One thing that I love about Austin is how hot is is, I'm sure I might feel differently if I lived there but when you come from a place where 90% of your beach picnics will get cancelled because of the weather and outdoor socialising from September to June is confined to the patios of pubs that have space heaters (and even then take a hoodie and a scarf!) the heat is much appreciated. I love being able to lie outside (in the shade, I'm not trying to get sunstroke!) on the grass at Barton Springs knowing I can hop in the water to cool off at any moment. And the water is cold so cool off you will!
I love being somewhere where events like a vegan party on a barge on a river can exist. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin when I'm walking outside. These are things you don't often get to enjoy in England sadly. I also love the abundance of frozen treats which are much needed in the heat! Sweet Ritual has to be one of my favourite places ever. I like Brighton's Boho Gelato with it's 5 or 6 rotating vegan options but this is whole vegan ice cream shop! With sundaes and sprinkles and marshmallows and all of that exciting stuff. On our first visit of the trip I got a scoop of Rocky Road in a cake cone and Nick & I shared the infamous Taco Helado, Sweet Ritual's contribution to Austin's totally rocking vegan taco scene.
Nick also had a scoop of cookies and cream in a cake cone which he declared to be delicious but that he'd licked before I even found my phone to take pictures. The taco is indeed as ridiculous as it looks and inside the waffle taco shell lies vanilla ice cream, a chocolate drizzle and toasted coconut. It was exactly as brilliant as it sounds. I preferred my scoop of Rocky Road because I didn't have to share it, haha, not really, because of the marshmallows of course. I haven't had rocky road ice cream for about 15 years!
On our second visit Nick got the Red Hot Vegans Sundae and I went for the Sweet Ritual / Capital City Bakery Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream Sandwich collaboration.
Nick's sundae had vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, graham cracker crumbs, toasted marshmallows, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. He was super into it! I was super into my cookie sandwich too. Mint choc chip has always been one of my favourite flavours and this was spot on.
Sweet Ritual is a must visit spot in Austin, they have shakes and a list of toppings and sauces that you'd be hard pressed to get through on a long visit let alone a short one. My only regret is forgetting to buy their sea salt caramel sauce filled bear (yup, a bear!) to bring home but I'm going back in May for Vida Vegan Con so I guess I'll start my ice cream countdown now!
This isn't your only frozen treat option in Austin though, there's also vegan friendly food cart Bananarchy.
Now I might have mentioned before that I am no banana lover, it's only in the last 5 or 6 months that I've been able to eat them at all regularly and I'm still pretty fussy, they can't be too green or too brown. That stupid banana diet would break me within an hour. Anyway because I love you guys I decided to take one for the team and buy one, I also thought that maybe, just maybe if you covered a banana in vegan chocolate and rolled it in Oreo's it might be good, great even. It looks great right?
Right! But underneath all of that delicious chocolate it's still a banana! Here I am, ever the optimist on the left, pre banana. And on the right, yup, still don't love bananas! I just look confused, like, why am I doing this to myself again?!
I am pleased to say that as per our travel rule Nick ate the banana! Our rule is a little silly but it was born from a place of not wanting to waste food or offend people by not clearing our plates. If one of us really can't deal with eating something the other will take one for the team and at least try to eat it. I have eaten many side salads and drunk many glasses of OJ with bits in and Nick has eaten more than his fare share of overly spicy dishes and things that make me want to barf like this banana and the weird vomit textured omelette I ordered at a restaurant in Japan. Whilst I would not recommend ordering the omelette under any circumstances I would suggest checking out Bananarchy if you're in Austin. Nick totally enjoyed the banana (he only didn't order one himself because he knew I'd hate it!) and I love that they've thought about vegans and added a fun option to their menu rather than sprinkling a banana with coconut or worse, just giving you the banana on a stick!
Your other ice cream option is to pick up one of the many, many commercially available vegan ice creams from Wheatsville or Whole Foods or even Texas grocery chain HEB or Target or somewhere. America's ice cream game is on point. Way, way ahead of us in the UK that's for sure. They have so many brands and fun flavours, I'm totally jealous!
This is probably a less exciting option if you already live in the US but sitting outside sharing this box of So Delicious Almond Milk Minis in Mocha Almond Fudge flavour was one of our favourite silly travel experiences.