Top 5 Cool Summer Snacks

Categories: Sweets, Top Five

Star Snow Ice-thumb.jpg
Photo by John Suh
Star Snow Ice shaved ice
Houston is notorious for its summers: unbearable heat making the mercury climb to the upper nineties and even hundreds, humidity that leaves you drenched in sweat in the two minutes it takes you to go from door to car. And don't forget all the third degree burns from climbing onto your leather car seat or from touching the steering wheel.

Ah, yes, summertime in Houston is enough to drive a person away to another, more temperate part of the world, or at least to a refrigerator or an air conditioned place that serves cool summer snacks.

Here are my top five places to enjoy a cool dessert while seeking shelter from that unmerciful Texas sun.

IMG - MAM's House of Ice.jpg
Photo by Joy Moon
Root Beer & Pina Colada flavors from MAM's
5. Juice Box

This little shop in a Chinatown strip mall serves up Taiwanese-style shaved ice: chunks of fresh fruit, finely shaved ice, a scoop of fruit-flavored ice cream, and a drizzle of condensed milk for extra sweetness. I prefer the mango, but strawberry and watermelon are good summer options. The ice cream is the same flavor as the fruit in your shaved ice. I personally ask for the condensed milk on the side as I find it too sweet, but there are many who swear by the stuff. An order is large enough to share with a friend, so for a few bucks, you'll be feeling cool in no time.

4. Berripop

Perhaps a healthier alternative is frozen yogurt (or froyo, as it's been dubbed), a trend that rose and plateaued in the past few years. Whether or not it's on the decline, I can't say, but it's still a yummy snack to get on a hot summer day. I like Berripop because it has just the right ratio of tartness to sweetness. There are a handful of yogurt flavors like original, strawberry-pomegranate, blueberry, mango, etc. You can dress your froyo with all sorts of toppings from cereal to nuts to candies to fruit. The best topping is the mochi, a doughy floured Japanese rice cake that is chewy and subtly sweet. I've tried all sorts of froyo combos here but always revert to my favorite: blueberry yogurt with fresh blueberries, granola, and mochi. There are multiple Berripop locations all over town, so it should be easy to find one near you. Don't forget to ask for a punch card; you'll be grateful you have one to support your cool habit.

3. MAM's House of Ice

This blue trailer calls its current home on the corner of Rutland and 20th in the Heights. For $2, you get a small New Orleans-style cool summer snack -- very finely shaved ice called "snoballs" instead of "sno-cones" -- in the flavor of your choice from the classic Grape to the zany like Tiger's Blood or Dill Pickle. So far, I've tried Dreamsicle (like an Orange Julius or those orange Creamsicles) and Pina Colada and enjoyed them both. Next on my list will be Georgia Peach. For a little extra, you get a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream at the bottom, a little condensed milk or sour spray at the top. The ice is very fine, not like those coarse chunks of ice from childhood with extra sweet flavored corn syrups squirted on top. No, these snoballs melt as soon as they touch your tongue. Very cool. Check their website before going to make sure they're open.


Location Info

Berripop

2071 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mam's House of Ice

20th St. at Rutland St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Star Snow Ice - CLOSED

9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ben & Jerry's

5515 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: General

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9 comments
Mark Rosanes
Mark Rosanes

i LOVE juice box, esp with the soft mangoes and watermelon.  I always end up buying one for the kids just so i can have flavor options.

will have to try this MAMs place.

Flamingorev
Flamingorev

MAM's georgia peach is the only flavor I've tried that I didn't like so much.  Go for the blackberry.

Bruce R
Bruce R

There's a place called Sno-Ball Hut in Clear Lake that has the same flavors (e.g., dill pickle, tiger blood, etc.)  This seems like one of those kit businesses.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I love that nearly every photo anyone takes of the snoballs at at MAM's takes place inside their air-conditioned car.

Tosshi
Tosshi

Ben and Jerry's at 1, but no Blue Bell in sight? For shame.

RW
RW

Sweet Lola > Berri Pop.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Yes, I've had friends who remarked after I'd written this that Georgia Peach wasn't so great. Will try Blackberry then.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

We tried to get a better photo outside or at least in the windshield but the sun was unforgiving and melted those fine shavings of ice with mad quickness.  Oh well.  Not striving for a Pulitzer.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Hey, Blue Bell got a nod in #3.  Plus they're not a storefront per se, and their factory is outside of Houston.

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