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Los Alpes: an Icy Taste of Hell 

And other paleta flavors

Thursday, Apr 29 2010
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Dear Mr. Gold:

You seem to spend an awful lot of time tweeting about popsicles, many of them with flavors I have never contemplated in a popsicle before. While I know that the provenance of these things is probably something of a state secret, I am perhaps more curious than is healthy. Where are you getting these popsicles, and why are you holding back?

—Michelle, Hollywood

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Dear Michelle:

I don't mean to be coy — I'm just more interested at the moment in the popsicle-qua-popsicle than I am in the particular place of origin. (Or to be more accurate, in the paleta-qua-paleta — these are all the Mexican take on the time-honored ice treat.) I like Mateo's in Culver City and on Pico an awful lot, and I make a lot of detours to Paleteria Michoacan in El Monte. There are a lot of great flavors to be found: chamoy, made from the remnants of the plum-pickling process, which is sour, salty and superhot, an icy taste of hell; sweetened avocado; creamy mamey; spicy pico de gallo; and dark-green, funky alfalfa, which does indeed taste like what cows eat. But my favorite paleteria at the moment is probably Los Alpes, around the corner from Pal Cabron in downtown Huntington Park, which has probably more flavors than are good for it — paletas made with wonderful things like chopped cheese, rice pudding with boozy marinated raisins, and mango with chile, as well as more dubious pops flavored with refried beans, corn and mole. If you want to taste your way through the paleta universe, Los Alpes is a good place to start.

LOS ALPES:  6410 Rugby Ave., Huntington Park. (323) 587-4246.

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