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TRACE's Janina O'Leary On Her Favorite Summer Sweets

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TRACE pastry chef Janina O'Leary hails from Del Rio, Texas, so trust her when she tells you about summertime desserts: the lady knows her hot weather sweets. She also graduated early from high school to move to New York City for culinary school and trained at Per Se and Del Posto before opening New York's Village Tart as executive chef. Sweet? Savory? O'Leary does them both.

Which makes her the perfect candidate to recommend some of Austin's best seasonal desserts and pastry staples. Eater Austin asked her to map out her favorite desserts in town. Her recommendations? Lick on South Lamar—"I'm obsessed with ice cream," she tells EATX—and some of Laura Sawicki's fine work at La Condesa, plus a mean moon pie at Freddie's Place.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Epicerie

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2307 Hancock Dr
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 371-6840
O'Leary's picks: the macarons, pastries and cookies.

Her take: "They just have a really great chocolate chip cookie. It's what a chocolate chip cookie should be. A little crunchy on outside, chewy and warm in the middle. Their macarons are really great too. And the lemon bar. Anything lemon, especially in the summer, that's also nice and bright and not too sweet."

2. Freddie's Place

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1703 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-9197
O'Leary's pick: the moon pie sundae.

Her take: "I'm definitely not cool enough or hipster enough to go to Freddie's, but I love their moon pie ice cream sundae. My little man, my son loves it, too. It's literally just a moon pie. You can't beat a moon pie from when you were growing up."

3. La Condesa

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400 W. 2nd St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 499-0300
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O'Leary's pick: Boca Negra.

Her take: "I love Laura Sawicki's Spanish influences. With her desserts in general, you don't have to think about them to eat them." She also says to ask for the birthday cake ice cream, even though it's not always on the menu: "Everyone thinks you want a huge slice of cake, and you're like 'I'm done.' Something like this, is just a good scoop of ice cream. It's the perfect way to end a meal."

4. La Mexicana Bakery

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1924 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 443-6369
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O'Leary's pick: the pan dulce! Especially the empanadas de piña.

Her take: "We had a few bakeries at home growing up in Del Rio. Everything here reminds me of home, from the simple pan dulce and tres leches cake to really good pineapple empanadas. It's just great for the morning. Every weekend at home we would go to my grandma's and there was always a ton of too much bread that you can't finish."

5. Lick Ice Creams

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2032 South Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX
(512) 743-6470
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O'Leary's pick: the Caramel Salt Lick, Pecan and Cream and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint flavors.

Her take: "It's hard to pick a lot of their flavors! I love the roasted beets because the mint is so fresh and bright in that ice cream. The caramel salt lick is really a good bitter, it has a good balance and depth to it. Lick is a place that within the next few years is just going to grow and get a lot better."

6. Olive & June

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3411 Glenview Ave
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 467-9899
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O'Leary's picks: Espresso Panna Cotta, Peach Trio.

Says Janina: "I just love the desserts here in general. These are the two I love to get when I go because they're the opposites of each other. The Peach Trio is a little more simple, but it has bright flavors, and the Espresso Panna Cotta is bitter and dark but really tasty."

7. Noble Pig

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11815 620 N., Suite 4
Austin, TX 78750
(512) 382-6248
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O'Leary's pick: the pudding in jars and cookies.

Her take: "They do really simple puddings in a jar, and a lot of cookies. I've had a spiced chocolate pudding that was super great, and a white chocolate and coconut cookie that was also great. Abd maple bacon and bread pudding! I know bacon in desserts is way, way way played out, like ten years ago played out, but it's not super overwhelming. You can't tell it's bacon and i mean that in a good way."

8. Uchiko

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4200 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 916-4808
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O'Leary's picks: the dessert specials and the sweet corn sorbet polenta custard with caramel salt and lemon.

Her take: "The sweet corn is more of what I'd call old school but it's the one I like the best on the menu. They always do really great specials that are sort of their way of being able to play around. They have a small dessert menu, but I always love trying out whatever special is there. it's always really unique, and it sounds crazier than it really is."

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1. Epicerie

2307 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756
O'Leary's picks: the macarons, pastries and cookies.

Her take: "They just have a really great chocolate chip cookie. It's what a chocolate chip cookie should be. A little crunchy on outside, chewy and warm in the middle. Their macarons are really great too. And the lemon bar. Anything lemon, especially in the summer, that's also nice and bright and not too sweet."

2307 Hancock Dr
Austin, TX 78756

2. Freddie's Place

1703 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
O'Leary's pick: the moon pie sundae.

Her take: "I'm definitely not cool enough or hipster enough to go to Freddie's, but I love their moon pie ice cream sundae. My little man, my son loves it, too. It's literally just a moon pie. You can't beat a moon pie from when you were growing up."

1703 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

3. La Condesa

400 W. 2nd St., Austin, TX 78701
O'Leary's pick: Boca Negra.

Her take: "I love Laura Sawicki's Spanish influences. With her desserts in general, you don't have to think about them to eat them." She also says to ask for the birthday cake ice cream, even though it's not always on the menu: "Everyone thinks you want a huge slice of cake, and you're like 'I'm done.' Something like this, is just a good scoop of ice cream. It's the perfect way to end a meal."

400 W. 2nd St.
Austin, TX 78701

4. La Mexicana Bakery

1924 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
O'Leary's pick: the pan dulce! Especially the empanadas de piña.

Her take: "We had a few bakeries at home growing up in Del Rio. Everything here reminds me of home, from the simple pan dulce and tres leches cake to really good pineapple empanadas. It's just great for the morning. Every weekend at home we would go to my grandma's and there was always a ton of too much bread that you can't finish."

1924 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

5. Lick Ice Creams

2032 South Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
O'Leary's pick: the Caramel Salt Lick, Pecan and Cream and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint flavors.

Her take: "It's hard to pick a lot of their flavors! I love the roasted beets because the mint is so fresh and bright in that ice cream. The caramel salt lick is really a good bitter, it has a good balance and depth to it. Lick is a place that within the next few years is just going to grow and get a lot better."

2032 South Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX

6. Olive & June

3411 Glenview Ave, Austin, TX 78703
O'Leary's picks: Espresso Panna Cotta, Peach Trio.

Says Janina: "I just love the desserts here in general. These are the two I love to get when I go because they're the opposites of each other. The Peach Trio is a little more simple, but it has bright flavors, and the Espresso Panna Cotta is bitter and dark but really tasty."

3411 Glenview Ave
Austin, TX 78703

7. Noble Pig

11815 620 N., Suite 4, Austin, TX 78750
O'Leary's pick: the pudding in jars and cookies.

Her take: "They do really simple puddings in a jar, and a lot of cookies. I've had a spiced chocolate pudding that was super great, and a white chocolate and coconut cookie that was also great. Abd maple bacon and bread pudding! I know bacon in desserts is way, way way played out, like ten years ago played out, but it's not super overwhelming. You can't tell it's bacon and i mean that in a good way."

11815 620 N., Suite 4
Austin, TX 78750

8. Uchiko

4200 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756
O'Leary's picks: the dessert specials and the sweet corn sorbet polenta custard with caramel salt and lemon.

Her take: "The sweet corn is more of what I'd call old school but it's the one I like the best on the menu. They always do really great specials that are sort of their way of being able to play around. They have a small dessert menu, but I always love trying out whatever special is there. it's always really unique, and it sounds crazier than it really is."

4200 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756

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