A converted Volkswagen Bus — the back ends of two of them, actually, welded together — is dishing out tastes of pure summer from a parking lot in downtown Turlock.
Fancy Frost shaved ice opened late last month. So far, owner Emmanuel Perez said, business has been more than good. “Overwhelming,” he said. “We thought we’d open up slowly but people have been finding us.”
Perez has enjoyed shaved ice since living in Monterey (he moved to Turlock seven years ago). And he wanted to offer it to his new hometown, where he also runs a smog check business.
Shaved ice is tricky stuff, though. As I recall from my days at the California Ice Factory in Roseburg Square, you want it to be flaky, not crunchy. But get it too flaky and it just melts into mush when you put the flavor on it, Perez said.
So after trying a couple of machines, Perez and his wife, Marisela Sanchez, went with one that looked very familiar to me: it clamps down on a chunk of ice and turns it in a circular motion over a blade, creating ice that is just the right texture.
But that was about where my familiarity with the product ended. Sure, there are still flavors like those I remember from some 30 years ago: cherry, bubble gum and guava. And watermelon, which as I recall was among the most popular at the California Ice Factory. But how about s’mores, and fuzzy navel, and cucumber melon? Oh, and toppings: white chocolate, coconut, and gummy bears, to name just a few. And how about sour spray, or Tajin? The latter, by the way, is a seasoning made up of chiles, lime and salt that makes almost everything taste better.
Among the most popular requests so far, Perez said, is the peachy penguin, which has marshmallow cream and peach rings, and the fancy mango, with mango rings.
But you can’t go wrong with the classics, as little A.J. Tovar demonstrated during my visit on Tuesday. He was at Fancy Frost with his mom and some other family members. They saw the business on Facebook, Maren Tovar said, and decided to stop by to try it.
AJ was sold: “This is the best thing ever,” he said.
Find Fancy Frost at 221 S. Center St., Turlock, on Facebook or look up the business on Instagram, @Fancyfrostice. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.