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McALLEN — This sweltering, unrelenting triple-digit heat calls for something ice cold.
I wanted a beer, but my girlfriend wanted ice cream, so we got ice cream.
We decided to try Joe’s Ice Cream 52 Flavors, located just off 10th Street in a corner of a small shopping plaza.
Like the name implies, Joe’s offers 52 different flavors of ice cream, and with all the different options available, the possibilities felt overwhelming in the best possible way. The ice cream parlor also offers sherbert, raspas, shakes and smoothies, among many other options.
Walking inside, we were immediately enveloped by the sweet smells of the ice cream and the toasty scents of the freshly made waffle cones and edible bowls. It was like a nice, cool wave of sugar.
The woman behind the counter was kind and patient with us as we studied each flavor. She offered samples, which we shamelessly accepted for such flavors including blue moon, strawberry cheesecake, peaches and cream, pistachio, and many others.
In the end, my girlfriend ordered a scoop of mango ice cream on a “nutty cone,” a waffle cone dipped in chocolate and covered in chopped pecans. I went with the waffle bowl with a scoop of black cherry ice cream, and at the worker’s recommendation, a scoop of banana pudding ice cream. A drizzle of chunky strawberry syrup, a swoosh of whipped cream, and a smattering of chopped nuts were added before the iconic cherry was laid on top.
We sat at one of the booths by the large windows looking out into the open parking lot. And in spite of a large flat-screen TV at the opposite end of the parlor playing a constant stream of fail-video clips, there was something that felt timeless about going to a place just to sit and enjoy a cool treat on a warm summer night.
As the sun set and the streetlights and business signs illuminated the small shopping plaza, I felt like we were in Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” painting, or perhaps a Norman Rockwell painting — one titled “Freedom from Brain Freeze.”
As my girlfriend enjoyed biting into the crispy cone and digging out the mango chunks from the ice cream, I ate my first spoonful of ice cream-filled waffle bowl. I felt immediately grateful to have trusted the employee’s suggestion on the rich banana pudding with bits of decadent wafers mixed in.
Joe’s Ice Cream 52 Flavors is located at 2602 N. 10th Street. They are open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.