FoodieBooty: Love Letters to Mexico at Holy Paleta

Hello, my lil’ snacks!

This is FoodieBooty once again and I know I have been going on and on about ice cream but I promise you this will be the last one for a WHILE. Hopefully anyways.

Today I will be talking about a place that is dangerously close to my place of residence. A place that is a true MECA for Mexicans and ice cream lovers alike. A place that delivers love, nostalgia, and flavor, all in one skinny wooden stick. I am talking about Holy Paleta! A tiny but mighty storefront in the heart of Bonita in the Chula Vista area.

If you have any Mexican or Latino in you, your mouth is already salivating. Or as we say where I’m from “se te está cayendo la baba.” But if you don’t have that, don’t worry, pictures of these pops will get anyone salivating in no time.

So, what is a paleta?

Paletas, according to Morelia’s Gourmet, are “a Mexican frozen treat made from fresh natural fruits such as strawberry and mango or made from rich creamy ingredients such as Chocolate and Sicilian pistachio.” I am a little biased but if you asked me I’d tell you that a paleta is heaven on a stick. They can be your savior on a hot day, a friend under the covers on a cloudy day, a moment to share laughs and licks with your best friends, or a quick escape to your memories feeling like a tropical queen enrobed by pink hammocks and sun-kissed skin. A paleta is not just a popsicle; it is a burst of happiness that can take on so many different tones, shapes, and flavors. It is a quick moment of peace, joy, and whatever flavor you could possibly imagine!

In Tijuana, I was used to seeing paletas everywhere. Michoacanas (home to paletas and snacks galore) can be spotted every 2 to 4 blocks and Oxxos (Mexican 7-11s) carry a pretty nice selection of tasty paletas. However, when I started living on the U.S. side of the border, I noticed that good paletas were much harder to come by and thus a treat I had to reserve for weekends back home. Holy Paleta has changed that.

The Experience

Located very close to Rohr Park on Bonita, Holy Paletas has its storefront snugly fit in between a hip hop dance studio and a Mexican fruteria called “Frutas.” You can spot it right away by the huge paleta design that covers its entire front window. When you walk in you immediately notice two things. First, how stunning, vibrant and delicious their paletas are. Second, how impressively small the store is. It is a serious no fart zone.

Let’s get back to the paletas though. Two huge freezers take up most of the space, with one carrying all the non-dairy flavors and another carrying those with dairy flavors. Flavors such as avocado, coffee filled with condensed milk, mazapan, acai, and chamango, fill your eyes with excitement but also so many questions of what to order. 

When I went for the first time, I wanted ALL the paletas. I wanted a dozen of the avocado, a couple of the mazapan, a bunch of the arroz con leche (rice pudding), and one of the chamango, to break the sweetness obviously. But then, I saw the true jewel of service which Holy Paleta offers. They not only sell mouth-watering, high quality paletas, they also let you BATHE the paleta in the chocolate and crunchy toppings of your choice in whichever ratio you deem appropriate!! They have some arrangements already set in their menu such as the “Pop Spicy” which is a mango paleta topped with dried chili mango and drizzled to the death in chamoy, and the “Cookie Monster” which is a cookies and cream paleta dipped in milk chocolate, topped with chips ahoy and oreo crumbles and also drizzled to the death with milk chocolate. However, you can order whatever paleta and configuration speaks to your heart on any given day!

My first time I had an avocado paleta with dark chocolate dip and chocolate crispearls as a topping. It was incredible. The paleta without any of the dips and toppings is creamy and has a beautiful avocado taste that is the perfect balance in between sweet and savory. If you’re afraid of sweet avocado taste, don’t be. Paired with the dark chocolate and chocolate crunchies, the flavor combination covered my mouth with sweet avocado contrasted with the depth of the dark chocolate dip.

Ever since that first time, I have gone back repeatedly with friends, family and the dip to my paleta, Eduardo. I have tried every combination imaginable like strawberry with chili and dried mango, key lime pie with dark chocolate and pistachios, and coffee stuffed with condensed milk smothered in dark chocolate. As you can see, the first couple times I  tried to do the math on how many toppings and dips I could possibly fit into one paleta and I recommend it to anyone who is a first-timer at Holy Paleta. However, I have found that so many toppings fog up the paleta experience as the chocolate or crunchies overpower the taste of the amazing paleta. Holy Paleta makes amazing paletas that you might think don’t stand on their own because of all the “fru fru” that they offer to jazz them up. But, the naked paletas are just as good as the most amazing looking paleta you could possibly make.

Now, when I go to Holy Paleta I either order two bare paletas or one with a simple chocolate dip. I love their paleta flavors and textures as they remind me of home whilst adding a layer of fun novelty and innovation. My favorites are the avocado, key lime pie, sandia con chile, and creamy coconut paleta.

The Verdict

Holy Paleta is a fun, grab and go paleta store that I highly encourage people to visit at least once. Although it might seem like pure novelty, it is a place that has delicious, creamy, and refreshing high quality paletas accompanied by a taste of joyful Mexican culture. When I think of Holy Paleta, I think of love, family, and yes please! I give it 4 out of 5 booty points. I would give it a closed 5 but I reserve that for the paletas in Acapulco.

Until later my dear snacks! Love u! 

P.S. Holy Paleta is opening up a new location in Little Italy soon so keep an eye out for that! They also sell chocolate-covered frozen bananas and conchas filled with ice cream if paletas are not your jam.

Holy Paleta

4230 Bonita Rd suite b, Bonita, CA 91902

Holy Paleta Instagram

Written by: FoodieBooty

FoodieBooty: Doggies and Free Sprinkles at Stella Jean’s

Double Scoop cone with Matcha Pistachio (top) and Grapefruit + Cranberry Sherbert (bottom)

Hello, my lil snacks! It is a new semester and a new age for FoodieBooty! This week highlights the magical ice cream shoppe, Stella Jean’s.

I come happier, hungrier, and with a little bit of stress, so that means more food, more posts, and more reckless spending of my savings account to get some tasty yummies in my tummy. 

Anyways, back to the food. 

My latest food venture came from my ice cream obsessed friend who we’ll call Rico like the guy from Hannah Montana (and yes I am rewatching it on Disney plus). Rico is one of two friends of mine who can authentically relate to seeing ice cream as a passion, or more likely a way of life. Every time we taste new ice creams, we talk about its texture, flavor profile, color, aftertaste, and our feelings post first taste. We discuss the worth of a split scoop and the appropriate heft of the average scoop. We don’t just eat ice cream, we experience it.

Rico was the person who pointed me towards remarkably delicious ice cream places such as Salt & Straw and previously reviewed, An’s Dry Cleaning. This time she led me to a place called Stella Jean’s Ice Cream. A small batch, completely handmade ice cream shop in the heart of Park Boulevard. I went not knowing what to expect, but I left enamored with the style, flavor combinations, and free sprinkles! 

The Experience

I visited the shop two days after Valentine’s Day with my non-dairy boo. The storefront has an old school feel from the outside with crisp white paint, a contrasting pink ice cream cone saying “Stella Jean’s” and a large window with gold and white lettering saying “ University Heights Handmade Ice Cream.” As soon as we walked in, the old school feel faded and gave way to a modern and vibrant ice cream shop which has been called one of the top ten ice cream shops of 2019 in the U.S. by USA Today.

The smell of freshly baked waffle cones pervaded the air and the name of fourteen different flavors called out my name. Luckily, enough for my non-dairy boo, six of the fourteen were vegan flavors!

As our server explained, all of the ice cream is made in house and in small batches with a lot of love and care. Both the vegan and non-vegan flavors can be paired up with a sugar cone, gluten free vegan cone, or cup. The flavors change with the seasons and you can try as many of them as you like before deciding which one you want to order, which is a very important detail when you take ice cream as seriously as I do.

The flavors include: 

Grapefruit + Cranberry Sherbert (V)

Sweet Mint + Cacao Nibs (V)

Mango + Sticky Rice (V)

Brown Butter Pecan

Earl Grey Citrus Tea Cake 

Salty Caramel Corn 

Mango Sorbet (V)

Tarragon Apple Jam 

Double Chocolate 

Matcha Pistachio (V)

My non-dairy boo and I tried all of the vegan flavors the first time I went… But I sneaked back with Rico a couple days later to try some of the milky ones for all of you guys. Duty calls. 

The Tasting

I’ll start with the vegan flavors because those came first. My favorites were the matcha pistachio, the grapefruit and cranberry sherbert, and the mango sorbet. The matcha pistachio is the glory of all glories and the reason I will keep coming back to Stella Jean’s until the end of my days. It is the perfect ice cream for those fans of matcha who think that most matcha products don’t taste like matcha at all. It is earthy, velvety and at times crunchy due to the pistachios delicately spun into it. It is perfectly sweet but not too sweet. The grapefruit and cranberry sherbert is incredibly refreshing yet incredibly tart so it is not for the faint of heart. If you love citrus and you love IPAs, you would probably love this sherbert for its sharpness and tang. The mango sorbet is just one of the brightest and most cheerful ice creams I have tried in the past year. Tasting it just made me smile instantly. 

From the milky flavors, my favorite flavors were the earl grey citrus tea cake and the salty caramel corn. Earl grey enthusiasts will LOVE this ice cream flavor since it perfectly delivers on the floral and tea-ish notes of earl grey. Tasting this ice cream brought me distinct memories of sitting by my window in 9th grade, reading Salinger, and sipping earl grey tea with a fat splash of milk. The salty caramel corn flavor is a beautiful creation which truly celebrates the natural flavor of yellow corn. Paired up with a dancing ripple of salty caramel, the corn ice cream shines through and perfectly infuses with the salty and sweet notes of the caramel. If you’re expecting the taste of popcorn, do not order this flavor. What you get is a lot different, and in my opinion, A LOT better.

My least favorites from all the flavors were the chocolate covered banana with almonds and the sweet mint with cacao nibs. It feels bad to say least favorites because I actually did like these flavors but there was just something about the combinations that felt a little lackluster in contrast to the other INCREDIBLE flavors. The cacao nibs were a bit of a nuisance in an otherwise perfect sweet mint ice cream since they are very hard to munch on and also very bitter by nature. I loved the concept which played on a classic mint chip ice cream, but the actual delivery was not my favorite since I wanted less cacao and more chocolate.

Banana in general is a flavor which I find extremely tricky to deal with in ice cream, since it is so easy to have it taste completely artificial and treacly. I give my props to Stella Jean for having one of the most natural tasting banana ice cream profiles I have ever tasted. Yet, I found the chocolate flavor profile in the ice cream too weak and the almonds in the ice cream not offering the right texture as a contrast to the smoothness of the ice cream. 

The Verdict

Overall, Stella Jean’s is an unequivocal landmark of quality, depth of flavor, and originality within the San Diego ice cream scene. From seeing the shop to tasting the flavors to ordering your cone, Stella Jean’s delivers a beautiful ice cream eating experience that is minimalist and cheerful in nature. With its original and tasty flavors, free sprinkles option, reasonable prices ($7.00 for a double scoop on a waffle cone), and excellent customer service, Stella Jean’s is worth a million visits! It is a small, local ice cream business that makes all of its flavors in house with so much passion you can actually taste it. I give it a closed 4 booty points out of 5!

I now leave you with a watering mouth and all the information you need to visit Stella Jean’s below. 

With love,

FoodieBooty

Stella Jean’s Ice Cream 

Instagram

(619) 501-8252

4404 Park Blvd ste b

San Diego, CA 92116