Serious Eats: Sweets
Austin, TX: Awesome Shaved Ice at Sno Beach Food Truck
As a child, my indulgent self was confused as to why people would order a Snow Cone from the Mr. Softee truck when you could have sundaes, milkshakes, and bars that replicated cartoon characters with gumballs for eyes. Other than the Snow Cone serving as a wet, hydrating "treat", I never felt it belonged with the other sweet and creamy contenders. But a recent visit to Sno Beach in Austin, Texas, could have easily swayed my childhood self.
I opted for a medium ice ($3.50), which allows you to mix and match as many flavors as you want. My icy concoction was a blend of blackberry, dulce de leche, and cheesecake. While perhaps not the prettiest mixture of the 50+ flavors they offer, it was nonetheless a delectable combination. For an additional 50 cents, Sno Beach can top off your snow cone with cream or caramel, which elevates the refreshing dessert to something more substantial and decadent.
The endless and unusual options definitely make Sno Beach special, but it's the quality of the shaved ice that's the key to their success. The ice is shaved so finely, like a pile of the fluffiest snow you could imagine. But the texture isn't just fun to eat—it's necessary to properly absorb the flavored syrups. Another reason Sno Beach beats out the competition? The syrups. Rather than using most corn syrup-based flavorings, which taste processed, the syrups at Sno Beach are derived from pure sugar. As a result, the flavors are allowed to shine, and they don't taste muddled or overly sweet.
Sno Beach is located right by Austin's Zilker Park, where the various outdoor attractions leave you craving nothing more than something cold, sweet, and refreshing. So if, like me, you had little faith in snow cones, check out Sno Beach. It might just change your mind.
801 Barton Springs Rd & 34th Street and Guadalupe, Austin, TX