NO SOONER than the door closes behind you, you know you’re somewhere special.
A deep breath sweetens your lungs and your spirit. The stress and cares of the world are locked outside, the door forbidding their entrance as it jingles closed behind you. No, you can’t stay forever, but for the time you can steal, you’ll be rewarded and recharged and fueled to face reality a while longer.
Even the colors inside are happy. Bring a child-like wonder with you to maximize the joy factor. Don’t rush to order – the shop begs to be explored. More than its English translation “popsicle shop and ice cream parlor artfulness,” it’s a playful, sweet-lovers’ paradise. Even those seeking more naturally healthy treats can reward themselves here without guilt.
Mexican candy for your picking and pinatas for your celebrations wait patiently for your choosing. The tables and chairs are inviting, in colors that compliment all your options for treats. And while the decor has its own artfulness, it’s the ice cream, popsicles, and flavored drinks that steal the show.
Paleteria Y Neveria LaMonita’s owner, Jessi Ibarra, beams when talking about her shop. “Making people happy with ice cream is more calling than work. It’s also art,” she said.
“Most of what we do is unique. We’re not the only ones doing it, but very few people can do it. If you have the money to invest with McDonald’s, you can have a McDonald’s. But with us, you have to really know the recipes.”
There are water-based and milk-based popsicles. There’s always ice cream, and other treats are offered from time to time.
“We make corn [for] the locals, like the street corn. We do nachos, [and] strawberries and cream, fresh or frozen. We do bananas dipped in chocolate, with sprinkles or pecans. We have mangonada, and we have flavored drinks, orange juice, beet juice, and carrot juice.”
The number one flavor is not what we’d guess – chocolate. It’s strawberry.
Ibarra said, “I think it’s because we have so much with the strawberries. I work with a lot of strawberries. You can get strawberry ice cream and strawberry popsicles. The strawberries are blended, and you can get strawberry pineapple, strawberry mango, and strawberry kiwi. There’s just so many things you can mix with the strawberries. It’s one of the most versatile things you can use in your recipes. Or you can get the bionico, which is yogurt and fruit. That one (pointing to a bionico) has cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, and apples. Then you add the yogurt and toppings – granola, chocolate sprinkles, and stuff like that.”
Other popular standards are cookies and cream, vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, coconut, and pistachio.
She said, “I love what I do. I like making ice cream. I like mixing popsicles. I like when people ask me, ‘Why don’t you make this flavor?’ and I keep it on my mind. Sometimes I try it. Sometimes they don’t work, but sometimes they do.”
The variety offered will give you many reasons to return. It won’t be long until your car automatically pulls in their direction. Do yourself a favor – don’t fight it! GN