Sno On the Ow!
What a wonderful time to get my four wisdom teeth pulled: in the middle of summer, with the cutest little sno-cone shop just opened in Mission Viejo nothingness, and me limited to a soft- or cold-food diet by doctor’s orders. Most of my past week, my pain-management strategy consisted of Vicodin plus many of the 50 or so flavors offered at Sno on the Go. The structure that houses it is smaller than a living room, with only two windows: a walk-up on the left and drive-through on the right. Happy soft-rock music (Jimmy Buffett? Jack Johnson? All sounds the same to me) plays loud enough to knock back the din of Jeronimo Road, but not enough to ruin the simulated-beachside vibe. Wife-and-husband Laura and Mike Wright run the place, and they usually give their small children chores such as handing over receipts or fetching cups—make sure to tip the kids, will ya?
These are not your push-cart raspados or epic shaved-ice bowls, imposing with sharp pebbles. The Wrights make a miraculous snow cone: judiciously poured syrup, featuring flakes so fluffy you might initially mistake the treat for soft-serve, but sturdy enough to maintain a chilly consistency. They derive some syrups from fresh fruits, others from teas, but even the ones not advertised as homemade taste fresh and not sickeningly sweet, as is the wont of too many snow cones. Letting the strawberry flavor sit in your mouth, for instance, is the same as sucking on its mother fruit. And the unique flavors—praline, wedding cake, bubble gum—also do a fine job masquerading as the real deal. A special shout-out to that chocolate syrup with enough chipotle undertones to make one remember the Aztecs; I forget the name of the flavor because I accidentally jabbed the back of my mouth with a straw—ouch.
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Since it’s early in Sno on the Go’s existence, kinks exist. Pineapple is spelled wrong on the menu, and the service is slow, although the sight of a child apologizing for the delay will warm even the jerkiest heart. The Wrights still haven’t noted on the menu their true specialty: the stuffed snow cone. It’s just a scoop of soft-serve vanilla ice cream placed halfway between the flakes, with a dollop on top. But the combination works: Vanilla’s unique sweetness pairs well with any flavor, and the contrast between two different types of cold (both temperature and texture) ensures you’ll never want a snow cone without soft-serve again.
One final point: I haven’t tried the chilled pickle on a stick. Wisdom teeth, you know.
Sno On the Go at 25567 Jeronimo Rd., Mission Viejo, (949) 510-3443.