Now that the full press of summer heat almost upon us, I have been on the lookout for popular frozen treats other than the old standbys like ice cream and Americanized popsicles. Even gelato and Italian ice are so…European. I was eager to see what our south of the border brethren do to beat the heat. Puerto Rico has its piraguas named after their pyramid shape, frío-frío (cold-cold) from the Dominican Republic, and granizados from Cuba. It’s only natural that Mexico has its own raspados (shaved ice) which are compressed into ice pops (paleta) utilizing a wide range of fresh squeezed fruit juices (aguas frescas).
Turns out that there is a veritable groundswell in shaved ice desserts throughout NYC. Kelvin Slush Truck opened just a few weeks ago and last weekend, I stumbled upon La Newyorkina at the Hester Street Fair on the intersection of Hester and Essex Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The Fair is a smorgasbord of snacks and flea market stalls with narrow aisles ideal for grab and go food as you’re searching for that vintage t-shirt or Victorian knockoff bauble.
Run by Mexico City native pastry chef Fany Gerson and baker Hannah Goldberg, a constant stream of unusually flavorful frozen paletas flow freely from La Newyorkina’s unmarked cooler. These savories are a direct result of Gerson’s re examination of her childhood favorites back in Mexico. She copied down the ingredients, studied the process, and brought it all back here for you to taste. Take your pick from flavors like horchata (cinnamon-rice), tamarind, hibiscus, avocado, pecan cream, quince, or guava. The mango is my favorite since it has a sprinkle of chili-lime salt giving it that extra exotic kick. If it’s getting to be around lunchtime, their wholesome creamy and not-too-sweet avocado pop hits the spot. At $4 per treat, these babies pack a walloping taste bud explosion.
Hester Street Fair is open rain or shine every Saturday 10am-6pm from now through December. Take the F to East Broadway or Delancey/Essex or the J M Z to Delancey/Essex