Sandy’s Frozen Custard and Root Beer; Austin, TX

One of my favorite places to satisfy my [almost constant] sugar craving, is Sandy’s Custard, located just south of the river, near the bat bridge, here in Austin. I’m a big supporter of restaurants which stick to what they know best, making only a select few, but high-quality and delicious items [ie. cupcakes, breakfast tacos, and soup]. Sandy’s is one of those places. The menu isn’t exactly extensive, but it can definitely satisfy your craving for simple, greasy food. Burgers and fries are the main player on the menu, but what really stands out, is it’s frozen custard.

While a child in New England, my favorite summer treat was soft serve from the local ice cream stand [black raspberry with rainbow sprinkles, to be exact], which was usually enjoyed after dinner, after a pilgrimage in the family car. Memories of my family always seem to be connected to soft serve, hence my preference for the frozen treat. Custard, something I sampled during my time in both Minnesota and Texas, is a treat foreign to New England, but what appears to be the Midwest and South’s best response to soft serve. At Sandy’s, custard is done simply and superbly. Available in vanilla, chocolate, and the ever-favorite twist, it can be served with or without a chocolate shell, and in a small or large cone. The combination of soft, cold ice cream, and warm, hardening chocolate is as good as any I remember, and to top it off, the small, dipped cone that I’ve taken a liking to, costs under $1.50.

To me, the appearance of chocolate custard is important, as it’s something I’ve discovered somewhat challenging to find in ice cream stands outside of New England. Another favorite of my childhood was Dairy Queen, the ubiquitious “Hot Eats, Cool Treats” chain where I often chose the twist cone, dipped in chocolate. Since leaving New England, I’ve been unable to find this combination in Dairy Queens, discovering that their Southern and Midwestern counterparts offer only vanilla, an affront to my personal preferences. As one can imagine, I was excited when Sandy’s came along.

The drive-through and walk-up window format at Sandy’s is simple, and most likely what keeps the prices down. Picnic tables between the kitchen and drive-through lane offer a place to enjoy your treats, though I prefer to walk in the neighborhood, heading towards the bat bridge or the sights of South Congress Avenue.

If you’re looking for a delicious, simple, and inexpensive treat, reminiscent of your childhood, Sandy’s is the place to go.

*three and a half spoons*

With vanilla and chocolate thoughts, swirled together,

the little spoon.

Schlotzsky’s Deli; Madison, WI

Friday night, a little after 7:00 pm, seems like it would be a peak time at most restaurants. Not the case at a Schlotzky’s Deli in Madison. Walking in, my dining partner and I were greeted with an empty restaurant, save for the table of people in the midst of leaving.

The front counter consisted of pre-packaged salads, bottled juices, a few baked goods, and jars of pickles–lots of jars of pickles. Glancing through the printed menu of the chain restaurant (though one I have no recollection of eating at before), sandwiches take main stage, with a few pizza, soup and salad options.

I chose a small tuna sandwich from the menu, which it informed me was one of many under 7 grams of fat. From the selection of bread, I opted for the whole wheat.

Waiting only a few minutes for our sandwiches to be prepared (what else did they have to do?) my dining partner stepped up to the window when our name was called and came back to the table with our meal. Simply presented in plastic baskets on wax paper, the sandwiches were round and despite its whole wheat designation, the bread appeared to be white, with a few grains tossed in. Schlotzky’s offers two sized breads: small and medium. My dining partner’s medium roll was definitely much larger, and the appropriate size for a larger appetite.

Checking out my sandwich’s contents, I was displeased to find large globs of mayo atop my tuna. Thinking that the the mayonnaise in the tuna salad would be the only amount present, I hadn’t thought to request no extra mayo. Perhaps the extra mayo had been added to cover the fact that the sandwich contained no lettuce, the staple sandwich filler that the deli had run out of for the night, as the handwritten note at the register had notified us.

Toasted and warm, the sandwich was good, despite the initial set-backs. The bread itself was warm and spongy, slightly odd in texture but delicious none the less. Simple and basic, the small sandwich was filling.

Offering a quiet and simple dinner, Schlotzky’s Deli was a sufficient though rather uninspiring deli, probably not worth a sought-after visit.

*2 spoons*

With pickles (and that missing lettuce),

the little spoon.