In Texas, ice cream is a must every time summer rolls around. With an abundance of cows and locally-grown produce, it is no wonder Texans love their ice cream so much.
Austin has some excellent small-batch creameries, so here are seven to get you started.
For the classic Austin scoop: Amy’s Ice Creams
If you haven't had Amy's yet, you haven't experienced everything Austin has to offer. With a dozen locations and over 350 rotating flavors, Amy's is the handcrafted, acrobatic ice cream of Austin. Amy's has been serving Austinites since 1984 and Amy's employees have been tossing and catching scoops for entertainment for almost as long. Mexican Vanilla is Amy's world-famous flavor but you can also branch out with flavors like Butter Beer, Chocolate Triple Berry Tres Leches and Mango Habanero.
For a sophisticated scoop: Lick Honest Ice Creams
The owners of Lick Honest Ice Creams believe that ice shouldn't just taste good, it should be good. All Lick claims to use the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients, meaning no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives. As a result of using local ingredients, Lick has a large selection of unique, in-season, rotating flavors. Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey, and Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint are staples in store but you can only get Honeyed Peaches with Rosemary or Lemon Lavender while the season lasts!
For an all-new flavor: DipDipDip ice cream
Soy sauce, crispy fried parsnips, shiitake mushrooms and black pepper are probably not ingredients you would normally put in your ice cream, but DipDipDip ice cream is fixing that. Brought to Austin by the minds behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya and known for its hyper-unique, umami-filled flavors like "Shroom of Doom," a chocolate-caramel-shiitake hybrid, and Miso PB&J, with plum jelly and miso brioche croutons, this ice cream is unlike anything you have ever had.
For an inclusive cone: Thai Fresh
Creating a cream that nearly everyone can comfortably eat, all of Thai Fresh's coconut milk-based flavors are vegan and served with traditional sweet sticky rice. The nearly two dozen handcrafted flavors are usually made with fewer than four ingredients and range from well-loved, like Texas peach and coconut lime, to more adventurous fare, like Golden Milk Turmeric, Black Sticky Rice Horchata and Texas Corn. If that still isn't different enough for your liking, Thai Fresh's spin-off ice cream joint, Gati, houses even more flavors like Coconut Ash, Thai Tea and Japanese Red Bean.
For an elevated ice cream sandwich: Baked Bear
The cookies in your ice cream sandwich are no longer just a vessel for ice cream, they are the main attraction if you visit Baked Bear. This choose-it-yourself establishment has you choose from one of a dozen original cookie flavors to sandwich around one of 13 ice cream flavors from the classic Mint Chip to the daring Blackberry Crumble or Toasted S'Mores. Once you've got the basics picked out, roll it in sprinkles, nutella, fruity pebbles and more "toppings." You'll never look at an ice cream sandwich the same way again.
For a simple soft serve cone: Connor’s Creamery
Bring on the soft serve nostalgia with Connor's Creamery truck, which offers a classic soft cone with a twist: eight different swirl flavors. Starting with a traditional vanilla base, you can swirl in bubble gum, butter pecan, chocolate, banana, strawberry, pineapple, blue raspberry or tropical orange before you cover it in toppings to your heart's delight. The truck is always on the move but you'll have better luck catching it using its calendar tool before it hits the road again.
For ice cream’s Italian cousin: Gelateria Gemelli
After traveling to Italy to learn how to make traditional gelato, ice cream's lighter relative, from the pros, Gelateria Gemelli owner Andrew Sabola offers traditional flavors, fresh variations and bougie cocktails. Fresh Strawberry Buttermilk, Earl Grey and Lemon Curd are just a few of the creamy flavors Gemelli offers but you can also get a classic Negroni or Sgroppino to drink when you stop by.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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