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A little different from your favorite roadside stand?

Image: Lauro Rojas

As Houston trudges along through the final—and quite possibly hottest—days of summer, Houstonians looking for a reprieve might find a new favorite oasis in the form of Zero Degrees. Zero Degrees is a drink chain based out of California with locations all over that state and one in Beaverton, Oregon.  Now expanding east, Zero Degrees is looking to make their mark on the Lone Star State, and where else to start but in Houston? Space City is something of a raspas capital and doesn't need outside help, but the Zero Degrees difference is in presentation. The self-styled “Home of the Mangonadas” has some of the most photogenic drinks around.

“We started as an Italian ice cream shop, so we sold sorbet with custard,” says Ken Le, owner of Zero Degrees. But as he saw the market change, the menu shifted. “We went from doing soft serve Italian ice, jumped in the Boba tea business and [then became] what we are now.”

As the slogan indictates, Zero Degrees' specialty is now the mangonada. Theirs is a real treat, with two variations. One is a mango slush with chamoy, tajin and fresh mango chunks;  the Mangonada Twist is layered with a helix of spicy mango on top.  Other signature drinks include Watermelon Slush, blended watermelon slush with watermelon bits; Spicy Watermelon with chunks, and Spicy Watermelon Twist, a watermelon slush with chamoy, tajin and fresh watermelon chunks and spicy mango twist. 

Still not enticed? There are plenty of other options, including horchata and matchata frappes, non-alcoholic strawberry and orange mojitos and good variation of teas, Earl Grey milk tea, jasmine milk tea and Thai milk tea. If you cannot simply decide between two drinks you can opt for the split cup, which allows you to simultaneously sample the best of both worlds—for example, a jasmine milk tea on one side and sea salt green tea on the other.

Since the Houston store only opened on August 12, food options are currently limited to classic elote or Hot Cheetos elote, which is every bit as magnificent as it sounds. They'll roll out more food items by next month, if not sooner. If other locations are any indication, other dishes may include pork rinds, chicken wings and Vietnamese-style rice plates.

Zero Degrees is located in Alief at 10603 Bellaire Boulevard in Kim Son Plaza. When it comes to your stand-alone food stands, there are plenty littered all around Houston, but what makes Zero Degrees stand out is its emphasis of quality over quantity. The ingredients are the freshest around and the staff strives to provide the absolute best product they can put out. And yes, it will raise your 'gram game.

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Zero Degrees

$ Café, Juice, Pan-Asian, Pan-Latin 10603 Bellaire Blvd.

Mangonadas are delicious, but usually less than photogenic. Not so at this link in a California chain. Salted green milk tea, ube milkshakes, Hot Cheetos elo...