Cool Eats: Snow Cones, San Diego Style

Shaved ice, snow cones, snowballs. Believe or not, sunny San Diego has plenty of icy blasts – at least the kind served with sweet syrups at local businesses all over the county. Check out this cool round-up of some of the best local spots for sweet snow cones this summer from our friends at Yelp.

Baltimore Snowball (San Marcos & Escondido)
Owners Joe and Loretta bring the best of Baltimore to San Diego with this “snowball” shop and their cool, creative combos can’t be beat. Our favorite is “The Elvis” made with chocolate ice cream, layered with peanut butter, peanut butter sauce and banana snow… then MORE peanut butter and chocolate sauce! Runner-up has to be “The Ocean City Sunset” with flavors of orange, marshmallow, banana, peach and cream. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out.

Sunset Ice Shack (Tierrasanta)
Hawaiian-style shaved ice and ice cream (plus amazing Acai and Chamango, too) keep customers happy at this hidden gem. You’ll find fun tropical tastes like the “Totes Ma Goats” with piña colada and coconut and the “Endless Summer,” the menu’s best-seller, packing a punch of passion fruit and guava. Stop in to get a bit of that island style in your life, and take your temperature down a peg or two.

Ice Blast Shaved Ice (Kearny Mesa)
Fluffy Hawaiian shaved ice is the perfect dessert for a heat wave or after a spicy meal, and here you’ll find all the classic flavors with a fusion of Asian flair. This Kearny Mesa joint stocks a Li Hing (salted plum) powder that you can add to your selections for a sweet and sour tang. You can create any combo of flavors you want here, but the menu board lists suggestions like the “Pretty in Pink,” made with pink lemonade, guava and coconut.

Southern Snoballs (Oceanside)
This North County spot specializes in sweet snow cones served up with Southern hospitality and made with Carlsbad Alkaline water. Patrons also have the option to try the snow cones “NOLA style,” meaning stuffed with ice cream and topped with condensed milk. Locally-owned and a favorite with reviewers, after a day at the beach this is the place to be. Don’t be worries if the line is deep, the snow servers sling their selections with serious speed.

Wahine Kai Shaved Ice (Scripps Ranch)
One of the best places to mix and match new flavors as this place stocks more than 30 flavors at any given time. Here, the ice is shaved super fine for a texture of treat that almost floats in your mouth. If it’s too hot to make hard choices, we suggest the “Dreamcicle,” the “Coco Moco,” or trying your snow cone of choice “Halo Halo style” – mixed with sweet red beans and condensed milk. This neighborhood shop is small, but mighty, so worth waiting your turn.

SnoCal Shaved Ice (Food Truck, various locations)
Go mobile with your frozen dessert and grab a treat from this food truck scooping serious shaved snow satisfaction. The owner’s name is Joe, and, as he puts it, he’s “here to shave your snow.” A trip to Hawaii sparked his business launch and now you can find him bringing the snow to the sand of San Diego. His treats use pure cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup and the menu boasts a long list of flavors, plus add-ons and toppings like mochi, sour spray, chili powder and Pop Rocks.

Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.

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