Put simply, I am a snow cone connoisseur. When I was a kid, a snow cone stand painted with a picture of Winnie the Pooh sat around the corner from my house, and buying a snow cone there signaled both the beginning and end of summer.
As a college-bound 18 year old, I lived in a different house, but a snow cone stand still sat at the nearest H-E-B. In the weeks before I left for college I visited it every day, hell bent on tasting each and every one of the offered flavors.
Now, as a college student, I live mere blocks away from the Sno-Beach trailer on Guadalupe Street, and though I have not sampled every flavor, I am certainly a frequent patron. Below is a list of my favorite flavors at the three best snow cone stands in Austin, compiled by your truly.
1. Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs
Yes. It’s worth the drive. Casey’s tops the list because it has variety, not just of flavors, but also of add-ons and sizes — a big plus if you dislike getting the giant ‘small’ size at Sno-Beach. Casey’s flavors come in two varieties, cream and regular. The cream flavors have cream mixed in and taste like the perfect in-between: not quite ice cream, not quite snow cone, light enough for a summer day but heavy enough to support cream-based flavors like chocolate. The best of all is that despite all the variety, the service at Casey’s comes in one only one flavor: amazing. The employees are cheerful, helpful and make each snow cone like the treat is the only thing between you and a great day. Which, considering how good these snow cones are, it just might be.
2. Jim-Jim’s Italian Water Ice
No, a “water ice” is not a snow cone. The texture is, as you might suspect, more watery. But breaking tradition is forgivable because of the juicy, fresh-fruit flavors that Jim-Jim’s trades in. Get the mango or the strawberry, but skip the cream: It’s too thick, they put too much on and it ruins the light, juicy flavor of the treat.
At Sno-Beach, get a small — its sizes are larger than most — and order almond flavor with cream. Or peach with cream. Or horchata with cream. If you suspect the flavor would taste good when added to vanilla ice cream, adding the snow beach cream mix will make for a great combination.