100 Favorite Dishes 2013-2014: No. 30, Ice Cream in a Cone from Fat Cat Creamery
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg The milk chocolate stout and chai tea coconut ice creams are my personal favorites.
Fat Cat Creamery's new brick and mortar shop opened in December, and the small ice cream parlor in the Heights already has a great following. On a recent Saturday afternoon, the line was out the door, and the patio was packed with happy people enjoying ice cream of all flavors.
I've always loved ice cream, so of course I was drawn to Fat Cat. But I haven't always loved waffle cones. Generally they're rather flavorless, and they don't really add anything to the experience of eating ice cream. They're edible vessels, much like bread bowls--another unnecessary invention I just can't get behind.
The waffle cones at Fat Cat are so good, though, and I'd eat them without any ice cream in them at all.
They're called brown butter/brown sugar waffle cones, and they're made fresh every day. These cones are slightly sweet, but the predominant flavor is the brown butter, slightly burnt and rich like caramel. They're also thicker than your average waffle cone, which means they can maintain structural integrity while holding up to three big scoops of ice cream.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Are you drooling yet?
And the ice cream at Fat Cat is also some of the best. There are five signature flavors that are always available: Cat's Meow Mexican Vanilla, Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk, Milk Chocolate Stout, Amaya Coffee and Cream and Chai Tea Coconut. Then there are usually five other seasonal flavors that rotate regularly. It's the tried and true signature flavors that I love, though, and I've discovered the perfect combination of flavors for the perfect waffle cones.
My go-to order is a waffle cone with one scoop of Chai Tea Coconut and one scoop of Milk Chocolate Stout. The chai tea flavor, I was surprised to discover, is made with coconut milk instead of cow's milk, so it's dairy free. It's just as rich as any of the other options, and the chai spice is neither overwhelming nor too diluted.
The milk chocolate stout looks like a regular milk chocolate ice cream, but with the first lick, you'll be able to taste a bit of hoppiness and that rich stout bite on the back of your tongue. It's not overtly a beer ice cream. In fact, if you gave it to a kid, they probably would think it tastes a little unusual, but the kid would eat it. Still, there's a definite beer aftertaste to it that lends itself wonderfully to a brown sugar cone chaser.
Oh, and there's one more reason I love Fat Cat Creamery's new shop: There are cats everywhere. As someone whose great loves in life are sweets and cats, I wholeheartedly approve.
See the full list of favorites on the next page.