Eating ABQ: Pop Fizz

Is it wishful thinking, or is there a whiff of fall in the air? 
There’s something in the sound of the wind, an autumnal rustling. If you look closely, a few trees are sporting clumps of yellow leaves. And green chile is starting to appear in CSA baskets and at the farmer’s market.
Just one problem: It’s still way too hot.
Lucky for us, this is a problem Pop Fizz can help with.

When we walked into the little paleta shop on Bridge Street in the South Valley, we didn’t know what to expect. What we found was a wonderfully vibrant spot with bright color everywhere – vividly colored walls, shelves full of candies and bottled sodas, jars of aguas frescas, cleverly woven plastic lamps… and, of course, a freezer full of housemade popsicles and ice cream.

We started with paletas. The extremely friendly counter staff explained all the tempting flavors, including a few they no longer had, or were planning to make. Their creativity is impressive. Pineapple-habanero, mimosa, or prickly pear popsicles, anyone?

After a little dithering, Arne chose lime, a simple classic. I went for bright orangey-pink guava-strawberry. As we paid, the owner told us about their popsicle freezing facility – not on the premises, but a couple of blocks away, with industrial freezers to make short work of their icy business.

We settled at a little table and dived into our treats. So refreshing. The lime was plenty tart, like I like it, super-cold and icy because lime doesn’t have a lot of pulp. The guava-strawberry was softer, sweeter, fruity and delicious.

After we slurped up the last of our melty treats, we decided to take home some ice cream, sold in little cups for a couple bucks a pop. I confess that we haven’t yet tried them all… but I urge you to go and try the avocado ice cream. Very sweet, surprisingly fruity, and utterly suave in texture, this is an unforgettable treat.

This tiny shop is absolutely stuffed with sweets. Besides the candies, sodas, popsicles, and ice cream, the menu behind the counter lists a variety of shakes, smoothies, slushies, and snacks – including the intimidating but amazing sounding “mangoneada,” which the owner described to me as a mango popsicle in a cup with a sort of dipping sauce of red chile and lime that infuses the popsicle as it softens. (“The kids love it!” he said.) I really need to try one of these. Someday when I’m feeling brave.

Most of these beautiful treats cost about $2 – and they feature no corny syrup, just good old-fashioned cane sugar. So when the day is hot, bring the family, grab an icy cold snack, and hang out in the friendly shop or at South Valley Gateway Park, right around the corner. You’ll be glad you did!

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