The Guilty Pleasure: Asian shaved ice. Where To Get It: Snoh Ice Shavery, 10th Street and Camelback (and other similar places) Price: $4-7 depending on size What It Really Costs: "Dude, why the hell are there beans on your dessert?"
In my humble opinion, one of the most fickle parts of the restaurant industry is dessert. There's always something hot (or chilly) and new, enjoying its day in the sun before our collective taste buds are distracted by something else. Gelato and fancy cupcakes have come and gone; to the latter, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Frozen yogurt places have recently hit a saturation point; never mind that Pinkberry couldn't figure out that Phoenix might be a good market for them. We're past due for something new, and I think I've found it.
In China (especially Taiwan), it's called baobing. Japanese people enjoy kakigōri. If you're in the Philippines, you'll have halo-halo. Koreans call it patbingsu. What is it? It's Asian-style shaved ice. This is a little more elaborate than the crunchy snow cones you remember from childhood, or the Hawaiian shave ice from bottled water stores. For starters, the ice is shaved very finely; the texture is reminiscent of freshly fallen powder snow. Second, while snow cones and Mexican raspados start with plain ice, Asian shaved ice starts with flavored ice.