a “paleta” can be the board on which a painter mixes their paint, or a range of colors, but in this case, it’s the classic latin american popsicle made from juice or milk and fruit (paleta literally means the “little stick” you hold onto to eat it). the best paletas i’ve ever eaten are made in a little shop called la buena michoacana in ukiah, california.
over the memorial day weekend, we found ourselves planning our schedule around visits to the shop (they’re open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and debating which flavor we’d try next. one night, i literally dreamt about the creamy but chunky, fresh strawberry.
the pecan, velvety and loaded with fatty nuts is fantastic. the chocolate is dark, silky, intensely-cinnamon-y and so addictive that it’s the only flavor my daughter will order (though she also wants a taste of every other bar ordered). richly-smooth and crowded with tart/sweet dried mango, kiwis, sour cherries and almonds, the fruta seca (dried fruit) may be my favorite. or maybe it’s the cucumber with chile, the most refreshing burn you’ll ever taste. paletas in general and especially the ones i tasted here, are not overly-sweet or full of yucky stuff (though they do make a revoltingly blue bubble gum flavor) — just a perfectly energizing balance of fresh juices or cream with fruit and nuts.
over the course of the 3-day weekend, i managed to try 6 flavors (i un-adventurously succumbed to the allure of dried fruit twice)… and am already debating what to try next… coconut or tamarind & mango? pineapple with chamoy or yogurt and berries? next time, we’re bringing a cooler with dry ice so we can take some home and don’t have to limit ourselves to the flavors we can savor in one visit.
pineapple with chili… one of our favorites!
la buena michoacana is at 1252 park falls plaza, just off the talmage road exit off u.s. highway 101 in ukiah, california.