La Frutileta Michoacana
500 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura

Despite being a lifelong fan of popsicles, it was only recently that I began consuming in great quantity the Latin American treat known as paletas, thanks to La Frutileta Michoacana on Ventura Avenue.

On a Saturday, with over two dozen options to choose from, I chose simply: a fresh fruit paleta with beautiful slices of kiwi and strawberry frozen in cream; a fresh strawberry and cream paleta; nance, a water-based popsicle derived from a small tropical fruit; and tamarindo con chile, a tamarind fruit, water-based popsicle, for $2.50 a pop.

I wasted no time consuming the fresh fruit paleta, and to my surprise found several other types of fruit packed into the bar. Grapes and orange slices joined the kiwi and strawberry for a fruity surprise. It was a divine experience and it took everything in my power to resist eating a second, third or the final treat in one sitting, but resist I did, at least for that day.

The following day, the strawberries and cream became the paleta of choice and it, too, was uncanny. Light pink in color, the hue of the cream accentuated the strawberries, and the fresh fruit proved a worthy remedy to the unbearable summer coastal sun.

On Monday evening, delving back into the bag, I retrieved the tamarindo con chile. While the first two proved familiar, this was an out-of-this-world experience: equal parts sweet and sour, the tamarind fruit proved itself a worthy accompaniment to a light lager in the warm evening. The addition of chili pepper was noted, as a light tingling on my tongue remained long after the treat was gone.

La Frutileta also serves up unique savory flavor combos as well, including a pico de gallo paleta that I promised to try when next I return. 

It is dangerous to live so close to such a place, because I know that I’m going to be a regular, if not for the paletas, for the various treats on the menu featuring fresh fruit and other summer-friendly specials.