Monday, July 6, 2009

In a Pickle

The Giant Jack Rabbit of Odessa

Every once in a while I find with much disappointment that even the food-lovin', culturally diverse, and eclectic city of Austin does not have something from my Homeland.....Odessa, Texas.
Beef Chile Relleno BREAKFAST BURRITOS and the lack of Rosa's Cafe (specifically their queso or fajita burritos) are two big ones that come to mind.

But with every summer that rolls around, I am reminded of one other treat that I frequently crave and can't seem to get my hands on around here, Dill Pickle Snow Cones.

You heard me. PICKLE SNOW CONES!!!
If you know me at all this shouldn't surprise you one bit, seeing as I have 6 varieties of pickles in my refrigerator right now, including a huge jar of pickle okra from the farmer's market which will be gone in no time.

What might surprise most people is the combination of pickle juice and snow- something that in most people's minds is meant to be topped with disgusting sugary syrup (or chocolate with cream- my favorite).

Every stand in Odessa sells them along with my mother's favorite- snow cones drenched in fresh squeezed lemon (which she tops with salt).
For two summers I worked at Bahama Bucks, a really fantastic (though overpriced) shaved ice and drink stand that Austin is truly missing out on, and we had two varieties of pickle shaved ices.
One was a sugary artificial Dill pickle "flavor" that was strange and not too popular.
Another was the real dill :)....Pickle juice supplied by a nearby Sonic. We had worked out a deal with them and traded pickle juice for some of our blue coconut syrup. I had pickle shaved ices at my disposal for two summers, and didn't realize how much I loved and craved them until this summer heat wave decided to sit itself on to Austin.

I should stop and clarify now that I am using "snow cone" and "shaved ice" interchangeably, though they are two VERY different creations.
Snow cone: crunchier, chunkier, less moldable, soaks up syrup less
Shaved ice: filtered water, different shaver, snow-like consistency that is moldable and soaks up syrups like a charm. At Bahama Bucks we were required to make the cone on top at least half the size of the cup height. (we also had some that had ice cream in the bottom....Austin is SERIOUSLY missing out)

Finally out of frustration and the inability to fulfill my craving, I mixed up a jug of three varieties of pickle juices from my fridge and headed to Casey's New Orleans Snowballs.

My "vintage" pickle keeper with sandwich dills
I ordered a large cup or shaved ice and made my own pickle snow cone.
Total bliss.

After a conversation with the lady in Casey's, I learned that they did sell these treats at one time, but found it was too much trouble buying huge tubs of pickles with no use for the actual pickle.
What do the Odessa snow cone stands do to solve that problem?

"Pickle Surprises" A 32 oz or larger cup with an entire dill pickle shoved inside, covered in pickle snow cone.
So good.

I have this craving at least once a week now that the heat is blasting on us. I will have to consume my pickles at a much faster rate if I have any hope of continuing to supply juice for my homemade treats.

If anyone knows of a stand that sells these in Austin please tell me about it.
In the meantime, I just found these while searching frozen pickle treats...


TexasDeb said...

mmmm pickles True enough as an Austin native I have never heard of pickle ice but I'd sure enough try one if somebody sold 'em. Good luck on your quest - maybe some other Austin shave ice place will set up an agreeable arrangement for pickle juice with a burger spot. mmmmmmm

Ben said...

Ummm - I sent you a picture of the pickle sickle when I was walking through central market months ago. :) You can find them there.