The Tweets prompting me to visit MAM'S House of Ice started several weeks ago. With a Twitter handle like @snowcones, it's not too surprising, I suppose. The first thing I learned when I finally visited MAM'S is that they don't make sno-cones, they make sno-balls -- and they've been serving them up since re-opening for the summer season on March 6.
As a newcomer to this part of the country I was intrigued to find that there is a distinction between a sno-cone and a sno-ball, but as I learned upon my visit to MAM'S, this syrup-flavored, soft-ice treat is a New Orleans tradition: Tthe texture of the ice is remarkably different -- soft, silky, and creamy rather than crunchy. MAM'S menu is a fun read, and unusual flavors caught my eye: Cajun Red Hot, Dill Pickle, Creole Cream Cheese, Tiger's Blood and Tamarind. (Note: Tiger's Blood is not a Charlie Sheen reference in this context. It's mixed red berries and coconut.)
Ariana and Mary Ann were eager to introduce me to their favorite flavors. I tried, among others, Nector, Blue Cotton Candy, Ice Cream, Tiger Blood, and Spearmint. Ice Cream was my favorite and in spite of being positively stuffed from the samples, I ordered a small Ice Cream with a side of Condensed Milk to pour on the top. Ice Cream is bright-yellow and yet tastes remarkably like vanilla ice cream. The wonderful texture of the ice and the trueness of the flavors came as a delightful surprise, with none of that cloying sweetness I associate with sno-cone syrup.
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MAM'S House of Ice is looking to bring Houston their New Orleans-style sno-balls all year, and they are currently searching for a storefront in the Heights area. At the moment you'll find their cheerful blue trailer at the corner of 20th and Rutland in the Heights. They are open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon-7 p.m. (closed Mondays).
I'll keep my Twitter name, but I'm officially a sno-ball convert.