What are your favorite ways of coping with the 100-degree days of our Arizona summers? Summer is a great time to visit friends who live elsewhere! But other than that, I think a big agua fresca (or the Paletas Betty version, the Agua Vita) is the cure.
If a friend was to visit you for a quick weekend this summer, what couple of places or sights would you have to show off to him/her? We like to go and have dinner up on Pinnacle Peak where it’s a bit cooler and we can enjoy the view. I also like to take visitors for some local Mexican treats. La Purisima Bakery, Tortas Paquime, and Nogales Hot Dog stands all are on the short list.
What local business do you patronize on a weekly basis? I’m a big fan of Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert. Places that focus on one thing and do it well earn my loyalty.
Where’s your favorite spot in town to be alone and enjoy a view? Desert Botanical Garden. I go there on behalf of Paletas Betty for events, and the cafe carries our paletas. The last time I visited for pleasure was a couple months ago for the Chihuly [glass sculpture] exhibit.
What restaurants have you been meaning to try? I’ve always wanted to try Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Las Vegas, but never got a chance. I’ll stop by the new Tempe location soon. It sounds like a messy good time, and I love Southern and Cajun/Creole cooking. I also need to visit our friends, Helen and Jan, at the new Sweet Republic [ice cream shop] in Phoenix. They’re great dessert amigas!
Where do you go when you have something special to celebrate? I love all desserts, not just paletas. So I would buy a cake from Asahi Bakery in Phoenix. They aren’t too sweet or heavy, and you can get fresh fruit or young coconut varieties.
Your paletas might be described as a simple childhood treat recreated with sophisticated flavor combinations. What are a couple of other ways for full-grown adults to act like a kid or enjoy some simple pleasures in Arizona? My extended family gets together in the backyard to enjoy the pool or goes up to Sedona for a day trip. We always have at least three generations, and everyone brings food. We don’t take anything too seriously and joke around a lot, so everyone can be a kid again.
What’s your personal favorite paleta flavor? Lately I’ve been favoring our coco flavor (fresh coconut), but traditionally I opt for mango con chile as it reminds me of the street vendors in my hometown (Michoacán, Mexico).
Will you be traveling this summer? I travel to Mexico to visit family frequently. Other than that, I have a camping trip near Payson and a beach trip in Malibu planned this summer.