Just a Short Drive Away

9 Road Trip-Worthy Desserts

We know. we live in our cars. But picture it: A lazy hot day. A 30-minute jaunt to a different neck of the woods for what: Lunch? A soccer game? An outlet mall? The following destinations won’t just complete the journey—they are the journey.

By Timothy Malcolm and Gwendolyn Knapp May 28, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Brain Freeze in Pasadena.

Image: Amy Scott

Brain Freeze

Look for: A pastel-colored house off Preston Road that does everything big—hollowed-out pineapples filled with lemonade and topped with Miss Chaquita’s fruit spread; strawberry shakes that look like the love child of Marie Antoinette and Jem (we’re serious); a crazy Dutch chocolate shake in a Mason jar with a veritable slap-bracelet of Fruity Pebbles on the rim and scoops of ice cream, an Oreo cookie, and an actual Klondike Bar erupting from the top. Seven-year-old you is screaming.

Where: 2716 Preston Rd., Pasadena—on the weekends, be prepared to wait.


Look for: A humble little paleta (ice pop!) paradise in a long strip center—kids will want creamy iterations like Fruity Pebbles or cotton candy; adults can go wild with a chili mango.

Where: 13932 Westheimer, near George Bush Park, so take ’em to go. Bonus: these ice pops can travel!

Connie’s Frozen Custard

Look For: An attention-grabbing yellow stand with walk-up and drive-thru windows for first-rate custard. Order an old-fashioned freeze, thicker than a float, with vanilla custard and your soda choice of soda (Dr Pepper, natch). Relax on a red bench out front.

Where: 12545 Jones Rd.—make this your stop after sucking down tons of oysters at Captain Tom’s.

Ice Valley Cafe

Look For: A relaxed strip mall café with bubble tea and snowflake ice that comes with three toppings. We recommend strawberry ice with mango, kiwi, and jelly.

Where: 8606 Hwy. 6, close to Jersey Village’s Senate Avenue Brewing.

Another Time Soda Fountain & Cafe

Look For: A retro 1950s diner complete with old-school doo-wop and R&B, counter service, and ice cream drinks like the Lime Cooler—lime sherbet complete with flecks of lime zest dunked into a frosty mug of 7-Up—that’ll make you feel like Marty McFly.

Where: 800 3rd St., Rosenberg—a funky downtown area awaits!

Don Jante, Co-owner of Flip 'n Patties

Image: Amy Scott

Flip ’n Patties

Look For: The blue and white signage on the bottom floor of Parkway Village Plaza. Inside, the Filipino shaved ice dessert, halo-halo, comes topped with vanilla and ube ice creams along with all the things: jackfruit, palm fruit, coconut jellies, coconut strings, red beans, and both evaporated and condensed milks. Taste this rainbow.

Where: 1809 Eldridge Pkwy.—don’t leave without also getting a burger and fries.

Kahuna Joe’s

Look For: A surf shack that serves up Bonsai Pipe-sized Hawaiian shave ice—from ice cream-stuffed specialties (try the Hula Lula, a mix of piña colada, mango, and lemon over vanilla) to classic flavors you can’t resist.

Where: 812 E. Main St., League City—stop and shop at the cute boutiques nearby.

Kravin’ Desserts & Tapioca

Look For: The pastel pink and lime-green strawberry signage outside the place for frozen Taiwanese treats. The #3 Snow Ice, or as we like to call it, the ultimate kids’ meal, combines creamy vanilla-like milk tea snow ice, Fruity Pebbles, crushed Oreos, and condensed milk (cue Homer Simpson drooling).

Where: 21788 Katy Fwy., #200—stop by after hitting up Katy Asian Town.

AJ’s Snowcones

Look For: A drive-thru stand that’s cute as a button (and also in a Pearland parking lot) with refreshments, snow cones, and more involved productions like the gummi worm-topped Extreme Chamoyada.

Where: 1807 Broadway St., Pearland—pair this up with a visit to Killen’s Barbecue.

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