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Houston’s Best Ice Cream — the Coolest Guide in the City: The Most Inventive Flavors are Found in Very Unusual Places

BY // 07.22.18

Summer is ice cream season. Actually, every season is. But we’re not always in the mood for humdrum chocolate or vanilla, especially when several super inventive flavors, from goat cheese to popcorn, are rife at hotspots across Houston.

We’re doing our best to spend our days eating all of them. These are Houston’s best ice cream spots — and the flavors that make them stand out.

Call it, the coolest guide in the city.

Caramel StroopWaffle at Fat Cat Creamery

1901 North Shepherd

Fat Cat Creamery in the Heights, which doles out crave-worthy small-batch ice creams made with local ingredients, takes things to the next level with the Caramel StroopWaffle, available on its July menu.

The house spin on a stroopwafel, the popular waffle cookie-caramel sandwich in the Netherlands, features caramel ice cream stacked in a signature homemade waffle cone. But that’s not all. The quaint Heights area shop tricks out the frozen goodness with chunks of brown butter and brown sugar waffle cones — plus swirls of homemade caramel.

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The special treat is $3.50 for one scoop; $1 for each additional scoop.

Summer Berry Tropical at International Smoke

800 Sorella Court

Let’s be honest: There’s no need to settle for just ice cream, or just shaved ice, when you can have both. At the same time. Wait till you try the Summer Berry Tropical Shaved Ice at James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina’s and personality/cookbook author Ayesha Curry’s International Smoke.

The newly-open CityCentre restaurant turns the two frozen treats into one crazy-fun — and crazy-good — dessert. Vanilla mochi ice cream, coconut cream, lemongrass gelee and passion fruit tapioca are topped with strawberry hibiscus shave ice and toasted coconut for a vibrant $10 dish that looks as good as it tastes.

Cereal Milk at Dish Society

Locations at 5740 San Felipe, 23501 Cinco Ranch and 12525 Memorial

Cereal is ubiquitous in dishes and cocktails lately, but this nostalgic flavor at farm-to-table mini chain Dish Society is one of our favorites. Fruity Pebbles-infused milk is included for an insane ice cream that deliciously blurs the line between breakfast and dessert. It’s $5 for two scoops.

Popcorn with Roasted Pineapple at Cloud 10 Creamery

5216 Morningside

While Cloud 10’s year-round flavors range from dark chocolate to Nutella and marshmallow, the scoop shop also offers up several seasonal options. Starting Monday, you’ll want to try the popcorn with roasted pineapple flavor. And we’re here for it.

The beloved light and fluffy snack makes its way into the mix via popcorn infused milk. The ice cream also involves chopped pineapple that’s been oven-roasted with brown sugar, butter and a hint of vanilla for full-on indulgence. It’s $3.50 for one scoop on up to $8 for four scoops.

Cloud10’s popcorn can’t be found at the movies. (Photo by Marcy de Luna.)

Avocado-Lime at Tobiuo Sushi + Bar

23501 Cinco Ranch

The ingredients in this refreshing ice cream at Tobiuo Sushi + Bar at LaCenterra would be equally at home in salsa or guacamole. Instead, lime and avocado are transformed into a must-try tangy-sweet dish at this newly open sushi spot.

Fresh berries and French macarons add the finishing touch to this $10 treat.

Goat Cheese at Petite Sweets

2700 West Alabama

The frozen creations at Upper Kirby’s Petite Sweets will make you wish it was summer all year long. Among them is the goat cheese ice cream. Local honey, homemade candied walnuts and cracked pepper are thrown in for good measure.

Needless to say, we’re all in. The treat costs $7.50 for three scoops in a homemade waffle cone.

Lemongrass-Ginger Kulfi at Ambrosia

2003 Lexington

What Ambrosia restaurant, located near Shepherd Corridor, has going on is artfully-plated un-churned Indian ice cream in a lemongrass-ginger flavor. It’s served with neon green pandan sponge cake, lime crumble, fennel fronds and a drizzle of condensed milk.

We’ll take two. They cost $12 each.

Thai Pepper by Honeychild’s Sweet Creams at UB Preserv

1609 Westheimer

Honeychild’s Sweet Creams churns out handmade frozen custards made with local ingredients. Get your fix at James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd’s UB Preserv. Honeychild’s Thai pepper ice cream, made with local Thai peppers steeped in sweet condensed milk, is paired with the restaurant’s Chocolate Capriotada dessert, a Mexican chocolate bread pudding with peanut marzipan.

It’s a match made in heaven and a $10 treat.

Poleo at Xochi

1777 Walker

Downtown’s Xochi from James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega is known for its out of the ordinary Oaxacan cuisine. The upscale restaurant in the Marriott Marquis hotel also offers unexpected ice cream flavors from corn whiskey-infused to black sesame.

But it’s the Poleo (a flavorful herb that grows in Oaxaca) ice cream that has us coming back for more. It’s served solo or as part of the Platano Crujiente dessert, alongside lemongrass anglaise, chocolate ganache and smoked toffee, plus wood-roasted plantains wrapped in shredded phyllo dough and topped with foam. It costs $10.

Poleo is Xochi’s icy treat. (Photo by Paula Murphy.)


Junkyard at The Chocolate Bar

1835 West Alabama
2521 University

Whatever you do, don’t skip the Junkyard at The Chocolate Bar. The sweets shop takes its inspiration from the confectionary supermarket aisle with this decadent snack, made with seven different candy bars.

Indulge in a Snickers, Baby Ruth, Twix, Nestle Crunch, ButterFinger, Milky Way and Kit Kat all at the same time, without worrying about those messy wrappers. The Junkyard is $3.25 for one scoop on up to $5.25 for four scoops.

Sea Salt Twist at Aqua S

9889 Bellaire

Aqua S knows how to get your attention. These days, you can’t login to Instagram without seing a post of the Australian export’s eye-catching soft-serve cones, encircled by a fluffy cloud of cotton candy deemed, “fairy floss.” But the over-the-top shenanigans don’t stop there.

Rotating flavors include the alluring Sea Salt Twist. The magic starts with a one-two punch of sea salt and lavender ice creams. But then they add fairy floss, Pop Rocks, toasted marshmallow and caramelized popcorn.

We may never look at plain ice cream cones the same way. This unusual treat is $4.75 for the ice cream and 75 cents per topping.

Goat Milk Skyr and Peaches at Dolce Neve

4721 North Main

Cozy Dolce Neve presents a roster of light and creamy gelatos in flavors ranging from mainstay organic pistachio to seasonal eggnog. One of the more unique flavors? The goat milk skyr and peaches.

Slightly tart skyr, an Icelandic yogurt, is joined by sweet peaches for a well-balanced treat that’s worth the sugar and the carbs. It is $4.16 for a small.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean and Fig at Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream

Food truck

Check out Chocolate Wasted’s social media accounts for each day’s location.

At popular ice cream truck Chocolate Wasted, score a tasty serving of Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean and fig. Its name alone is a mouthful, but handcrafted artisan ice cream and perfectly sweet figs, sourced from a family tree that’s more than 30 years old, unite for a bite you won’t stop thinking about for days. It’s $5 per serving.

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