Eat + Run: Shaved Ice

These flavored treats will cool you off in seconds flat -- and are <em>so</em> worth the brain freeze.
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These flavored treats will cool you off in seconds flat -- and are <em>so</em> worth the brain freeze.
shaved ice

NEW ORLEANS

THE SPOT: Ashley Hansen, owner of Hansen's Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-891-9788,), uses the same stainless-steel ice-shaving machine her grandfather built in 1939. Her grandparents' legacy lives on inside the white and pink cinder-block building, where photos and memorabilia cover the walls.
THE SPECS: Each fluffy snowball (or Sno-Bliz) is so powdery soft that syrup must be poured on in layers to saturate each concoction, like the rich, sherbetlike Cream of Blueberry (from $2).

CHICAGO

THE SPOT: Sandwiched between brick row houses in Little Italy, Mario's Italian Lemonade (1068 W. Taylor St.) attracts a mix of elderly neighbors, university students and stroller-toting families. Mario DiPaolo Jr. mans the red, white and green stand that his parents founded 62 years ago.
THE SPECS: Don't be surprised to find chunks of lemon rind, pulp and seeds in your cup of not-too-tart, not-too-sweet slushy lemonade (from $1). Handson proprietor Mario picks up Sunkist lemons and Domino Sugar himself, just like his dad did for decades.

DALLAS

THE SPOT: Be prepared to wait in line outside Aunt Stelle's Sno-Cones (2002 W. Clarendon Road, 214-946-1431), housed in a onetime barbershop. On summer evenings, fans head to the stand, named for co-founder Estelle Williams, who opened it in 1962.
THE SPECS: The best-selling Pink Lady (from $2) is bubblegum colored, but tastes like vanilla. Owner Lee Alpert, Estelle's daughter, says fans drive from 30-plus miles away to get their fix.

HONOLULU

THE SPOT: On an island teeming with cups of flavored ice, Waiola Shave Ice (2135 Waiola St., 808-949-2269) stands out for its superfine, melt-in-your-mouth consistency and for its odd location, in a residential section of Honolulu. Order at a walk-up window adjacent to the corner convenience store.
THE SPECS: Try the popular rainbow-colored trio, flavored with strawberry, banana and blue vanilla ($2). Locals like to top it with adzuki beans, mochi balls and sweetened condensed milk. No matter how you like it, ask for "shave ice," not "shaved ice," if you please.

*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in August 2009.