Is it just Austin where the majority of the population is gluten free, dairy free, meat free or some combination of them all or if this is something that is going on all over the US? Either way, it seems that there are now very few restaurants in Austin that are not open to accommodate the vegans, pescatarians, paleos, fruitarians and everything else that many of us are these days with their menu options. This has never been more apparent to me then these past few weeks after I discovered that my beloved Tutti Fruitti closed its doors at the location near me. I went on a quest to find ice cream shops that catered to dairy free eaters in Austin and was pleasantly surprised at what I found. I have been lactose intolerant for years whith some minor allowances for cheese, but I never eat ice cream milk or cream. So I was always on the lookout for basically what I thought was my only option, sorbet…which Tutti Fruitti had, along with a soy ice cream, which was eh, just ok. Honestly though, my favorite part of Tutti Fruiti was the toppings bar, specifically that they had sour gummi worms AND lots of fresh fruit which was paradise so who cares what went under it!
The best option I found was Berry Austin on 2nd St, as they too have toppings, but their toppings are mostly chocolate and cereal and they have just one sorbet option which is often super tart. It didn’t really do it for me. Then one day I was talking to one of my favorite customers, Tracy, while she was shopping in the studio with her mom and she suggested I try LICK on S. Lamar. Adam and I tried half heartily few times but it was too crowded so we vowed to come back on a quiet Monday, which we finally did this past week. All I can say is, WOW! They make their own ice cream and have new flavors all the time, one of the dairy flavors sounded amazing, oh how I wish I could eat the Beet & Mint!!! But for me, I was over the moon that they offer up 4 dairy free options, woo hoo! Two of these are also vegan, fyi and all are made from a coconut milk base. I had one scoop each of the strawberry and of the tart toasted coconut, which was so delightful that I brought a pint home with me. The fact that there is a pint of hard ice cream that I CAN EAT in my freezer right now brings me such a wonderful happy feeling!
I should note that I live in South Austin, so ice cream shops north of downtown are not very practical, however…if you are north, Sweet Ritual has from what I hear, 16 delicious vegan flavors at their shop! The only downside is that I would never get Adam to eat vegan ice cream, so I would have to go there with a fellow lactose intolerant friend. Ahem…Renee, when are we going?
Do any of you have food intolerances that keep you from some of the wonderful delights in the culinary world? How great is it when you find a tasty alternative, am I right?