Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snowballs -- Staying Cool With The Basics: Shaved Ice And Syrups That Aren't Organic Or Local!

Lemon-blood orange snowball in Clarksville
You may not realize but the rest of America doesn't let people just throw up a wood shack, fill it with artificial flavors and sell snowballs out the window.

Snowballs were new to me when I was lured up to Howard County.  I remember an old man who made Italian ice near my grandparents in New Haven, but I don't think I ever saw a stand carving ice off a block and just dumping your choice of flavors on top.

Lucky for us, you can see them all over the county.  To me, they mostly seem to offer the same treats, but each one is a great way to cool down in a hot season.  Plus, they qualify for a date, a special run with the kids, or a break while you're driving on errands.  These are the summer moments that you'll remember.

These are some stands to start you off:
Pete's Snowballs in Columbia
In the end, a snowball is just shaved ice doused with a flavored syrup.  My local is the Snowballs in Clarksville, but that's mostly because it's right outside the hardware store where I often find myself doing weekend errands.  You can add marshmallow, sprinkles and other toppings at some locales.  But I'm pretty happy with just syrup.

On Monday, I stopped by Pete's, which is definitely a local spot worth checking out.  It's a piece of land that appears to have pre-dated the Rouses.  Oakland Mills deadends there, and you sit on a picnic bench outside the stand.  Ask if they have honey to sell.  I forgot to ask this week, but in previous years, they had honey from their own hives.

Snowballs in Clarksville
Where else are there stands?  At various times, there have been KyKy's Hawaiian Ice stands in parking lots in Elkridge and Ellicott City.  Are those back this year?  What's your favorite place?  And what's your favorite order?

Speaking of Hawaii, I'd really love to know if anyone knows where to get shave ice.  Shave ice is a variation on snowballs where the ice is shaved far thinner.  It's almost like snow.  We found it once at a festival in Baltimore, but otherwise, I have never seen it near here.  Any luck?

This is the first of three posts about staying cool in the summer.  Watch for an update on the frozen yogurt explosion and one about other ice cream options.


Julie said...

I wanna know where to find shave ice too!!! That stuff is divine! When I was in Hawaii I got it with the beans and ice cream on the bottom. The beans were odd (yes, they were savory), but the bit of ice cream was super yummy.

Steve Fine said...

There are snowball stands in Glenwood (on 97 south of the post office) and Glenelg (behind Old Tyme Liquors )as well.

Marcia said...

KyKy's is back again this summer in the parking lot at the corner of Rt. 103 & Rt. 104 (where T-Bonz is located). They've been open about a month!

Annie Rie said...

There is a shave ice stand on Liberty Road between Wards Chapel and Marriottsville Roads. amazing stuff.

The rte 99 stand is in Woodstock, next to the Conservancy property.

Alex's is the stand in Lisbon, and they sell ice cream and sandwiches, convenient to Larriland and Lisbon Grill. You could do a progressive lunch walking from Lisbon Grill to Alex's.

The snowball stand in Glenelg is gone. They took it away this winter.

Jody said...

The snowballs on Rte. 1 in Elkridge by the old Super Fresh are at Cindy's. I can't comment on the snowballs though because I can't resist their soft serve ice cream to try anything else! Very popular place.

Mike said...

You can get shaved ice on the boardwalk in Ocean City.

Annie Rie said...

Found the link to the shave ice stand, and yes, they make their own toppings. The egg custard is amazing.

Worth the drive, not far north of the McKeldin area of the state park.

Kate said...

Pepperjacks - 10919 Scaggsville Road, 20723 has snowballs.

Anonymous said...

It's Woodstock, not Woodlawn. Woodlawn is in Baltimore County. (Also known as the Knife and Gun Club by the Fire Service.)

Steffi said...

I have to go across the border and get my snowballs from Opie's in Catonsville. I used to go to The Snowball Stand in Woodstock, but after nearly getting clobbered on numerous occasions in the parking lot, I refused to go back. People like to fly out of the spots there without looking behind them.

Anonymous said...

there's a good one in savage - savage sno-cone shack. it's on savage guilford road near ma's kettle and the savage mill.

Alice Hogan said...

Tastee Zone in Catonsville is pretty good - they put ice cream in them just like in Hawaii!

kam said...

Does the Baugher's produce stand off of Montgomery Road (actually New Cut/Baugher Farm Road, I think, but you get there off of Montgomery) still operate? When I was little we'd stop there for fresh fruit and snowballs. They had the best egg custard. It's probably heavily flavored with nostalgia, but I don't think I've quite found another to compare. Obviously I need to do some research! ;)


Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

There's a new shaved ice stand in an adorable little building on 97 just a bit off of 70 towards Carroll county. It's called Chirp Ice and they're open 12-9 moat days and have an unusual variety of flavors . But they're true shaved ice!