). This place will be giving Amy's a run for its money as the ice cream will be created from scratch before customers' eyes. Liquid nitrogen will be used to churn every scoop fresh to order. Spun promises unique flavors, handmade toppings, vegan and gluten-free options, but above all else, a memorable experience. I'm looking forward to trying it out! You can read more about Spun Ice Cream at Eater Austin.
Images courtesy of Spun Ice Cream
This post was part of The Austin Food Blogger Alliance's annual City Guide, and has been updated from a previous version. Click here to check out my 2013/2014 Ice Cream Guide. For more awesome Austin info, check out the complete City Guide on the AFBA web site.