Best Local Liquid Meals for When It’s Too Hot to Chew

We live on the face of the sun, and chewing takes energy

It’s no exaggeration to say that spending the summer in Austin qualifies as an extreme sport. With the heat (when was it last under 100 degrees?), the humidity, and the pulsing weight of all that sunlight, traveling the short distance from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned building can feel like trekking across the Sahara in your bare feet.

Who has the energy for digestion in those circumstances? Not us, dear reader. Chewing takes energy, as does lifting a fork to your mouth. What you want in this heat is food you can sip from a prone position, ideally over ice.

Which brings us to our first category: gazpachos. This Andalusian classic has been providing summer lunch heat relief since the woefully unairconditioned Roman empire, whose denizens probably hiked up their togas as they sipped a basic concoction of liquified bread, olive oil, and garlic. It’s a little tastier nowadays.

Perla’s, for example, tops their tomato and English cucumber gazpacho with blue crab, mint, toasted almonds, and a slice of manchego toast. Soup Peddler’s menu changes pretty quickly, but since it’s the height of tomato season it’s a safe bet that their classic toasted garlic, tomato, and sherry vinegar puree will probably be sticking around. There’s also the enlivening green detox broth, with kale, zucchini, broccoli, parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, coconut oil, and lemon juice. If all of this just sounds too vegetal to you, you could go for the delicately balanced vichyssoise at Le Politique, a creamy blend of chilled potatoes and leeks topped with chives and potato chips.

Le Politique (Photo by John Anderson)

Of course, there’s something to be said about staying on the sweet side of things on these sticky summer afternoons. Although we’re not here to tell you to go full juice cleanse, smoothies are a totally acceptable form of nutrition during these woefully sticky months. JuiceLand is a classic for a reason (somebody please buy me one of their fanny packs – thanks), and fan favorite Wundershowzen, a surprisingly substantial blend of almond milk, banana, spinach, hemp protein, and a healthy scoop of peanut butter, will fill you up all morning.

There’s something to be said, too, about the psychological benefit of using a spoon and chewing a little to make it feel more like you’re consuming a grownup meal and not just some extremely fancy variation of those Gerber baby blends of mushed-up carrots and squash. Açaí bowls are great for this – just a little chewing, nothing unmanageable. The folks over at Blenders and Bowls have a full menu of eight fully loaded varieties. We like the Nutty by Nature, whose blend of açaí puree with apple and banana slices, hemp granola, and almond butter makes it taste like a healthified version of the apple slices with peanut butter your mom probably made you as an afterschool snack.

If even this sounds like too much, there’s always ice cream. We don’t need to tell you where to find the classics, but if you’re the guilty conscience type, there’s apparently this new “superfood” vegan paleo ice cream called Snow Monkey. Or that weird fiber fluff variety whose marketing encourages you to eat the whole pint while swaddled in your footie pajamas watching Netflix. Personally, I prefer gazpacho, but hey, it’s hot out there, my dudes. Do whatever you need to to survive. And remember to go swimming once in a while – even solid food can start to sound appealing after a dip.

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