Cool Treats to Beat the Heat
(Photos by Visit Corpus Christi Texas unless otherwise noted)
What is it about the warm salty air that makes a sweet tooth go crazy? We're not sure, but when the heat hits, it's time to chill it. Fortunately, the sheer variety of frosty summertime quenchers in the Coastal Bend can take you on an express trip to cool-down town:
We hear you screaming. Settle down, there's plenty of ice cream for everyone. Scoopy's Veranda at Snoopy's Pier overlooking the Laguna Madre, serves up scoops of Blue Bell – the national ice cream of Texas, y'all. Sure, ice cream is great, but what this Padre Island staple does with it, blows the mind: Get hooked on one of the handcrafted desserts, like the Chocolate Barnacle – cookie bottom, ice cream middle and mousse top – a unique Corpus Christi confection.
When the temperature soars, locals line up for this ritual slurp of delicate ice shavings drenched in yummy syrup. The family behind Sno-Ball 1 and Sno-Ball Too has been serving generations of hot sticky Texans with cool, sticky delight since 1972. The hermanas Hernandez offer sweet Technicolor flavors like Dreamsicle, Tiger's Blood and their award-winning Strawberry (add a scoop of ice cream to bring it down a few extra creamy degrees). The Sno-Ball sisters are known across the state, however, for their take on the salty, briny Texas curiosity, the Piccadilly – loaded with chopped dill pickle and topped with chile salt and sweet syrup. (Pro tip: Treat yo'self and your pregnant bestie to this tangy taste sensation.)
Raspas and Preperados
We're not sure how to say "rocket to the glucose stratosphere" en Español, but we think it might taste like one of the chamoyada concoctions – fruit, sour candy, shaved ice and yes, sometimes chile pepper – that bless this great state of Texas. Boy, howdy, that's some sugary, syrupy, spicy realness. Get ready to experiment, because, at Norma'z Fruits & Delights, customization is key. On the flipside, Norma also creates some gorgeous, natural fruit treats in individual servings or platters to feed your entire crew.
Padre Island newcomer A La Mode Gelateria opened in 2016 by two classically trained chefs who've each been featured on the Food Network. Culinary chemists Chef Vita and Chef G whip up small-batch gelato genius, from unique homemade recipes – like Pay Day candy bar, blueberry buttermilk, forest berry yogurt, and Karbach Chocolate BBH Imperial Porter (yes, as in beer!) – 18 flavors at a time, every day. This satiny stuff is seriously delicious and so fresh, you might think you heard it moo. Chances are, that was just your belly saying: THANK YOU.
Amy Salazar's path from Mexico to Texas frozen dessert maven is nothing to shake a stick at. Anyway, those sticks are busy holding some mighty fine paletas (ice cream and fruit bars). Featuring dozens of flavors and an expanded menu of sweet and savory pops, the ice cream chain empire she has since sold, La Paletera, debuted right here in Corpus Christi in the late 90s and carries on her nice ice traditions today at a number of locations across town.
Oh, yogurt, how is it that you manage to sneak in so many healthy good-for-you things into such decadent delicacies? Your millions and millions of live cultures make this cool indulgence feel so less naughty. And speaking of big numbers: The math involved in figuring out how many possible variations exist in combining all those flavors with all those toppings might just freeze the brain faster than the delicious creamy goodness of the bounty of offerings at Rockport's family-owned Pink Octopus.
Old School Milk Shakes, Malts and Floats
Though we don't actually call them "malt shoppes," some of the area's favorite purveyors of good ol' fashioned ice-cream drinks actually do harken back to that golden era of the American Diner – you know, those decades between real, live greasers and Grease, the movie.
Nothing hits the nostalgia button like popping on a poodle skirt and/or leather jacket and heading over to Hamlin Pharmacy's soda fountain or to one of the two Snapka's Drive Inns. These classic joints have been putting milkshake mustaches on bobby-soxers (and the rest of us) since 1960 and 1948, respectively.
Bubble Tea, Smoothies & Cold Coffee Blendeds
Fresh flavors like lychee, taro, mango and oolong make for some mighty tasty treats at Tastea: ice tea, bubble tea, smoothies, juices and slushies. Light, breezy and just enough cool-factor to take the edge off.
For those days when you need that edge and wish to stay frosty and caffeinated, sample the cold coffee offerings at Coffee Waves. They have one location in Port Aransas and two in Corpus Christi, each with plenty to keep you crankin’. Try the minty fresh, bliss-filled espresso-laden wake up call known as the Grasshopper; it'll have you hoppin' like one.
Frozen Cocktails and Mocktails
Crave the innocence of a snow cone but with a 'for mature audiences only'-kick? Check out Cool Sips, where crafty, cocktail-y amalgams come with Reagan-era throwback names like the Purple Rain (hurricane and blue Hawaiian), the Miami Vice (strawberry piña colada) and the Bananarama (banana piña colada) – all of this, plus "gel shots" and a drive-thru window.
Should you find yourself taking in the sights on North Beach, visit the Lexington Bar & Grill right across from that big, beautiful ship. Sip on a refreshing Beachcomber, their twist on a piña colada. They also offer an entire "Little Sailor" specialty drinks kids' menu (which translates to "no booze," we think), plus plenty of belly-busting meal options hot off the grill.
A core temperature's gotta do what a core temperature's gotta do. It's up to you to help keep it chill with one of these delectable indulgences. Meanwhile, we'll keep our eye out for more places in the Coastal Bend to satisfy those cool cravings.