Mmmm… sno cone…


In the unassuming north airport district, tucked in between a low-end convenience store and ramshackle apartments, sits a hidden jewel in the Austin sno-cone scene.

Normally anytime the sno-cone is brought up to an Austinite, they will immediately regale you with tales of Sno Beach, the burgeoning franchise with favorable locations on Barton Springs Road and North Campus.  The servers are cute girls, it’s cheap, it’s good.

No complaints there, although I think it’s overrated, particularly when compared to the heavenly manna that is Casey’s Famous New Orleans Snowball.  In the little wooden house, behind the wooden sign advertising to angry drivers on Airport Blvd, deliciousness is served in about a hundred different flavors… and then there’s the cream.

There’s a reason on hot summer days the line for Casey’s stretches around the side to the dirt parking lot.  And it may have something to do with their cream flavors.

The ambitious (and delicious) menu

I sadly had to give up the cream flavors when I gave up dairy.  And many sno-cone places have cream as a topping.  But these flavors are different; they do have cream you can add on top of any flavor, but the cream flavors (like chocolate, dreamsicle, egg nog, and boston cream pie, among others) are smooth, creamy, and a delicious mouthgasm for those who don’t mind the extra calories.

Heaven in a styrofoam cup

Casey’s has juice balls, made with fresh juice, sugar-free flavors, and regular flavors in addition to the cream flavors.  They hollow out two paths in the ice going to the bottom of the cup, and they are extremely generous with the syrup.  The workers are extremely friendly, the cones are cheap, the location is great, and there’s no better way (gastronomically speaking) to beat the heat.

Jen enjoys her first Casey’s Snowball

Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs

Summer hours: 7 days a week/12-9pm

808 East 51st Street  Austin, TX 78751
(512) 345-2999

The Room of Requirement

aka, The Room of Requirement

The outside, with flags

The students I teach have never read Harry Potter.  To be fair, most of them have never read a book–any book, ever.  And they think that since they’ve seen the movies they are somehow enveloped into the magical world of whimsy and wonder and THEY’RE WRONG.  The movies, despite being chock full of every landmark British actor of the past fifty years, sort of blow.

But I digress.  This wasn’t supposed to devolved into a harangue on kids today or movies versus books.  This was supposed to be about the Room of Requirement.

Ahhh, the Room of Requirement.  That magical room on the seventh floor of Hogwarts that fills itself with… whatever you need.  Chamber pots.  Cleaning supplies.  A nice, elf-sized bed for Winky’s bouts of drunkenness.  And a place to hide… whatever you need.

Fiction is often depressing when you are jolted back to reality by a telephone call, a police siren, or a dog throwing up on your carpet.  However, I have wonderful news for you- the Room of Requirement exists!  Right here in Austin, Texas!

The Hyde Park Market and Organic Deli is ostensibly a gas station.  It lies at the corner of 45th and Duval St and catches the eye because of its multitudinous colored flags waving over the awning and pumping stations.  But once you go in, you begin to realize how amazing this place really is.

Simply put, this is a magical gas station.  I have never once gone in here looking for something they did not have.  Plug adapters.  AV cords.  A dog leash.  And then…

Gourmet cheeses.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, ice creams, local sorbets and pizzas.  British candy and every type of fancy chocolate you can dream of.  And then there’s the alcohol selection… hundreds of different beers and wines from all over the world line the walls in a delectable visual orgasm of alcoholism.  Oh, they also have Dom Perignon.  Courvoisier.  The market is home to the Mix n Match six pack, where you can pick any six bottles you want.  It is also apparently one of the oldest markets in the city They also sell the flags.  I have a  University of Texas one in my classroom.

The family that owns the store is extremely friendly.  I go in there probably five times a week so they know me pretty well, but they’re always helpful and make sure you can find what you need.

I would say the only downside is that their groceries are a bit more expensive than what you would find at the HEB down the street.  However, given the availability and the overall awesomeness of this place, I would say that it’s worth it.  And as a plus, the gas there is usually the cheapest in the area.

A few different beers

Delicious, delicious ice cream and chocolate selection

Hyde Park Market, Deli and Organic Grocery

4429 Duval St.

Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-12mid; Saturday, 6:30am-1am