It’s the little things that endear Lake Charles to me. For example, the little mom and pop joints that dot the urban landscape have intrigued me since our move to southwest Louisiana six years ago. You can read my posts on the donut shops here and the crawfish stops here. Other establisments I find fascinating are these little snow cone stands. They aren’t open year around – only in the summer. They are all over the place. In Pittsburgh, there’s the chain, Rita’s Italian Ice, which we loved, but they can’t hold a paper cone to these unique snow cone stands around here, especially in terms of price and flavor selections. I am also reminded of Pittsburgh’s iconic ice ball man, Gus, who’s been shaving ice by hand and hawking his treats on the North Side since 1934. (See photo here) I assume he is still there. I also recall getting snow cones as a kid at carnivals and county fairs. The ice was coarsely crushed and mounded into a paper cone, then drizzled with sweet syrup that invariably leaked out the bottom of the cone, making a sticky mess. My father NEVER allowed snow cones to be eaten in the car. Or much of anything else, for that matter. If we went to the Dairy Queen, we’d have to stand outside the car to eat our ice cream. But I digress.
Here in southwest Louisiana, we have these mom and pop “snow ball” stands. The ice is finely ground in a machine and thus is much denser than the snow cones I had been accustomed to in the north. And they are served in Styrofoam cups, so no leaks. Most stands here offer so many flavors; it’s difficult to make a decision.
In West Lake, there’s the appropriately named “Mom and Pop’s.” The ram is the West Lake High School mascot.
Most of these stands also offer vanilla soft serve. At Mom and Pop’s, you can order your snow ball “stuffed,” with soft serve in the center, or “cremed,” where they blend the ice, flavoring, and soft serve. Or you can get it stuffed and cremed. They also make a “slizzard,” which I guess is a take on the DQ Blizzard. At Mom and Pop’s, I had a red velvet snow ball.
Mom and Pop supervise and read the paper in the shop. They have owned and operated this shop for 20 years.
Down on Nelson Rd., you’ll find Krazy Kones. You can’t miss it, with the superhero and other assorted graffiti painted on the bright yellow background.
I tried sour apple this time. Let me give you a tip. Avoid the green colors, unless you’re going for that ghoulish goth look on your lips and tongue.On McNeese St., there’s Mr. Snow. Most of these stands offer the snow cones with “cream.” I assumed it was something like coffee cream. But I wasn’t sure. So I asked the girls working the drive-thru window. They told me “cream” is specially made from condensed milk, evaporated milk, and added sugar. As if those flavorings aren’t sweet enough already. I have not yet tried this option. Instead, I ordered a simple cream soda flavored snow cone. I was surprised when she handed it to me and it was red. Red? I expected something tan or light brown, like cream soda, right. Nonetheless, it tasted like cream soda. And that’s what counts.
On Oak Park Blvd., you’ll find Kool Kones.
Instead of soft serve vanilla, they offer hard pack vanilla. I chose a stuffed dreamsicle snow cone. Hmmm. Yes, it was orange in color. But it didn’t taste like a dreamsicle. It might have been orange-flavored. But that’s different from dreamsicle. You know that subtle difference I’m talking about?
Okay, I’ve saved my favorite snow cone stand for last. “Famous New Orleans Style Snowballs” in Moss Bluff. It’s my favorite for one reason . . . .because it’s the only stand I found that has chocolate soft serve! I love chocolate soft serve. I’ve been annoyed with DQ for years for taking it away.
Just look at that list of flavors! I think they have the most.
Once, I tried a snowball here with both mint and chocolate flavors stuffed with chocolate ice cream. I love chocolate mint anything. Indeed, it was good, but the color combination was a tad unappetizing. Think mud. This past week, I had a coconut snowball stuffed with chocolate. I was thinking Mounds bar. I liked it!Not bad for five days worth of research, huh! Next I might report on those curious drive-thru daiquiri stands. They definitely don’t have those in Pennsylvania. Just have to find me a designated driver.
How about you? Do you have a favorite snow cone stand?