There are certainly better ways to deal with the heat than eating a big bowl of ice cream or a paper cone filled with yummy shaved ice. But we can’t for the life of us think of what those better ways might be. Therefore, we have compiled a list of some of the best places in the Valley to pick up sweet, cool treats. Enjoy.
Paletas Betty96 West Boston Street, Chandler
Look no further for your summertime source of traditional Mexican frozen pops made from fruit and cream. Paletas Betty is the first and last word, here locally, for south-of-the-border popsicles made from fresh, seasonal fruit, nuts, and ground spices. But here’s a warning: don’t get attached to any of Betty’s delightful flavors and combinations; her menu changes all the time. When we can, we like to order the one made with pecans, but Betty standards also include strawberries and cream; raspberries and chocolate, and a dark, smokey vanilla. We’ve also had one flavored with musk melon and blackberry with lavender.
Sheltering in place? No problem. Betty will let you order from her website and have pops delivered right to your door.
Sunny SnoBalls980 East Pecos Road, Chandler
Shaved ice is refreshing, but New Orleans-style snow cones are the deal at Sunny, where big cups of fresh, cold shaved ice are drizzled with flavored syrup made in house daily. House specialties include the Spicy Mango, spiced with Tajin, chamoy, and a tamarind straw; and the Pink Flamingo, a combo of lemon creamsicle ice cream, strawberry lemonade snow, and a spoonful of marshmallow fluff. Sunny lets you build your own with toppings that are crazy (gummi bears) and conventional (cookie crumbs). Sugar-free and artificial-flavor-free syrups are available, too.
Frost Gelato2150 East Williams Field Road, Gilbert
2502 East Camelback Road
Ice cream is great, among the very best things you could ever possibly put in your mouth. But gelato is even better. Made with less butterfat and churned for greater density and a silkier texture than ice cream, gelato is an Italian dessert delicacy. And the gelato at Frost is some of the best we’ve ever had. Theirs uses authentic Italian recipes in 60 different flavors and combinations — from plain old chocolate (actually not so plain at Frost, where chocolate is always rich and dark and creamy) to gelato flavored with honey, or lavender, or fig, or even root beer. These and all the other flavors can be had in a cone, a cup, or a milkshake. Takeaway is available, too. And before you can holler “But I’m on a diet!” please know that Frost also serves fruit-flavored sorbets.
Slickables699 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Ice cream is ice cream is ice cream, but at Slickables, it’s also a sandwich. A single scoop of creamy, handmade ice cream of your choice is piled between a pair of fresh-baked cookies. Who needs a cone? Nearly a dozen different cookie flavors and almost as many ice cream flavors are available each day. Peanut butter cookies go great with chocolate ice cream, of course, and a nice chocolate chip cookie crammed with rocky road is a good way to get through part of a July day. But don’t overlook the possibility of cookie-dough-and-cream piled between warm Funfetti-flavored discs. They deliver, too.
Ice Lab1911 West Main Street, Mesa
Patbingsu, a red bean-based Korean shaved ice dessert, is the house specialty at this local dessert shop. Mixed with condensed milk, fresh fruit, and various flavored syrups, it’s a gourmet version of that old standard, the snow cone. Chocolate, green tea, mango, and our favorite—something called strawberry snowflake with chocolate topping. For anyone who somehow isn’t into shaved ice (who — and how — can that be?!), Ice Lab serves a coconut shake that’s out of this world. Whatever you order, cozy up to the tidy espresso bar and chat up Christina or one of the other friendly Ice Lab staff. Maybe order seconds.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.