Sweet Summer: Paletas

It's too hot to cook, so just skip to dessert. That's our philosophy, anyway. Besides, most summertime desserts have the added benefit of being cold, and anything that helps beat the heat is a winner.

This week we offer you a daily guide to the sweet treats of summer, from lo-cal to oh wow, and best of all, these sweet mood elevators are pleasingly priced with nothing over $6.

A rainbow of paletas lined up and ready to be devoured.
A rainbow of paletas lined up and ready to be devoured.
Sloane Burwell

Day Two - Paletas Esquimo's Paleteria #2 3555 W Van Buren Suite 110 Phoenix, AZ 602-278-0020

Popsicles are a good thing. They're cold, they're easy to carry around, they cost around a buck. The downer? The color and the flavor are one and the same: blue, red, purple, green, orange. Maybe that's ok if you're a third grader and your food matches your outfit (in case of spills, natch) but I'm leery of a treat that you ask for by color, and not by taste.

Enter the paleta. This Mexican popsicle would do Martha Stewart proud. No, you don't order by color, but by fruit. Not flavoring or color, mind you, but actual fruit. Real bits of pineapple, or chunks of freshly shaved coconut, or tamarind, or my favorite, the melon. Real fruit, and fruit juice, frozen around a stick, just screams summer.

Or in my neighborhood, just about any weekend. Paleta's, if not found at a Mexican styled ice cream shop (paleteria), are traditionally sold as street food, in little carts that are pushed around, and you'll hear them coming about a block away because of the bells that ring as the cart moves. None in your neighborhood? No problem. Esquimo's #2 is impeccably clean, cheerful, and packed with an array of flavors. No need to skip dinner on this one, since this qualifies them as a health food, at least to me. And at about a buck each, there's not reason not to stock up.

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