Walking around the mall for a few hours can be exhausting. You’re surrounded by people, running around to browse stores you’ve visited a thousand times, tiring yourself out place by place. But when my shopping partner and I saw the newly opened PoPaletas Popsicles & Homemade Ice Cream, we indulged our tired selves and found a new go-to spot.
The eatery opened earlier this month in the mall, offering popsicle and ice cream bars, flavored water, street corn and more, all of which feature Mexican flavors. Founder Miguel Barragan, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, opened the first PoPaletas shop in 2017 in Gonzales, wanting to bring the treats his family enjoyed to Louisiana. He named the store as a conglomeration of the word “popsicle” and its Spanish equivalent, “paletas.”
PoPaletas has been booming from the get-go. After the response to the first shop and its widespread audience, Barragan opened another location on Sherwood Forest Boulevard before expanding to the mall this year.
The mall location’s menu is a bit smaller than the others, but my friend and I were still overwhelmed at first by all the fruity options. I wasn’t in the mood for a popsicle, but my friend was immediately drawn to the strawberry cream bar, made with real berries coated in a hardened, creamy base. The bar was refreshing but not overpowering, sweet enough for a dessert but not sugary enough to be the equivalent of a few scoops of ice cream.
My gut told me to go for the mangonada: a drink made with mango sorbet and sweet and spicy sauce, all topped with a tamarind stick. The drink looked like a tie-dye concoction, bursting with red and peach colors. It tasted even better than it looked—the richest, most balanced fruity drink. The sauce added a spritz of savory tang, perfectly complementing the tropical mango flavor.
We weren’t sure of what we wanted to pair with our treats, so we tried a few of the flavored waters. While my dining partner preferred the more substantial treats, I enjoyed the thin-yet-flavorful texture of the drinks. I’m not a flavored water fan, but these drinks tasted more like almond milk or other creamy drink alternatives. The infused fruits added flavor to the sweetness.
One of the most popular authentic Mexican snacks—street corn—ended up as our final choice. Made with hot fresh corn and topped with mayo, butter, cheese and lots of spices, the street corn was jam-packed with flavor and shows off PoPaletas’ spicy side. I decided to go for street corn with Tajin, a Mexican seasoning consisting of chile peppers, lime and salt. It added a kick of spice that was the glue of the entire dish.
Whether it’s the summer or winter, a full-length shopping trip will always spark the need for something refreshing. PoPaletas will undoubtedly provide a go-to mall snack going forward.
PoPaletas is on the first floor of the Mall of Louisiana at 6401 Bluebonnet Blvd. It is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.