go Be­yond vanilla witH tHai fresH scoop

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD MATTERS - — A.B.

It al­ways amazes me that Thai Fresh has only been around since 2008.

Walk­ing into the Thai res­tau­rant tucked away in South Austin at the corner of West Mary and South Fifth streets, you’d think the place had been there for a decade. Thai gro­cery goods and fresh pro­duce line the back wall. Reg­u­lars sip on tea while read­ing or chat­ting with friends, and there’s al­ways buzz near the counter where you or­der from a range of rice and noo­dle dishes, cur­ries, sa­tays, soups and other Thai spe­cial­ties.

Even though it’s just a tod­dler in res­tau­rant years, Thai Fresh dou­bled in size ear­lier this year when co-owner Jam Sanitchat took over the space next door that used to be a yoga stu­dio. The ex­tra square footage has al­lowed her to add an ice cream freezer stocked with 14 sea­sonal frozen treats, a dessert case with an ar­ray of pas­tries, many of which are gluten free, and a tea bar, which fea­tures lo­cal teas from Zhi Tea, Sesa Tea and Bare­foot Botan­i­cals.

Like the food, all the ice creams and desserts are based on sea­sonal and lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing herbs from Sanitchat’s back­yard gar­den and fruit from lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets. More than half the tarts, pies, cakes, cob­blers, brown­ies, cook­ies and bars ($0.75-$4.50 per serv­ing) are made with­out gluten, and many of the ice creams ($8.99 per pint or $1.99 per scoop), in­clud­ing the ever- present choco­late, are made with co­conut milk and are ve­gan and dairy-free.

Many of Sanitchat’s in­ven­tive fruit-based fla­vor com­bi­na­tions such as gin­ger peach, wa­ter­melon mint and cu­cum­ber melon even­tu­ally make their way into agua fres­cas ($2.99), also a re­cent ad­di­tion to the menu.

Ralph Bar­rera

Jam Sanitchat

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