Due to its proximity and fun flavors, Gong Cha is a UT campus fan favorite and one of the fastest-growing tea brands with over 1,000+ stores internationally. Visit the store on your birthday and get a free drink on them!
Flavor recommendations: Pearl milk tea, Thai tea, Earl gray milk tea with 3Js (pearls, pudding, and herbal jelly)
Kung Fu Tea
Photo by Matilda Herrera Ramirez
Another UT favorite on Guad is Kung Fu Tea. They specialize in made-to-order tea, milk and fruit-based beverages. There is no shortage of fun toppings to add to your drink, such as bubbles, beans, jellies, and puddings. They also have vegan bubble tea.
Flavor recommendations: Kung Fu milk tea (signature beverage), Cocoa cream wow (WOW bubbles are freshly cooked in caramelized brown sugar with a creamy milk cap and dash of cocoa powder), Kung Fu green tea (jasmine green tea)
Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez
Cute and cozy, Coco’s Café is locally owned and serves Taiwanese food and bubble tea! There is something for everyone with two size options (16 oz and 20 oz) and 20+ drink options.
Tapioca House, located on Guad is a great place to get cheap, high-quality boba and other drinks. They offer combo meal deals, and it’s next door to Coco’s Café, so you could do a boba tour of Austin if you’re in the mood!
Flavor recommendations: Taro root milk tea with tapioca, French vanilla milk tea with coffee jelly
Photo By Matilda Ramirez
Feng Cha truly embodies their motto, “Bring People Together.” Feng Cha is a place to socialize, hang out, study and drink good drinks. From a coffee series that is perfect for energizing yourself for the day to refreshing milk foam teas that offer over 10 different teas, five milk foam options, and five toppings, the possibilities are endless here.
Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert. I’ve never met someone who genuinely did not like them. I’ve made chocolate chip cookies at least once a month since I was about 9. I love them. I used to use the Nestle Tollhouse recipe on the back of their semisweet chocolate chips, but when I became gluten-free, I switched to the Cup4Cup recipe on the back of their gluten-free all-purpose flour. Both recipes are delicious and easy! Chocolate chip cookies are a staple in my household. Sadly, now I live in a dorm without access to an oven. Sure, I could go to a friend’s apartment and use theirs, but I hate feeling like an inconvenience. Not to mention, I’d have to buy the ingredients, and what would I do with the leftover ingredients? I guess I could keep them in my dorm somewhere, but that all just seems like a hassle. I need a place I can rely on to give me a good cookie if I’ve had a bad day or just have a hankering. So, I am on a mission to find the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookie near campus.
This “Punk rock, a female-led bakery serving vegan sweet & savory goods that are also soy & gluten-free” is just a short drive away on 53rd street. I can’t talk about the bakery without mentioning their to die for cupcakes, but they lacked in the chocolate chip cookie department. The taste was pretty bland, and it could benefit from more chocolate chips. The texture reminded me of a corn tortilla, soft but crumbly. For $3.50, it’s not worth it, in my opinion. The cookie is vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free, so it’s a very inclusive cookie. However, it does not meet my standards for a good, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.
Rating: 1 / 5
Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
This bakery is about a 10-minute drive north of campus on 43rd and Duval. They had so many pastries and desserts, but not many gluten-free options, which is fine because it’s not a gluten-free bakery. However, I am on a mission. They sell a pre-packaged pack of 7 cookies for $7.25. The cookies are gluten-free and vegan and honestly? You can tell. They were chewy but not soft. When I got back to my dorm, I heated one up in the microwave, and it was much better. It’ll fix your craving, but I know there is better out there.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Mr. Natural is a health-focused restaurant and bakery with two locations in Austin. One is located on Cesar Chavez, about 10 minutes from campus, and the other is located on South Lamar, about 15 minutes from campus. They have plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan meals and treats to choose from. Their gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie contains pecans, but they were subtle enough that I’ll let it slide. I loved the combination of chocolate chips on the inside and chocolate chunks on top of the cookie. I am a firm believer that the more cookie, the better, and Mr. Natural’s cookie had about a five-inch diameter (a bit smaller than an iPhone X). The size makes the price of $3.60 totally understandable. It had a nice soft and crumbly texture, and the pecans gave it a unique and subtle nutty undertone.
Rating: 4 / 5
The name is no exaggeration. I cannot emphasize enough how incredible this bakery is. Dream Bakery is about 20 minutes up Mopac and is entirely gluten-free. It also includes keto-friendly options. You can find their daily menus on their Instagram. They make everything from cakes to chocolate croissants to cinnamon rolls to, most importantly, chocolate chip cookies. One cookie is $2.35. This cookie definitely did not taste gluten-free. It was delicious! It was soft and chewy and overall delightful. The only downside of this bakery is how far it is, but it is totally worth the drive for the overwhelming amount of gluten-free treats.
Rating : 4.5 / 5
Insomnia is a staple in West Campus. It is perfect for late-night sweet tooth right under Castiallian and opens until 3 am on the weekends. Even better, they have a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie for only $1.89. One of my favorite things about this cookie is that they give it to you warm. It’s soft and melts in your mouth, and the slightly melted chocolate chips make it feel fresh out the oven. The cookie tastes completely normal despite being gluten-free and vegan! I recommend getting two, one for the walk home and one to eat at home.
Colorful checkered bags, bright colored tops, soft plushies, and embroidered hats line the shelves. At Lanicrochets, dreams and wishes become a reality in the form of eye-catching and handmade crocheted goods. The brains behind the whole operation, Kaylani Addison, a business honors freshman, manages this full-time business on top of being a student.
“My business is focused around crochet apparel and accessories, and I (also) do like custom orders,” Addison said. “(It’s) just a different way to look at fashion.”
Addison started crocheting at 10-years-old but didn’t seriously consider turning her passion into a business until moving to campus.
“I just think Austin is the perfect place to do something like a startup. The market here is perfect for something that is quirky and different,” Addison said. “I decided to capitalize; maybe I should turn this into a full-fledged business.”
Addison had no set goals or concrete plans for the business’s future when she first started. Instead, she was just going with the flow, one step at a time.
“It was kind of difficult to start because I don’t know, what is a business? What am I? What am I going to do? And how do I start,” Addison said. “I didn’t really have anything, just a couple of hats I wanted to sell at the market.”
Instead of having predetermined items to produce at certain times, Addison relied on finding inspiration from her surroundings or personal interest to invent new product ideas.
“Everything I make is kind of just on a whim. If I see something I like on Pinterest, I’ll try to replicate it or do my own version of it,” Addison said.
Though Addison first with only her skills and a couple of hats, she now has a whole booth filled with a variety of products, her own logo, and a growing Instagram page where she does commission work. When asked about thoughts of expanding the business outside of college, she explains that it’s certainly a possibility she has in mind. She is open to the idea of evolving in the future.
“You never know how it’s gonna go. I thought it was just gonna be a small thing when I first started to do it,” Addison said. “I would love to do it full time, but I am just exploring my options at this point. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just have fun.”
As spring approaches, I can’t help but think about all the beautiful flowers that will soon blossom. So with that spirit in mind, here are the flower arrangements I believe best embody each UT college.
Without a doubt, if the Cockrell School of Engineering were a flower arrangement, it would be the iconic Lego flower set. It’s different, imaginative, and takes work to assemble. However, It’s pretty and fun, but it does come at a cost, much like being an engineering student!
COLA is a huge melting pot of different people and majors, and it’s only fair if the arrangement reflects the same thing. Varying in both flowers and colors this bouquet will have something for everyone!
You can never go wrong with a classic. The reason why white roses in a glass vase have worked for this long speaks for itself. It’s a timeless combination, and just like art, it’s sure to live forever.
White and blue seem to be the typical colors of the pharmacist uniform, so it’s only fitting that the flowers reflect that. Blue and white are such an underrated combo, much like the College of Pharmacy, yet look how much it gives us!
Loud yet subtle, Moody is full of creativity and imagination while maintaining professionalism and emphasizing the importance of connection. This flower bouquet will make a great impression while adding color and beauty wherever it is.
I’m a firm believer that every college has so much life and personality to them in their own way, and just like flowers they always have room to grow! Each is special and beautiful in its own way.