Play It Cool

Ways to Stay Cool This Summer: Tex-Mex Treats at Magnolia's Ice Cream

Who wouldn’t be charmed by a strawberry snow cone topped with Sour Punch belts and gummy bears on a hot day?

By Marianella Orlando July 25, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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[Clockwise starting from top left] Loko cup: strawberry snow cone, sour belts, gummy worms, gummy bears, spicy chamoy; Mangonada: mango, spicy chamoy, mango sorbet; Picoyada: spicy chamoy, snow cone, dill pickles; Green Monster: lime sorbet, pineapple, green chamoy

Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is not your average raspas stand. In fact, it’s not a stand at all, but a Magnolia Park bungalow that boasts both A/C and a menu offering far more than the humble snow cone.

Laminated sheets announce endless colorful concoctions with even more colorful names—the Loko Cup, the Green Apple Rose, the Strawberry Bomb. Fans line up to order favorites like chamoy-spiced mangonadas, and to discover the new creations co-owner Marlene Garza has come up with since their last visit.

Garza and her sister opened the shop in 2013, across the street from Tijerina Elementary, which they attended as children. While the two originally envisioned the place as a candy store, they quickly changed course after noting the popularity of their other offerings, expanding their short menu of fruit ice creams, Kool-Aid pickles (a.k.a. Koolickles, which originated in the Mississippi Delta), and snow cones into the joyous jumble of neon-tinted treats that greets patrons today.

“We paid attention to what our customers were asking us for the most or what they would come up with,” says Garza. “We always let our staff try it and make sure they like it before putting anything on the menu.”

Magnolia’s raspas, Garza stresses, aren’t the traditional Mexican treats, which consist of crushed ice and flavored syrup in a cup, nothing more, nothing less. Her creations, she says, are Tex-Mex. Garza herself is Mexican-American, born and raised in Houston, which is why it’s important to her to infuse both cultures into her menu.

“We have a little taste of both worlds,” she says. “The topping bar has chamoy and traditional gummy bears, so we can go very Mexican or traditionally American.”

Whatever their origin, the treats appeal to Houstonians of all backgrounds. Who wouldn’t be charmed by a strawberry snow cone topped with Sour Punch belts and gummy bears on a hot day?

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