Restaurant Review: Sweet Deal
Michoacana Natural Ice Cream stands up to pricier parlors
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., Sept. 26, 2014
Mon.-Fri., 11am-9pm; Sat.-Sun., 11am-10pm
In the little strip center a stone's throw from one of Austin's best taquerías, Taco More, is a new Mexican nevería (ice cream parlor) that does things the old-school way with all-natural products. Opened in June by Silverio Gardoña and wife Marcela Díaz, Michoacana Natural Ice Cream is on the northwest corner of Parkfield and Rundberg. Walking in is like stepping into the helado palaces just off the Plaza de Armas in Morelia, Michoacán. Here, they are only too happy to offer tastes of any of their 30 amazingly rich ice creams.
Glancing in the display freezers, you'll find three different chilled aguas frescas (horchata, watermelon, and lime) along with stacks of two dozen different Technicolor paleta flavors ($2 chunky, frozen-fruit puree frozen pops). If you want to make that paleta an esquimal ("eskimo," dipped in a luscious chocolate robe and sprinkled with nuts), that can be arranged in a heartbeat. Need a mango or tamarind raspa (snow cone)? No problem. They have four flavors of mangonadas (a frozen treat made with fresh fruit and juice, lime, salt, chile, and chamoy [an apricot spread with lime, chile, and pineapple vinegar]). Fruit cocktails with chile, banana splits, skewers of whole frozen strawberries coated in chocolate, and the list goes on. Admittedly, there's a bit of a learning curve for the nevería neophyte, but they will patiently walk you through their frozen wonderland.
My first tub of three large scoops ($4.75) included a sinfully rich, gelato-like dulce de leche that was the best ice cream I've eaten in a long, long time. The pecan flavor was so nut-rich, it was almost like eating a bowl of pecans with ice cream melted over the top. The cajeta embodied all of the promises that caramelized goat milk and sugar can live up to. The next trip delivered an aromatic and thick, sweet mango, paired with the very essence of tropical coconut. Michoacana delivers very friendly service, amazingly good ice cream, and all the rest, at prices that demolish their upscale competition.