If you don't frequent Arizona Mills Mall, I can't blame you. With five or six different blaring types of music within earshot, pushy sales people prowling the halls, and the exposed blue-light-flooded mouth of a stranger who fell for the very public "20-minute tooth-whitening," the place is an overload nightmare. But as I found myself there and needed a calming oasis to soothe my nerves, I went right past the pretzel and fudge stands and got an eye and mouthful of the refreshing shaved ice menu of Raspados Paradise Mexican Food.
A quick peek at the mounds of cucumbers, pineapples, and mangoes being peeled and cut on the premises let me know this is the real deal. No bottled syrups or instant Kool-Aid-tasting agua fresca, although the neon green of the lime raspado was slightly questionable. Possible food coloring aside, there were nine other delicious flavors to choose from, as a plain raspado, or with a Lechera (sweetened condensed milk) or vanilla ice cream addition. Raspados Paradise's flavors included vanilla, mango, watermelon, coconut and pecan, and my personal favorite, tamarindo con Lechera. And since a raspado alone does not make lunch, I grabbed a coctel de elote, all the fixings of street corn cut off the cob, put into a cup and bathed in butter, and cut up coconut drenched in a chile-lime sauce.
If you're looking for something with a spicy kick, try a Chamoyada, a chamoy, shaved ice, mango, lime, chile and spicy tamarindo candy concoction, and follow it up with a Macedonia, a cup-full of cut up strawberries, mango, bananas, nuts, ice cream, topped with sweet whipped cream.
As proprietor of Muñeca Mexicana handcrafted food, Minerva Orduno Rincon makes everything from mole poblano to goat milk caramel to spiced (not spicy) cocoa. Find her at a farmers market near you.