the heat index, and a pleasant remedy

I love summer. I hate humidity. I’m told that, in other parts of the country and world (San Francisco, Arizona, all of Australia?), this statements are not mutually exclusive, but they are sadly, and irrevocably paired here in DC, a corner of the Mid-Atlantic region about which our Founding Fathers presumably exclaimed, “Wool suits and powdered wigs are great, but they’re just not hot enough. I know: let’s build the capital in a swamp!”

Yesterday, under (a) the guidance of the local blog dcist (which, for anyone keeping track, has replaced NYMag.com in my daily blog rotation for the summer) and (b) the first, fat raindrops to visit in at least a month, I found a way to beat the heat. And mugginess, more to the point.

The solution: popsicles from Pleasant Pops, but a certain kind of Mexican popsicle called “paletas,” which, as far as I can tell, differ from our ‘merican pops in containing hunks of fresh fruit and sometimes dairy — ie, not just sugar water. As if that weren’t enough, PP also uses only local fruit and dairy. AND they’re sold at a farmer’s market. Out of a cooler attached TO A BIKE. Is there anything more adorable and ecologically aware?

Luckily, not only are the paletas locally sourced and green-ly transported, they’re also delicious. I got one of each flavor — ginger & peach, cucumber & chili, and strawberries & cream — to share with a friend who’d just had her wisdom teeth out. Demonstrating a sort of reckless post-op bravery, she made short work of the cucumber-(jalapeno) chili pop, which was alternately cooling and very, very hot. The ginger-peach (apparently the day’s most popular) was a lovely spicy-sweet, with the snap of ginger keeping it from too-mellow territory. And the strawberries and cream tasted exactly as rich as you’d imagine.

The Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market, by the by, is the icing on the popsicle cake. It’s small — I don’t think more than 10 vendors — but has everything you’d want to buy: veg and fruit, cheese, local meat, bakeries, and flower stands. And in a section of DC that I can’t remember visiting before (which, truthfully, says a lot more about my limited exploration than the area’s popularity) but definitely want to move into. Tomorrow, maybe.

It reminds me of either Brooklyn or Iowa City. (Ah! Did you see that coming?) Young, lots of families, brownstones, trees, and a bit of a “village” feel. In short, more pleasant pops are on the way to my freezer, and next time I’m bringing bags for peaches and flowers, and maybe a house.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Allison on July 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Natalie! I have missed my Iowas Thinking fix. The patient is still on the road to recovery but has had a small setback. The surgery has finally caught up with her and she is experiencing the ‘chipmunk cheeks’ phenonmenon familiar to wisdom teeth removal patients. She has decided to skip class to day and take it easy; sadly without your charming company and the aforementioned popcicles. Love to all, Allison

    Reply

  2. Great write up of the flavors! I agree with you about the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood too – if you find a place to move in and you’re looking for a roommate make sure to post it on craigslist :) Definitely hope to see you at Pleasant Pops again – for full disclosure I’m one of the people selling pops, my boyfriend and his friend started the company. Thanks for the post (and the great photos).

    Reply

  3. Just to put that little reference to Australia to bed…….

    I live in the Australian capital – Canberra. Our summers are a dry as a dead dingo’s donga, the winters are as cold as an Eskimo’s bottom. There is snow on my local hills today and its 1 c at 10am.

    Our humidity rarely gets over 20% (Thats when it rains- and we’ve been in drought for 5 years).

    Do I feel sorry for you – nah! You can always move here ;-)!

    Reply

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