I talk a lot about “hidden gems” in this column, describing unique concepts, under-served populations or cuisine that is considered “ethnic.” This time, I mean it, dear readers. La Super Michoacana Ice Cream Parlor is literally hidden from view on Gate City Boulevard.
Once you slide over the speed bumps, pass other local Mexican businesses and make your way to the back of the parking lot, you’re in for a treat. Hundreds of treats, actually.
Occupying the space where Los Gordos Tex-Mex Cafe (RIP) once was, the large expanse of space is highly decorated with plenty of seating. The ceilings are high, and the lighting is dim, but the color scheme is extremely bright and shiny. The walls are lined with neon-colored decals and decorations while the freezer display cases mimic the walls but are full of frozen treats. Hundreds of paletas (Mexican popsicles) are stacked up inside. Flavors range from vanilla and chocolate to mango and yogurt with visible cross-section slices of kiwi, strawberries, mango, sliced cashews and almonds, chunks of chocolate, and chopped pistachios.
Vanilla is gonna seem, well, vanilla after you’ve stepped inside this paleteria or Mexican-style ice cream store, also called a heladeria. The roster of flavors does not begin or end with the few I described above. Your selections might include farmer’s cheese, roasted peanuts and even rum raisin made with real rum. The possibilities are astounding — and very delicious. That place advertising 31 flavors has nothing on La Super.
And ice cream is just part of the story: You can also order fruit cups or hand-dipped ice cream, mangonadas, which are made with sorbet, sliced mango, lime juice and chamoy, a brightly hued, bracingly sweet, sour, tangy and salty sauce.
The “fruit cup” is more like a fruit tray. Boasting 2 pounds or more of fresh cut apples, mangos, oranges and bananas all dusted with a spice mixture called tajin (pronounced tah-jeen).
The servers patiently explain the flavors, the options available and offer complimentary samples that are hidden gems as well. It’s a family-owned business that creates elaborate presentations that are made to order.
My first visit, I ordered a simple strawberries and cream (fresas con crema). Nearly 10 minutes later, I was presented with a 16 oz. cup layered with perfectly sliced strawberries artfully placed between layers of a very sweet, thick cream laced around the cup and garnished with whipped cream. I sat in my car and savored every slice and every drip and drab of the cream until it was gone.
If you’re not comfortable ordering in Spanish, the staff does speak English. To help you decide what to order, there are multiple brightly colored boards with enlarged photos of nearly 20 items. Just point and order. There are two TV screen displays of most items and a few prices.
Just jump in. If it’s sweet, creamy, spicy or it’s cold, order it. It’s ice cream. Everyone will be screaming about La Super Michoacana soon enough.