The summer heat has arrived in full force. While remaining in an air-conditioned space is the preferred method of staying cool for many Houstonians, eating a frozen treat may also offer some relief.
Thankfully, Houston’s vibrant restaurant scene continues to offer new alternatives for cool, refreshing bites. All of these establishments opened in the last six months or so. With creative flavors and Instagram-worthy looks, these businesses are as pretty as they are tasty.
Awesome Bites Co.
Vegan treats have come to Sawyer Yards, courtesy of this farmers market favorite. While a selection of muffins and brownie bars (made with black beans) offer non-frozen options, the coconut milk-based ice creams are not to be missed. They may not have the same creamy texture as traditional ice creams, but options like mint chocolate chip, caramelized banana, and lemon blueberry delivery vibrant flavors that even the most ardent milk lover will find compelling. 2313 Edwards St., Ste. 185
Newly opened in Chinatown, this LA-based establishment features black walls and gold lighting fixtures that make it look more like a nightclub than an ice cream shop. The 10 soft-serve flavors run the gamut from familiar tastes like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla to more new-school options like charcoal-pineapple, Earl Grey, and, of course, matcha.
Flavors are paired in ways that make for interesting swirls; for example, chocolate and matcha make “matchaholic,” and Earl Grey and Cocoa Puffs make “Koo Koo for Earl.” An extensive selection of toppings — cookies, sprinkles, Pocky, and some “Boujee toppings,” such as edible gold and silver flakes — allow patrons to customize their cones to make them as Instagram-friendly as possible. 9798 Bellaire Blvd., Ste. A
The Rukab family, proprietors of a legendary ice cream shop in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, have brought their signature treats to Houston. Made with a special “Arabic gum” that gives it a stretchy texture, the booza comes in a wide range of flavors, including Turkish coffee, rosewater, chocolate, and “ishta,” a version of sweet cream that’s a customer favorite. Bold flavors and a creamy texture make this ice cream as satisfying to eat as it is to play with. 5922 Richmond Ave.
Flower & Cream
At any ice cream shop, making tasty sweets is the most important thing, but owner Kevin Chang has given his establishment a little style courtesy of local design firm Gin Design Group (Public Services, Eunice). Details like blonde wood, a terrazzo-like floor, and swings help set the shop apart — as do flavors like cereal milk-Oreo, Nutella-banana, and brown butter pecan. A full range of toppings and colorful flavored ice cream cones from The Konery allow diners to create the perfect combination. 2617 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Milk & Sugar
“Life is too short for plain vanilla,” reads a sign at this Montrose shop. Instead of traditional flavors and toppings, Milk & Sugar creates custom blends. For example, “city that never sleeps” starts with a sweet and salty coffee and pretzel base that gets a little extra sweetness from chocolate pieces. “Recess” starts with a sweet cream base that get pieces of peanut butter and chocolate. They’ve also created a Thai tea ice cream that replicates the taste of the sweet and creamy beverage. 1848 Westheimer Rd.
Admittedly, this shop doesn’t serve traditional ice cream; it serves bingsu, a Korean shaved ice treat that’s mixed with condensed milk and sugar to give it some of ice cream’s sweetness with a lighter texture. At Snowy Village, diners may get their bingsu topped with fruit (strawberry, mango, etc) or different chocolate toppings like brownies and Oreos. Pair them with Tayaki, a Japanese, fish-shaped pastry that comes with a variety of fillings, or a selection of teas. 9600 Bellaire Blvd.