Our favorite Standbys

There's so Much More to Summer Than Ice Cream

This summer, we're giving ice pops, raspas, snow cones, and more a taste.

By Gwendolyn Knapp and Timothy Malcolm May 31, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Since 2016, Jonathan Delgado has turned out the hits seasonally (February–October) with refreshing all-natural ice pops—strawberry lemonade, passion-guava-mango, and banana pudding with wafers.

Image: Amy Scott

Some, like the raspa and snow cone, are perfectly throwback, best enjoyed in a parking lot in your car with the AC blastin’ or on a shady wooden patio. Others, like homemade gelato, speak to our city’s refined culinary tastes—buon appetito. These are our favorite five standbys.  

Ice Pop: Popston

Since 2016, Jonathan Delgado has turned out the hits seasonally (February–October) with refreshing all-natural ice pops—strawberry lemonade, passion-guava-mango, banana pudding with wafers—that are rife with fresh fruit and artful enough to be sold at the MFAH sculpture garden. He’s even collaborated with Urban South on a beer—“Like a melted Popsicle® inside a can,” he says. But it’s his rolling carts at the Houston Arboretum and in Hermann Park you’ll want to be on lookout for this summer—a new EaDo window, too. Various locations –Gwendolyn Knapp

Raspa: Flamingo Chill

At night, the burning neon sign beckons you to relax under electric palm trees for that most Tex-Mexican of summer treats, the raspa—short for hielo raspado (shaved ice) and beloved in town since the ’60s. The line at Flamingo Chill, founded in 1994, will undoubtedly be long, but have a chamoyada, the quintessential combination of mango syrup and chile-packed sauce, chamoy, as your reward. 6404 Airline Dr., 713-692-1006 Timothy Malcolm

Jasmine Chida of Sweetcup

Image: Amy Scott

Gelato: Sweetcup

Inspired by a trip to Italy, Jasmine Chida began experimenting at home before opening her trusty Sweetcup in Montrose in 2012. It quickly became our go-to source for all things gelato and sorbet. A second location opened in the GOOF in 2019 and pints are now available at Whole Foods and Central Market—more Houstonians than ever are hip to her stand-out scoops of tres leches and stracciatella gelato, not to mention the aromatic pomegranate rose sorbet. Various locations –GK

Snow Cone: Red’s Snow Wagon & More

Snow cones are how you beat the heat in H-Town. Red’s calls ’em sno-cones even though the finely shaved ice and laundry list of fun, classic flavors populating the bead board by its window give off New Orleans sno-ball vibes. Naturally, it’s home to one powerful Tiger’s Blood (strawberry, watermelon, coconut). Top yours with cream for the ultimate summer remedy. 1309 Almeda Genoa Rd., 713-433-0164 –TM

Snowflake Ice: Nu Café

You can’t help but feel cooler with mountain ridges of snowflake ice (a.k.a. snow ice) in front of you. At this inventive Dun Huang Plaza Shop known for the Taiwanese treat, a wizard-like machine shaves a mixture of condensed milk and frozen water into the paper-thin flakes—sea-salt-caramel with rainbow marshmallows, Oreos, and extra condensed milk is a creamy, indulgent option. 9889 Bellaire Blvd., #112A –TM

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