There’s no surer sign for this Queens kid that spring’s here and summer’s around the corner than the emergence of the frio frio man, a Dominican shaved ice vendor, in the window of El Bohio Grocery. Bottles of fruit flavored syrup—tamarindo, naranja, limon, coco, and frambuesa—line the counter along with a 75-pound block of ice. By the time I arrived on a sunny late afternoon last week the glacier had been whittled down to about 25 pounds by the shuss shuss shuss of his scraper. If Benfaremo is the Lemon Ice King of Corona then this gentleman is surely Corona’s El Rey del Frio Frio Dominicano.
My go-to order at this Corona staple has been the frambuesa, so named for a fuchsia-colored syrup that’s supposed to taste like raspberries. Along with a squirt of condensed milk it tastes like a day-glo version of summer, icy cold and packed with a magnificent sugar rush.
I was all set to order a frambuesa when I saw a sign that read “Nuevo sabor coco con limon.” I’m all about nuevo sabor, so I immediately ordered one, with leche condensada. The first few overenthusiastic spoonfuls and slurps shocked the roof of my mouth with their iciness, a combination of tropical vacation and a blast chiller.
After the frostbite subsided I walked to Flushing and enjoyed the rest of the cup at a less skull-freezing pace. I have a feeling it’s going to be a hot summer, and I’ll be back many times for El Bohio’s nuevo sabor.
El Bohio Grocery, 98-17 Roosevelt Ave, Corona, 347-527-2538