When it's this hot, even ice cream can offer little respite. You need something more hydrating, something closer to water. You need a paleta, a Mexican fruit-based popsicle. Paleta literally means “little shovel,” and these treats are wider than the standard popsicle. They have a more handmade form, reminiscent of the kind your mom used to make in a tupperware contraption. But paletas come in flavors that would confuse mom (and you), like mamey, tamarind, and jamaica (hibiscus). Legend has it that Montezuma II, the emperor of Tenochtitlan, was the first to enjoy paletas, made from tropical fruits and ice carted from volcanic mountaintops. Today, throughout the central Mexican state of Michoacan and in a few Texan towns, paleterías are a common sight, selling the cooling pops from a cart on the street. In fact, a paletería is a great way for an entrepreneur to get a start without a lot of capital, so it’s a natural for New York.
Also available at Reyes Deli, 532 4th Avenue (14th Street), Brooklyn; Juquilita Grocery, 4216 5th Avenue (42nd Street), Brooklyn; and try Paletería La Michoacana, 4118 5th Avenue (41st Street), Brooklyn.