by Steven Doyle
It is easy to make a list of some terrific Mexican hot spots around Dallas, and certainly we have even most recently. Some places such as Komali stand out with terrifically talented chefs using amazing ingredients, a can’t lose scenario. But to discover something different, something off the beaten path, that is what gives me a sense of accomplishment. I met such a victory in a smallish strip center winner called the Rainbow Ice Cream Shop.
With a name like Rainbow Ice Cream shop you might expect for them to serve large scoops of ice cream, probably in both cup and cone form, and most assuredly with choices of toppings. This little shop has that. But there is more. Owned by Mexican transplants, they offer up beautiful sliced fruits of all sorts, proudly displayed in a deli case. During our visit, patrons marched in proudly and snatched these cups of fruit up and sat down with their families to enjoy the healthy snack.
Fruit and ice cream is not what pulled us in this warm Spring day, it was something more savory and delicious. We were after pupusas and gorditas. The ice cream shop made these both from scratch, using fresh masa as the base, and all to order. There are tacos on the menu, but that was not in the mission plans.
Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish made from fresh masa, and filled with a myriad of meats, beans or cheeses. They are soft and supple, and meant to be eaten in hand with a side of fermented slaw with added chiles and a vinegar base. These pupusas were ever bit as good as any we have sampled, both near and far.
The Mexican kissing cousin to the pupusa is the gordita. Now here is where it all gets interesting. Typically in Dallas the gordita is a thick corn tortilla, often griddled fresh, then sliced to make a tiny hand-held sandwich. Very similar to the pupusa. Very similar. However, at our ice cream shop this day the gordita was indeed just a tiny pupusa. The filling was totally encased with incredible ingredients ans served with a side of a very creamy salsa verde. Total love on a plate.
The gordita also usually has more filling, thus its name which literally translates to “little fatty”.
Some choices for fillings at Rainbow Ice Cream Shop include Asado de Puerco en Chile Rojo (a stewed pork in red chile sauce), Chicharron (spicy pork skin), Desebrada (pulled pork), Piccadillo (ground beef and potato) and Rajas (strips of roasted peppers and cheese). There were many more options, but I was pleased not to see the typical line up of meats such as fajita and even the beloved el pastor.
Ordering was a snap once they figured we did not speak much Spanish. Then here was the wait while they mold the gorditas and fill them with the delicious meats and cheeses. Expect t be there a while before the order is complete, but you might be lucky enough to be serenaded by the owner. This is a slice of enjoyment that was unexpected but appreciated.
Gorditas and Pupusas for lunch today!
Rainbow Ice Cream is located in the shopping center at 3446 Webbs Chapel Extension very near the Carnival market.