Dessert in Austin, TX
The concept is simple at Banarchy. Take a frozen banana (whole or half), coat it in one of four dippings (chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, or vegan chocolate), then finish it off with your choice of 10 crushed toppings (from toffee to Oreo’s, Reese’s Pieces to coconut). And that’s what makes Banarchy “revolutionary” indeed: How a startlingly easy dessert concept can win the hearts and minds of a whole city. Banarch-ists pride themselves on inventive flavor combinations, and when you go, try the Joe Banana: crushed coffee beans on a banana with your choice of creamy dipping, toffee and cinnamon added upon request.
Down in Austin, temperatures are warm to unbearably hot for a majority of the year, necessitating regular consumption of frozen goods (margaritas, for example). And while snow cone trailers abound here, Hola Aloha stands out for its healthy offerings: All syrups are homemade, made with organic juices, purified water, real fruit and organic agave, and to make your snow cone extra special, you can even order homemade vegan ice cream on top. You’ll find the snow cane staples here – like strawberry, orange, etc. – along with far more exotic flavors, such as fig, rose, lychee, basil, and pineapple mint. During the hot summer months, Hola Aloha keeps Austinites cool with spoonfuls of frozen paradise.
Texas may be bigger than France, but at La Boîte – a French-inspired food trailer in South Austin – an assortment of delicious buttercream macarons have conquered Texan tastebuds for good. Made in the traditional French style, La Boîte’s macarons are like little sandwiches, with almond meringue cookies acting as the bread. Creative offerings like Bananas Foster, Egg Nog, and Green Tea flavor the buttercream filling in sweet, sinful ways, making you feel naughtier with each bite. For breakfast, order a decadent brioche au chocolate, washed down with warm French press coffee. Your mouth will thank you for indulging in a little joie de vivre.
Sugar cookies shaped like mustaches? Gingersnaps that look like little bikes? Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery has the best hipster cookies in town, each week bringing a different cheeky offering to the glass display case. Founded on Guadalupe St., the main city drag running in front of UT Austin, Quack’s eventually moved to quaint Hyde Park, a village-like neighborhood where grad students, bohemian hippie families, and musicians all roam freely. Each day they sip coffee together at Quack’s, and if you go early in the morning, you'll find them patiently waiting in line for Quack's fresh-out-of-the-oven breakfast pastries: Soft cream cheese danishes, sweet peach tarts, and sugared apple turnovers.
A relative newcomer to the Austin eatery scene, Uchiko has already won many fans – in 2010, GQ Magazine named it one of the best new restaurants in the nation. And while everything at this sushi-cum-Asian fusion spot is impossibly delicious, we implore you to save room for dessert. That’s because Uchiko has mastered the art of the sweet-and-savory flavor pairings, using bold combinations like Saffron Gelato and cigar-infused chocolate. Favorites include the Sweet Corn Sorbet, made with polenta custard, caramel salt, and lemon, as well as the Chevre Fondant: tomato sorbet scooped atop Sicilian pistachio croquant (aka chopped roasted pistachios rolled in caramelized sugar). Uchiko’s dessert menu may raise a few eyebrows, but worry not – these two desserts especially challenge your taste buds in all the right ways.