Hot Plate

Anthony Butkovich

Here in the dregs of August, what you need is a vacation. Something exotic. Something refreshing. Something cool. May's Ice Cream [9260 Bellaire, (713)270-5178] provides a reasonable substitute -- or at least, as reasonable a substitute as you're likely to find in a Styrofoam cup. The weird desserts served in this hole-in-the-mall are the summertime treats you'd find on streets in Taiwan. Before your eyes, a block of ice is reduced to shavings, a heap of which is mixed with the stuff of Chinese kids' dreams: pineapple, peanuts in sugar syrup, glistening beads of tapioca, white almond gelatin and sweetened beans of every shape and size. For $2.35 you get about a quart of ice and your choice of four add-ins. Yeah, some of those additions are downright weird -- the cubes identified as "turnip" turn out even worse than they sound, tasteless and sludgy -- but every vacation needs its horror story. And the pineapple and peanuts and tapioca, mixed with the ice, are sweet and exciting and worth writing home about.

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