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 V.22 No.26 | June 27 - July 3, 2013 

Restaurant Review

The Scoop on Pop Fizz

New paleteria offers inventive frozen treats

Brothers Lorenzo and Carlos Alvarez opened Pop Fizz with their father Rafael five weeks ago.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Brothers Lorenzo and Carlos Alvarez opened Pop Fizz with their father Rafael five weeks ago.
On busy Bridge Street just west of the Rio Grande, there sits the antidote to scorching summertime heat. Though the sun may blind your eyes, look closely so as not to miss the colorful sign of new refresqueria Pop Fizz. Before entering, stray a moment in the swelter, because soon you will walk through Pop Fizz’s glass doors to cool air and refreshing frozen culinary delights.

The hum of the freezer beckoned. Beneath the cool glass lay brightly colored paletasfrozen juice- or cream-based pops originating from Mexicoas well as prepackaged cups of homemade small batch ice cream.

A scoop of Avocado ice cream is a uniquely flavorful way to keep cool.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
A scoop of Avocado ice cream is a uniquely flavorful way to keep cool.
Surrounding the few tables and chairs are many sweet and savory packaged goods, from nacho cheese Doritos to Mexican tamarind candy. These, however, were of little interest to methe hum of the freezer beckoned. Beneath the cool glass lay brightly colored paletasfrozen juice- or cream-based pops originating from Mexicoas well as prepackaged cups of homemade small batch ice cream.

When I visited, no staff was immediately visible, but someone always emerged from the back a few seconds later. After speaking to the employees/owners, this makes perfect sense; paletas are made in-house daily at Pop Fizz, and it’s easy to imagine the owners concocting new, inventive flavors in every spare moment.

Brothers Lorenzo and Carlos Alvarez, along with father Rafael, opened the shop five weeks ago in hopes of capturing the flavors they remembered fondly from childhood, but with a dedication to using natural ingredients like real fruit and organic cane sugar. You won’t find high fructose corn syrup here, but you will discover Grandma Alvarez’s horchata and limeade recipes in use, as well as new creations like guanabana, avocado and mimosa ice cream and paletas. The family also works with South Valley farms to use locally sourced food when it’s in season.

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
The Alvarez’s New Mexican, El PasoJuárez and Mexican background stands out deliciously in their products. These are flavors of the distinct and multifarious Southwest, and what able ambassadors they are. The prickly pear sorbet, sweetened with agave nectar, is pleasingly granular and mellow, growing fluid and syrupy in the heat. Even more refreshing, the cucumber lime chile paleta reminded me of homemade juice popsicles from childhood summers, but much more refined. The three flavors were simultaneously layered and blended from start to sticky finish. This was not my father’s Hawaiian Punch pop. On the creamier side of things is the rich, dense avocado ice cream. If you love the mild nutty flavor of the buttery green fruit, this ice cream is a requirement. With so many colors, forms and flavors to choose from, don’t hesitate to ask the experts for guidance; they’re happy to tell you about the fruit family of the soursop, or the hangover-specific healing properties of prickly pear.

The Alvarez family continues to introduce new, seasonal flavors (a chicharrones one is in the works), so be sure to stop at their Bridge Street store, which also serves nachos, elotes and shakes. If you can’t make it there, look for their cart at the Downtown Growers’ Market each Saturday. Either way, pick your paleta, and slurp into the sunset.

View in Alibi Chowtown calendar

Pop Fizz

844-B Bridge
695-1180
www.pop-fizz.net

Hours: 12 p.m. to 9p.m. Monday through Thursday
12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday
Price range: $1.00 to $5.00
Vibe: Friendly and fun
Happy hour paletas: Cabernet sauvignon and mimosa
Extras: Coffee, chips and candy
 

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