TNT Diner

It's too hot. Take the family to get these amazing desserts to cool off

Shaved ice comes in six flavors at Aloha Poke in Fircrest. This one is mango topped with fresh fruit and mango boba.
Shaved ice comes in six flavors at Aloha Poke in Fircrest. This one is mango topped with fresh fruit and mango boba. skidd@thenewstribune.com

As a native Northwesterner and sworn enemy of summer’s high temperatures, I make it my mission to find the quickest way to cool down when that giant orb in the sky produces too much heat.

My solution: Frosty treats.

Lucky us, new destinations in and around Tacoma also are great places to bring kids.

There’s a newly opened drink cafe in East Tacoma serving Mexican shaved ice, called raspados.

The new gelateria in the Proctor neighborhood serves a famous, frosty Italian drink with a hard-to-spell name, affogato, that’s a merge of two things I love.

With the opening of Aloha Poke in Fircrest, we now have a new destination for shaved-ice desserts.

I’m also recommending frosty treats you’ve probably never heard of: halo-halo and patbingsu.

Raspados Diablito
A raspados Diablito from Raspados La Pasadita in Tacoma. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

TAMARIND RASPADOS

Where: Raspados La Pasadita, 6332 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-212-9768.

This adorable cafe in a mini strip-mall opened in May with a menu of Mexican snacks (think: tostilocos and esquites) and about 20 raspados, which are frosty shaved-ice drinks in broad flavors, including mango, lime, lemon, guava, peach, plum, pineapple and coconut.

For those who like their sweet, frosty drinks on the spicy side, try the Diablito, a shaved-ice concoction flavored with chamoy, a popular spicy-sour-sweet Mexican condiment.

One sip of the icy cold drink pulled a sweet-and-sour flavor bonanza with lingering spice. That sour-sweet note was reinforced with chunky tamarind candy plopped on top. Here’s something fun: It’s served with a plastic straw with an edible wrap-around of Mexican tamarind candy ($5.99).

Don’t worry, there are non-spicy, fruity versions that would appeal to kids.

Alegre affogato 1
Combine gelato and espresso to make affogato at Alegre Bakery and Gelato. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

AFFOGATO

Where: Alegre Bakery and Gelato, 3820 N. 27th St., Tacoma; facebook.com/alegrebng.

This Italian frosty treat combines two things that are easy to love: Coffee and gelato. At newly opened Alegre Bakery and Gelato, the espresso comes from beans roasted by Caffe Vita, and the gelato is made on site by co-owners Taraya and Ali Ataman, who opened their cafe in June. The dish is served as a do-it-yourself special and comes with any flavor of gelato.

I ordered mine with whiskey cream gelato, which lent boozy, creamy sweetness to the ultra-strong espresso. The gelato was served flanked by a frothy shot of espresso. Just pour the shot over the gelato and watch as a creamy lava is created ($5.49).

Kid-friendly flavors abound at the gelateria, which also has fresh-baked pastries.

Aloha shaved ice 2
Mango shaved ice at Aloha Poke. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

SNOWFLAKE SHAVED ICE

Where: Aloha Poke and Shaved Ice, 2013 Mildred St. W., Fircrest; 253-565-2393; facebook.com/alohapokeshavedice.

The shaved ice at newly opened Aloha Poke and Shaved Ice was so finely textured, it looked like miniaturized straw and came with a fluffier-than-you-can-imagine texture. They call it “snowflake ice” here, and it comes in six flavors, including red bean, green tea, chocolate and strawberry. The restaurant, which opened in April, has a dual specialty in poke bowls and the Hawaiian-style shaved ice.

The large, mango shaved ice was meant for sharing. At the base was a mound of fluffy ice saturated in a sweet-and-creamy mango syrup with slippery cubes of fresh mango tumbled on top. Gelatinous orbs of boba pearls popped with more juicy mango flavor. Chewy mochi added a bit of texture. Garnished with cookies ($6.99 cup/$9.99 bowl).

cheesecake bar
A cookies-and-cream cheesecake bar is one of Danelle Bentley’s products from her company, Tacoma Cheesecake. Drew Perine Staff file, 2015

DIPPED FROZEN CHEESECAKE BAR

Where: Tacoma Cheesecake Kiosk at South Hill Mall (outside the food court) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays; tacomacheesecake.com.

And here: Freezer case at Parkland QFC, Stadium Thriftway.

What’s better than cheesecake? The kind that’s dunked in chocolate and served as a frozen dessert bar. That’s the creation of Danelle Bentley, who owns Tacoma Cheesecake. The company specializes in full-sized cheesecakes as well.

Chocolate-dipped flavors include strawberry cheesecake, lemon-blueberry, raspberry and peanut butter.

I like the company’s simple version with a sugary layer of graham cracker crumbs wedged between the thick coating of dark chocolate and fluffy, creamy cheesecake. Even frozen, it has a light, airy texture ($3.99).

halo halo
Halo-halo is a Filipino shaved ice dessert from Maresol in Lakewood. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

HALO-HALO

Where: Maresol Restaurant, 10505 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood; 253-581-7248.

I’ve been looking for a replacement for my favorite halo-halo since Mother Lily’s Kusina in Lakewood closed. Lucky me, I found the Filipino shaved-ice dessert at Maresol.

It’s an off-menu order, but they always have it available at the Lakewood turo-turo restaurant, which offers a steam table of Filipino favorites.

Halo-halo translates to “mix-mix,” which is exactly what you want to do with the shaved-ice dessert loaded with goodies. Sunk deep into the plastic cup was a sweet sauce swirling around fresh coconut, chewy jelly candies and sweetened beans. Use a spoon to pull it all up into the milk-saturated shaved ice. Plopped on top was a big orb of bright purple ice cream. It’s sweet and creamy and you’d never know it was made from taro, except for the vibrant color ($6).

Coffee Kitchen patbingsu - Copy
Green tea patbingsu is topped with fresh fruit at Coffee Kitchen in Lakewood. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

GREEN TEA PATBINGSU

Where: Coffee Kitchen, 9115 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-588-4191.

Like halo-halo, patbingsu is a shaved-ice dessert that offers ballast in the form of beans and a frosty, sweet finish. The Korean dessert is served with sweetened red beans nestled on top of a fluffy cloud of shaved ice topped with sweetened milk. Order yours with green tea ice cream at Coffee Kitchen, a dessert-and-sandwich cafe in Lakewood.

A scoop of green tea ice cream, which tasted more of sugar than tea, topped the ice. It also came with something the plain patbingsu doesn’t: A big boost of fresh fruit that included sliced kiwi, bananas, strawberries and blueberries.

The smaller version was plenty for two. A supersized version is only for three or more ($8.95 regular/$16 large).

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