Chicago spot offers Hawaiian shaved ice

July 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) So far, he's featured custard, gelato and paletas, and now, he's keeping the ice but ditching the cream.

Most sno cones consist of hard, pebble-like shards of ice that swim in syrupy-sweet flavorings. However, the Hungry Hound found a tiny shack in the southwest suburbs where the workers turn the ice into snow, reminding customers of the Hawaiian shaved ice so popular on the islands.

How many ways can you flavor ice? Apparently, plenty. You'd think the overhead would have to be huge, but at the shoebox-sized Tropical Sno in Willow Springs, the portable, seasonal hut is a beacon of cool on a hot summer day.

"Tropical Sno is a Hawaiian shaved ice. We have like 83 different flavors. Qe can mix them up, do what you want, unlimited amounts," said Jeri Nelson, owner of Tropical Sno.

The key to the frigid treats is the ice, of course. Large blocks of which are rotated in and out of a custom machine all day. The device clamps it down, then spins it around against a super-sharp blade, transforming it into feather-like snow.

Adding a few shots of flavor, such as apple or strawberry or blue raspberry, takes just a few more seconds. And before you know it, you're enjoying a sweet, icy cold treat with zero fat.

Some other highlights: intense cherry and peach daiquiri.

A large size allows you to add two flavors, but Nelson says more important than the flavors, is the consistency in texture.

"We want the shaved consistency of snow, not snow cones, and not slushies. It is an actual fine-powdered snow," Nelson said.

Tropical Sno
8695 Archer Ave., Willow Springs

Also mentioned:

In honor of National Ice Cream month, the Atwood Cafe is celebrating with its 10th Annual Ice Cream Scoop Event.
Friday, July 31st from 12:00pm- 3:00pm on the State Street patio, $2 ice cream cones or cups.
All of the proceeds will be donated to Lakeview Pantry, an organization that fights hunger throughout the Chicago area through food distribution and home delivery. Ice cream and sorbet donated by Ciao Bella Gelato.

Atwood Cafe
1 West Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602

Previously featured "Friday Ice Cream Socials" in July so far:
Andy's Frozen Custard
260 S. Weber Rd., Bolingbrook

Greg's Frozen Custard
1490 S. Lake St., Mundelein

1658 W. Belmont

7510 W. Madison St., Forest Park

Freddy's Pizza
1600 S. 61st Ave., Cicero

Paleteria La Monarca
6955 N. Clark Street

Paleteria Poncho
2513 S. Pulaski

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