The other day after leading a food tour of downtown Flushing in the sweltering heat my mind turned to mush, well almost, it turned to a frosty treat. I was in the mood for Korean style shaved ice, or pat bing soo, but settled for a mango, coconut, and black jelly concoction at C Fruit Life, since I didn’t want to trek to the further reaches of Northern Boulevard in the heat.
It was refreshing, but after strolling Roosevelt Avenue—or La Roosie the stretch of Roosevelt lined with Mexican, Colombian and Ecuadorean shops, restaurants and street food and, at this time of year, all manner of World Cup regalia—I needed to chill out again.
My refreshment of choice? A nieves from Los Poblanos on Roosevelt Avenue. Even though eight wooden buckets done up in the colors of the Mexican flag lined the outdoor counter the only sign read, “mango.”
“Solamente mango?” I asked the girl behind the counter who said there was also watermelon and pepino, which she described as cucumber. I suspected that the cucumber would be of the spicy variety and I was right. As I slurped it from my perch next to the nieves buckets I was pleasantly reminded that pepino means pickle. The spicy pickle slush was a wonderful way to cool off and replenish the old electrolytes. The flavor really reminded of Korean mul kimchi, or Korean water kimchi, is another of my favorite ways to refresh and revitalize, come summertime.
Since I had only gotten a small nieves and was still quite hot after the walk I doubled down with more of this Mexican snow at Nieves Tia Mimi, which was just two blocks away. More than half a dozen flavors—many made from tropical fruits tamarind, lime, pineapple either on their own combined with chili and salt—are offered. For a moment, I considered peanut, but wound up with spicy jicama, since I’d never heard of it.
The texture of Mimi’s nieves is less smooth and slushy than Los Poblanos, but I thoroughly enjoyed the neutral flavor of the jicama combined with chili and salt. Just the thing for a hot day on La Roosie.
Los Poblanos Grocery, 92-19 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights
Nieves Tia Mimi, 89-14 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, 917-257-9930