Desserts in Austin
I'm visiting Austin for a week in February and am researching the best desserts in the city. I love a good bakery, but am also game for any local pies, cakes, cobblers, milkshakes, fudge, etc.. That anyone can recommend. Any help would be appreciated.
I like the carrot cake at Upper Crust, the cupcakes at Sugar Mama's, the banana doughnut at Gourdough's (I found the chocolate-heavy doughnuts to be a bit TOO MUCH), and the CocoLeches cake at Chez Zee. The lemon-blueberry crepe at Flip Happy is good, too. The vegan mocha chocolate cake at Mother's is amazing. I agree with the Wong Kim's peach dessert at Hyde Park. The gelato at Dolce Vita is fantastic, and I like the occasional salty oat cookie around the corner at Quack's (although I prefer the chocolate salty oat, which I haven't seen there in a while). Push comes to shove, I'm happy with a creme brulee or a chocolate pot de creme from Central Market.
I wanted to throw in a shout out for a local restaurant that does not seem to drive much discussion on this board - Hoover's Cooking. I have found their pies and (especially) their cobblers to be well-prepared, fresh and served in HUGE portions. If you are really into authentic southern style cooking - Hoovers is among the best you are going to find in Austin.
If you have a LOT of time to spend and you enjoy *real* southern style cooking, check out Dot's Place (only open for lunch M-Thur and lunch & dinner on Fri) in Pfluegerville - still the best Sweet Potato Pie I've ever sampled.
It's not an elegant dessert, but I'd try Gourdoughs Donuts on South Lamar. It is a food trailer that serves fresh made donuts smothered in a variety of toppings. I've only been once, but it was the best donut I've ever had, even if you ignore the indulgent toppings. Delicious and a great novelty!
I'll second Gourdough's, even though one of their donuts was slightly raw/doughy inside on my second visit. I liked them quite a bit, and it's a very fun novelty. While you're there, you can check out some of the best food in Austin at the next trailer over, Odd Duck Farm to Trailer (rotating menu of 5 items daily--Tuesday through Saturday, anway--all made from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients.
I had a discussion earlier today about that carrot cake French toast at South Congress Cafe. It's widely recommended, so it must be well-loved, but it was far too sweet and heavy for me, which I would normally say is pretty much impossible. I love things like baklava that is oozing honey and ultra-sweet Indian desserts like Kulfi, but that carrot cake was way past my limit. I managed to finish 1 of the 2 pieces of bread that came with the dish before feeling so bloated that I couldn't take another bite (I'm almost 6 feet and over 200 pounds). I would describe it as sweet carrot bread that is dipped in simple syrup, then soaked in melted butter until it has absorbed as much as it can hold, then grilled. To top it off, they pour syrup on before serving it, and they keep pouring until it is thoroughly saturated.
It is definitely sweet. I just had it again yesterday morning, so it was fresh on my mind when I posted. To correct one of your points, it's actually comes with three slices of carrot cake/bread, not two as you stated. And I had no problem finishing. I did give half a piece to my husband to try, but as I was finishing the other two & a half pieces, I started eating super slowly because I just didn't want to come to the end. In retrospect, I did wish I'd ordered a side of bacon for something salty between bites, but my cheap ass just couldn't get past the $5 for the side, so I didn't.
FWIW, mine has never been as "saturated" with syrup and butter as you described. In fact, I don't think it had any syrup on it when it arrived yesterday, so I had complete control of how syrupy I wanted it.
stephanieh, It may have come with three slices, but I thought I recalled only two. I do remember that I barely finished one. It has been well over a year since I ate that dish. What I do recall very clearly is being upset when it arrived that the syrup had been poured on before it got to me, because I hate that. I prefer the syrup to arrive on the side, so that I can add it as needed and the bread doesn't become soggy. I received fully saturated bread, and no syrup at all on the side. Maybe they've changed that practice.
Not a dessert, but something a dessert lover should not miss... the Carrot Cake French Toast on the brunch menu at South Congress Cafe. Brunch is served until 4pm every day, and you will have to wait for a table on the weekends. Description from the menu "fresh baked carrot cake dipped in cinnamon vanilla egg batter and grilled to golden brown. served with 100% maple and our original cream cheese-pecan syrups and seasonal fresh fruit."
Some of the recs here are a little on the pricey side, so if you feel like slummin' it at lunchtime, I can recommend the fudge pie at Green Mesquite. It's like fudge. In a pie crust. And it's very good. I can't get excited about their bbq, though. Their chicken fried steak is a little better than the 'que.
One more dessert I really enjoy is the cheesecake at Manny Hattan's. It's Carnegie Deli cheesecake they've flown in. So, if you live somewhere where you can get that, then it's no big deal. But, I'm a cheesecake fanatic, and it's the best I've ever had.
hey there, bloghungry
since you are from LA, i will mention a few particular things i found/enjoyed when i moved here from boston.
fried pies: these are little turnovers, deep fried, and usually liberally coated with glaze
--billy's on burnet has some, along with good ole comfort food.
chess pie, buttermilk pie: never saw this until moving here.
--threadgill's is pretty austin-y
although you would not think "austin" is a sushi destination, uchi does have some inventive asian-influenced desserts that are well turned out.
other places with very southern/southwest desserts:
--hoover's exemplifies southern cookin':
--chez zee has all sorts of lovely desserts
if you are looking for some southern-style desserts and more, moonshine's sunday brunch is a pretty good deal (i don't eat there except for the brunch
same thing goes for lambert's. the brunch is the best deal in town. i have heard lots of mixed reports about how pricey and not-always-great dinner is.
here is their dessert menu for dinner:
i would also suggest going down to south congress and hitting up one of the MANY dessert-centric food trucks.
i'm not a huge fan of hey cupcake, but the cake ball place is pretty interesting.
here is a great link for the food trucks:
i have really, really been wanting to go to parkside, which has been highly touted:
since you are from LA, i am not mentioning the mexican bakeries and the like.
have fun, and above all, bon appetit!
Sticky toffee pudding- you can get it at Whole Foods and Central Market. An awesome locally produced dessert. Warm it up in the microwave then top with goats milk vanilla ice cream from Brazos Supreme (produced by Wateroak Farm from fresh dairy goat milk and dairy goat cream).
The pastry chef working at Lambert's Downtown BBQ is very talented. Anything she makes along the lines of banana cream pie, coconut cream pie or banana pudding is bound to be delicious. The lineup changes regularly, so not sure what they'll be offering. I prefer the types of items I mentioned to anything they do with chocolate, or their fried pies (which are cute, and good, just not reliably amazing).
Go to either Central Market or pretty much any HEB and grab yourself a square of Miles of Chocolate. Let it warm to room temp, and taste a bite of heaven.
I also love the chocolate custard at Gumbo's Round Rock. There's also a new location on 360/Westlake Drive, but I can't vouch for it's quality.