Portland’s Best Paletas

So long, Otter Pops. The city’s newest summer obsession with Mexican ice pops makes good on Oregon’s fresh fruit and creative chefs.

By Katie Vaughan June 17, 2015

Wondering if climate change is for real? Visit Portland in June, where an 88-degree day is the new normal. The question is this: how do we cool the heck down? Call them paletas, or just call them fancy ice pops, these traditional Mexican treats featuring fresh fruit and experimental flavors are popping up all over the city. Here are some of our favorites, with a Portland twist or two. 

Baker & Spice: Owner Julie Richardson usually deals in coconut cream pies and chocolate shortbread cookies, but when the mercury rises, she turns to fresh ice pops. Bright, sweet flavors like loganberry vanilla cream and strawberry rose water feature fresh fruit from local farms like West Union Gardens in Hillsboro. But the real star is their chocolate pudding pop: a jazzed-up Fudgsicle made with chocolate pastry cream and coated in chocolate shortbread crumbs. 6330 SW Capitol Hwy

Trifecta Tavern: Pastry Chef Eve Kuttemann offers a twist on the traditional paleta starting with organic, local raspberries and ginger ale. The juice pop is rolled in gingersnap cookies and stuck on an edible cookie stick. Keep an eye on their changing flavors as they swap out raspberries for late-summer fruit. 726 SE 6th Ave 

Xico: Pastry chef and general manager Mindy Keith is known for her boozy takes on the Mexican treat at Xico’s mescal and tequila-forward bar. In addition to her virgin strawberry-crema flavor, Keith serves a deconstructed lime paleta cocktail featuring Sombra mezcal and sal de gusano, a salt made from chile arbol and agave worm. Yes, worm salt. 3715 SE Division St

Ome Calli:  This family-owned ice cream shop started with a location in Tualatin and opened up a second in Beaverton last year. Casto Moreno and his family, originally from Mexico City, offer handmade paletas in a wide variety of flavors like mango with chile, soursop (a prickly, tropical fruit), and Nutella and goat’s milk caramel. 12795 SW Canyon Rd

Groundworks Organics: Visit this PSU Saturday Market stalwart for a paleta with fresh ingredients straight from the farm. Matthew Garrison, a farmer and pickling aficianado who has been with Groundworks for three years, creates fresh flavors from leftover fruits and berries, like strawberry, Meyer lemon and rhubarb. Garrison hopes to experiment with cucumber, watermelon and peaches through the dog days of summer.

Paletería y Neveria El Paisanito: This traditional, family-run paletería in Woodburn is probably the closest you’ll get to the real thing.  Bertha and Daniel Gomez, both from Michoacan (the birthplace of paletas), have been serving up homemade paletas since they opened ten years ago. They make everything in house, from the waffle cones to the syrups for their snow cones. Their paletas come in a wide variety of flavors, with surprises like avocado and rose petal. 429 N Front St, Woodburn

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