For all its glorious food diversity, one area in which Houston lacks is a wealth of options for quality vegan fare. Would it be too cheesy to say I'm over the moon about the new vegan ice cream shop that recently opened in the Heights?
Over the Moon is an expansion of sorts from Gretchen Todd, the owner behind Juice Girl, Houston's first and only 100 percent organic juice bar. Juice Girl began as a food truck and has subsequently expanded to two locations (one in Montrose, one in the Heights), and for several years, Juice Girl has been serving up "juice creams," which are essentially fruit-based soft serve.
If you venture down a small hallway (next to Boomtown Coffee) on 19th Street, you'll find the new dedicated ice cream shop tucked into a small, airy space across from the Heights's Juice Girl location. Here, the ice creams on offer are mostly cashew milk-based (with the odd fruit cream tossed in from time to time). Although they've experimented with other nuts, most ice creams are cashew-based for an optimally creamy texture.
Like Juice Girl, all ingredients are organic and everything from the ice cream to the waffle cones to the sauces are made in-house (save for the toppings, which for the most part are ordered online — think vegan sprinkles, vegan marshmallows, Butterfinger crumbles, chocolate chips and more). Topping sauces include chocolate, salted caramel, and an intensely fresh strawberry sauce that tastes like something you'd whip up in your kitchen after strawberry picking rather than the sad commercialized substances served at most ice cream chains. They even go so far as to crack open the coconuts in-store for coconut-based ice creams.
Currently, chocolate and vanilla are permanently stationed in one of the freezer displays while more exotic flavors rotate constantly in and out of the other freezer. During our visit, the displayed flavors included fruit punch, blueberry lemon, lemon poppyseed, charcoal strawberry (spoiler alert: the flavor is mostly akin to vanilla, though the charcoal does add certain digestive benefits) and the signature Over the Moon flavor, which is a vanilla cashew-based ice cream with mini chocolate chips and vegan marshmallows that melt in your mouth.
During our visit, we split a sundae with a scoop each of blueberry lemon and Over the Moon topped with strawberry sauce and tiny bits of perfectly toasted, lightly crunchy coconut. The ice cream itself is creamy and a very convincing iteration of dairy-based ice cream — Over the Moon gives off a vaguely cookie dough-esque flavor with just the faintest iciness that keeps it both decadent yet light feeling. The blueberry lemon was even lighter with a creamy, refreshing acidity that perfectly balanced tart and sweet. Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we saw the employee working on what she called "unicorn ice cream," a crazy colorful swirl of strawberry dragonfruit, lime, mango and blueberry acai ice cream.
Considering the high quality of the ingredients, prices are extremely reasonable: A single scoop starts at $3.50 (add a housemade waffle cone for $2), a sundae with two scoops and two toppings is $6, and a banana split with three scoops slides in at just under $10. A pint of ice cream is comparable to other boutique ice cream brands at $10, and there's also a variety of ice cream drinks on offer—a milkshake, cold brew float or kombucha float will all run you around $7.
According to the shop door, Over the Moon is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon until 10 p.m. However, in its early opening phase, the shop has been closing early on certain days, so check the Facebook page for hours or call before you go.
Erratic hours or no, one taste, and we promise you'll be over the moon they're here.
Over the Moon
238 W. 19th, 713-478-7486
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. (check Facebook page for current hours)
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