Like most kids growing up in America, I looked forward to sunny weather for the treats it brought: usually popsicles. As I look back now, I realize those popsicles were trash. We should have been eating paletas all along.
4230 Bonita Rd suite b,, Bonita
That’s my takeaway from cruising out to Bonita to try Holy Paleta. As opposed to the sugar water and artificial coloring frozen to make a popsicle, the paleta freezes actual, nourishing ingredients. Think fruit juice, chocolate cream, or flavored yogurt. There are even paletas made from cucumber and chili peppers, and tamarindo.
These fantastic frozen dessert from Mexico (paleta translates to little stick) can get really creative, and the first hurdle I encountered at Holy Paleta was a good one: it’s really, really difficult to choose.
“We’re sold out of a lot of flavors right now,” said the young woman working the counter. “A lot of people wanted paletas this weekend.”
As she told me this, I was already having trouble trying to choose from more than two dozen flavors in front of me, including raspberry rose, strawberry mint, cookies and cream, and avocado, in which a whole wedge of avocado could be seen frozen within the creamy green pop.
Another positive reason deciding was a struggle: each paleta includes the option to add a chocolate or fruity sauce, and a candy or nut topping. For example, the shop’s signature “Cookie Monster” pop features a cookies and cream paleta (there’s an Oreo cookie suspended within it), drizzled with milk chocolate, sprinkled with Oreo and chocolate chip cookie crumbles.
Paletas start at $3.50-4 apiece, so I found the best way to go is order at least two. I started with a choco-banana paleta made mostly from pureed banana with a glob of Nutella in the middle. On that I asked for a green drizzle of matcha flavored white chocolate, and a springing of slivered almonds.
You may question my methods, but not the joy this brought. Ten-year-old me can keep his rocket pops and creamsicles. He really had no idea what he was doing.
For my second paleta I kept it relatively simple, going for a jamaica (hibiscus) popsicle, half-dipped in dark chocolate (whole-dipped is an option), and drizzled with white chocolate. The fruity-floral and chocolate combo pleased me, but my brain couldn’t help processing all the different combinations that might improve upon this next time.
Maybe I’ll start with a cantaloupe paleta instead. Or drizzle it with chamoy, and top it with sour gummy worms. Or go a Greek yogurt and nuts paleta, whole-dipped in dark chocolate and topped with pistachios.
Or maybe I just need to spend a lot of time in Bonita this spring and summer, working to dial in the best combination.