Ohmigod is there NO Mexican food that hipsters won't turn into a trend, getting coverage in national media and "improving" said food while the originators continue to ply their trade in scorned anonymity because they're Mexicans instead of non-Mexicans? The answer, of course, is a resounding NO, one that'll become evident in my long-promised book on the history of Mexican food in the United States (early April 2012!).
Now, the buzz circles around paletas--Mexican popsicles. There's a book out on them, Saveur did a spread a couple of months back, and the buzz is spreading nationwide like blueberry donuts is here in OC. This, of course, is ridiculous--paletas in the Mexican world are SO 1983, which means gabachos will get to our raspados in about six years. Since we've trodden this path so many times over the years yet nothing exists in the world anymore if it wasn't published on the Internet after February of this year, a list of great paleterías cobbled from previous reviews awaits you after the jump. Oh, and please read the definitive piece on paleta history: my mentor Sam Quinones' "The Popsicle Kings of Tocumba."
1. Nevería Flor de México
Actually, I'll rip off Edwin's review, as he included it in this week's roundup for the dead-tree edition of great chilled treats for the summer: "[The owner's] rompope has an eggnog richness, and the watermelon is a sweet evocation of the fruit as only a handcrafted creation such as this can achieve. If you're going to take a few home--and you will--she'll pack some ice in the bag so the paletas don't melt during your journey. Next time, bring a cooler. 7151 Katella Ave., Stanton, (714) 761-2813.
2. Delicias de Mexico
From this review: "The aguas frescas (fruit juices) paletas refresh like a water hose on your soul--you could drip the paleta de lima (lime) over your fish tacos and no one would complain. Heartier are those of leche (milk), the ice creams now in stick form and even more exponential in their taste. Many paletas de leche come with a prize--a hunk of sweet guava or quince in the center for chewing." 13466 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-7163.
3. Regular Ol' Paleteros
Buy 'em how Mexicans usually do! Located in any Mexican neighborhood...can you dig it?
4. La Nueva Reyna de Michoacán
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From this review: "Whereas La Nueva Reyna flavors ice cream with sharp-tasting fruits, their paletas emphasize such juicy, light fruits as pineapple, cucumber and watermelon--the latter, in particular, is maybe three degrees from absolute zero but retains its parent plant's zing." Special note, though: come here while you can, as SanTana's gentrification wars will surely claim it soon...300 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-0394.