The other day I had the always fun pleasure of showing someone around Austin who had never been here before. After a couple days he uttered one of my all time favorite summations of his stay “What’s up with Austin anyway, there is, like, a vegan ice cream parlor on every corner?” and so it seems my friends! Lick is a relative newcomer to the Austin ice cream scene. Since they pride themselves on being super local which for some reason means having ice cream with bacon and goat cheese I didn’t even look at the menu even though all of my foodie friends were raving about it on twitter. The truth is, I can hardly keep up with all the new places these days! My cool vegan treats map from last summer is already out of date (but still helpful). Luckily my friend Marie mentioned it to me and as soon as that bug was in my ear (don’t worry vegan police it’s a figurative bug) I was on my way.
Lick has an adorable little storefront right next to the Horseshoe Lounge on a rapidly developing stretch of South Lamar.
The inside is teeny tiny but there are plenty of room to look over all of the myriad of selections. They partner with many of Austin’s local oranic farms and base a lot of flavors on what is available. It’s not really the place to go for chocolate vanilla swirl so much as to try roasted carrot with tarragon. The also make a huge point to not offer ingredients universally known to be evil like high fructose corn syrup. When I went there were only two non-dairy selctions to chose from and only one was vegan (damn I wanted you avocado curd!) so I was pretty much stuck with Spicy Peanut Coconut.
I was pleased that everything was well labeled and spicy coconut sounded like it would make perfect ice cream cone but alas, the cones are not vegan! As a hardcore cone lover I was disappointed….until I tried the ice cream. It was creamy, and spicy and salty all at once. I just wanted to eat more and more for the rest of the day. I read that they often have another vegan coconut based flavor, “Coconut, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl” and I can’t wait to try that the next time. Sitting on the front bench eating my scoops by the succulents was a pretty good way to follow up a trip to Barton Springs and I’m sure I will be back soon.
It is really amazing how far vegan ice cream has come. I remember the first time I tried a store bought pint. I was just so saddened by my chocolate flavored ice, it reminded me of the weight watchers desserts we always had around in my youth. I wish I could go back in time to that sad young lady and tell her that a vegan ice cream renaissance would be around the corner. I’d also tell her to look where she was going and to not leaver her camera on the beach but that’s neither here nor there.
So the next time you are cruising down lamar and would like to have an exotic scoop of coconut ice cream to chill you out I highly recommend you try it. And hey, if you are in need of a cone or a banana split or something more traditional, Mr. Natural is only a couple blocks away.
photo by Jon bouldin
Over the weekend I was so happy to attend the Vegans Rock Austin sponsored ice cream social at the new vegan ice cream parlor Sweet Ritual. I had such a hard time deciding what to get you would think it was going to be my last meal on earth. They have so many fun toppings like wasabi peanuts and vegan marshmallows that I kind of started to panic. I really wanted a waffle cone, because hello waffle cone, but I knew Kristen was specially making brownies for Brownie sundaes. Should I get Amelia and Valerie to shove a brownie into the cone? I started to think I should go with one of the ready made sundae combinations on the menu to make the decision easier and go with something well planned out. They have a butterfinger style sundae with chocolate sauce and chick-o-sticks that sounded so fabulous. Then I saw Marie order the Affogato and I immediately changed my mind because, I too wanted to pour hot espresso on my cold ice cream. Then I noticed the Glitterbeast which has salted caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, edible glitter which sounded super awesome but I knew that my friend Nanette would have to get that one and I could try it because she is a glitter lover if there ever was one. The next thing I knew it was my turn! I just started saying things and when they brought my sundae to me a few minutes later I didn’t even know if it was mine! It sure sounded like something I would order. I figured I could have my waffle cone and brownie too when I noticed that waffle cones were one of the toppings. Then I topped it with chocolate ice cream and peanut butter sauce. It was fantastic.
I was so happy with my decision until I looked directly to my left and saw the Almond Joy Sundae, in a waffle cone.
When I saw Wes with his Not-Tella milkshake a minute later I made him give me some and then I knew I would be back up to Hyde Park soon enough for some hazelnut goodness. I’ll probably still be overwhelmed with the decision of what to get.
If you haven’t tried it yet, get down there! They even have a scoutmob deal for 50% off! And if you are just visiting Austin for a day I recommend you look at the menu ahead of time and ponder your options although probably anything you get is going to be delicious.
I think ice cream is one of my most favorite things about life. Certainly it makes the top 10. I am probably not alone in this. My mom loves ice cream too, one of her favorite things in the world is to ride around in a car on a hot day with the windows open and enjoying her favorite cone. She says ice cream is better when it is hot. I don’t know if that is true but I have certainly been craving ice cream since it started being >90 degrees. Sometimes I wish I still had access to a big walk in freezer to relax in, or maybe I would like to live inside the freezer at Thai Fresh. It would be really cold and I probably wouldn’t last long but I would eat so much ice cream that I would die happy and refreshed. Well, if you can be dead and refreshed simultaneously.
Thai Fresh is an amalgam of restaurant, grocery store, Thai cooking school, ice cream parlor, and tea shop on Mary and South 5th in South Austin. They are set up like a deli and almost always have a vegan option ready and waiting. You can eat there or take whatever you like to go and you pay by the size rather than a set cost. It is a good idea to call ahead if you are in a hurry because in case they don’t have anything vegan they will make you something in the meantime. The available dishes are always changing but a list of everything can be found on their site. The menu is rounded out right now with freshly made Agua Fresca’s, the owner Jam has a recipe for a Thai Basil Lime one that looks AMAZING!
Besides the deli they also have a tea counter and groceries including my favorite soy sauce Healthy Boyand all sorts of noodles, sauces, specialty ingredients, and local produce. When I went on July 13 they even had Kaffir Lime tree starts which I highly recommend if you want to make Thai food, it makes all the difference and growing the plant is super easy. Just don’t leave it out in the freezing cold.
I think, for me, the Ice Cream is the most exciting part. Many, if not most, of the varieties are vegan and there are all sorts of original concocotions that they make in the shop like Thai Basil and Tamarind. Today I had to have the coconut peach because it is July and Texas peaches are where it’s at. The ice cream was so delicious. Sweet and creamy and just exactly what I wanted on this hot summer day.