With summer just around the corner, my thoughts (stomach) turn to summer food treats. Some foods just scream summertime. Burgers, milkshakes, fresh-squeezed lemonade … you get the idea. Summer treats are fun.
Growing up, one of my favorite treats on a hot summer day was my mom’s homemade popsicles. I thought that was as good as popsicles could get… that is until I tried Las Paletas popsicles in Nashville. The brainchild of the Paz sister’s kitchen, Las Paletas specializes in “unique” flavors, while leaving a few items for all ya’ll unadventurous folks and kids. Shame on you (unadventurous folks….not kids). The flavors range from butter pecan and strawberry-raspberry to hibiscus and chocolate wasabi. Though certain flavors are always on the menu, it’s always fresh and flavors change weekly depending on what’s in season and available. For street cred, I’ll just remind you that Bobby Flay challenged the ladies on “Throwdown” a couple of years ago. He lost.
Since my first taste of these pops a few years ago, I’ve made it a point to have a couple when I’m in town and the weather is warmish. So, when my mom asked me what menu I wanted for my birthday cookout, I knew Las Paletas popsicles had to be the dessert. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t turn out quite as warm as we had hoped, but the popsicles tasted mighty good.
I know, I know, some of these flavors sound crazy. Hibiscus?! It’s a different flavor, somewhat like the sweetness of a cranberry, with a faint flowery taste that is perfection on a hot day. I can’t get enough as I lick even the melted mixture off my hand. The chocolate chili pop is just what the name says, chocolate and chili. The heat is enough to leave you with a little tingling in the throat, reminding you it’s there as creamy cool chocolate satisfies your sweet tooth.
Now, I’m not a fan of grapefruit because I don’t do tart, but they somehow take that out and only leave you with the sweetness and the goodness that is in grapefruit. The avocado pop was surprisingly tame. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to appear to live dangerously while staying happily far from the edge. It’s really just a green, creamy, buttery popsicle. A really, really good creamy popsicle. Lastly, I feel I must mention the corn popsicles. These weren’t on the menu this time, but they are by far my favorites. (Maybe it’s because they remind me of Panamanian chicheme.) If you happen to stop by and these are on the menu, just try them. I won’t ruin them with an insufficient description. Try them and enjoy. The unexpected and new flavors are part of what keeps me coming back. I’m looking forward to the day I go by and find the elusive chocolate wasabi pop.
If you’re ever in Nashville in the warm times, this is a must visit. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you have to wait in line, it’s worth it. At only $2.50-a-pop (pun intended), eat one on the drive home and stock up for the week in one of their freezer bags available for purchase in-store. I give this 4 out of 5 strips of bacon.Las Paletas 2907 12th Avenue South Nashville, TN 37204-2545 (615) 386-2101 http://www.wheresthesign.com/ Head of Southern Food Engineering Ben O.