Once the weather warms up, people endure bouts of heat-induced lunacy, scrape off the bottoms of their freezer compartments and call it a "snow cone." It is an outrage.
Instead of crunching pebbles between your teeth like a chicken gobbling grit, you could be slurping down a snowball instead. Snowballs were invented in New Orleans, and they use shaved instead of crushed ice. Doused with syrups and creams, a snowball melts on your tongue like a thousand delicate little flakes of delight.
Although Alan Bell, founder of Hana's PDX (3625 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 971-409-7097, instagram.com/hanas_pdx), was born and raised in Portland, he has family in New Orleans, and two years ago found himself craving the icy, affordable treats. So he opened Hana's—the name is an acronym of his children's names—and brought up a machine from the Big Easy so he could start serving authentic snowballs up north.
The menu at an artisanal ice cream shop has nothing on the craziness you can concoct with the flavors at this snowball cart. You can combine two flavors in each size, starting at $2 for a kid's small. You can go fruity, like coconut and mango, or create an icy latte combo with coffee and vanilla. But no matter what, you should probably get it stuffed with a scoop of ice cream for $1 more. You can also load it up with toppings like sweetened condensed milk or gummy bears.
Bell also offers clear, dye-free flavors, as well as an assortment of snacks like hot dogs and chili cheese chips. But the sneaker win are the Kool-Aid pickles. They're exactly what they sounds like—pickles lolled around in jars full of brine and Kool-Aid, giving them a tint of orange or rose. The result is tangy, salty, sweet and cool.
If he's not doing an event, you can usually find Bell on the corner of MLK and Ainsworth by Safeway. Just look for the people enjoying themselves, and not grimacing as they force jagged, crunchy granules between their teeth.