When it comes to summertime desserts based on crushed ice and sugar syrup, there are some distinct categories. There are snow cones, made with slightly crunchy, granular crushed ice. There’s shave ice, made with fluffy shaved ice (and, in my Hawaiian childhood memories, usually painted with rainbow stripes and sold in a cone of white paper). And then there are New Orleans-style snowballs, which are a rather different thing. The ice is soft and pillowy; there are myriad flavors, including the famous nectar flavor (a sweet, vanilla- and almond-based syrup); and condensed milk is often involved.
Like others I’ve talked to, I assumed the newly painted pink-and-blue building on Rosewood Drive was somebody’s DIY snow cone shack, doomed to a slow, depressing summer. Boy, was I wrong. It’s actually part of a North Carolina-based franchise snowball operation. And since it opened last week, it’s had a line of people at the window every time I’ve driven past.
With 100 flavors (all made from cane sugar) — including curiosities like Egg Custard, Key Lime Pie, Cake Batter and Gummy Bear — the menu can be a little overwhelming. One can get condensed milk added to any flavor. There are dog snowballs made with french vanilla syrup. I gave up on decision making of my own and just ordered what the customer in front of me had ordered, and ended up with a magical concoction that’s actually named for her: The Lady Kaneisha. It involves nectar syrup and extra condensed milk drizzled over the top, I believe. It was delicious.
Pelican’s is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 9 p.m. Once schools let out, it’ll be open ‘til 10. Pelican’s is at 1900 Rosewood Drive.
Speaking of Louisiana, the long-anticipated Cajun-Creole joint on Main Street is now officially open. The newest project of Kristian Niemi (currently of Rosso; formerly of Gervais & Vine and Mr. Friendly’s), Bourbon is at 1214 Main St.
And speaking of Rosewood and Louisiana, while you’re watching bands play at the Rosewood Crawfish Festival this Saturday, make sure to nab some actual crawfish. This year, organizers are hauling in 10,000 pounds of the little pinchy guys from Louisiana to cook up with corn, potatoes and seasoning. Also on the menu: crawfish étouffée, fried crawfish po-boys, crawfish pies, boudin, crawfish gumbo, fried crawfish tails, alligator tails and jambalaya. There are also burgers and hot dogs and stuff for you spoilsports. Tickets are $9 in advance and $12 at the gate, and the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit rosewoodcrawfishfest.com for more information.
If you’re not already stuffed after the Louisiana-themed events of the preceding days, check out the fifth annual The Big Nosh on Sunday, May 4. The Jewish food celebration includes such wondrous things as beef brisket, stuffed cabbage, corned beef, matzah ball soup, and, of course, knishes. The Big Nosh is held at The Tree of Life Congregation at 6719 North Trenholm Road from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, but you’ll have to pay for the delicious food. Visit bignosh.org for more information.
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