La Flor Michoacana ice cream shop serves up authentic Mexican sweets and more local restaurant news

Images by Martyn Kyle Images by Martyn Kyle

La Flor Michoacana ice cream shop serves up authentic Mexican sweets

Mango and chili pepper may not be the first flavor combo that comes to mind when you’re deciding on dessert. But the menu at La Flor Michoacana, the Mexican ice cream shop across from The Salvation Army Thrift Store on Cherry Avenue, may make you reconsider.

Birzayith “Jimmy” Polania, a native of Colombia who moved to Charlottesville 18 years ago, opened La Flor Michoacana last July.

One of Polania’s favorites is the mangoneada: a sweet, sour and spicy medley of mango sorbet, fresh mango slices and tangy Chamoy sauce (made from pickled fruit). The colorful concoction is dusted with chili powder and served in a plastic cup with a stick of tamarind. He also gets a kick out of serving the piña loca, an over-the-top variety of the mangoneada, with mango, pineapple, cucumber, tamarind, Chamoy sauce and chili powder served in a hollowed-out pineapple, with a face on the outside made out of sliced fruit and Maraschino cherries.

“People love coming in here and taking a picture with the crazy pineapple,” Polania says.

For first-timers, he’ll walk you through the menu, starting with the extensive selection of paletas, classic Mexican popsicles in dozens of flavors such as piña colada, strawberry chili, Oreo, cantaloupe and soursop, a tropical fruit that’s popular south of the border. Polania and his business partner, Veronica Espinosa, make the popsicles in the shop using fresh fruit, no artificial flavorings and recipes that Polania picked up when he took a classic michoacana ice cream-making class in Mexico City.   

The menu also includes housemade ice cream at $2 per scoop, agua frescas (sweet fruity drinks), tres leches cake, flan and, on the weekends, fresh hot tamales.

“You see this type of business all over Mexico,” Polania says, adding that the local Latino community embraced the shop immediately. “It can be hard in America, but once people try it, they love it.”

For more information, check out La Flor Michoacana’s Facebook page.

Shell yeah

Shadwells Restaurant’s Oystravaganza was such a hit last year that it’s happening again. The Pantops restaurant serves fried oysters as an appetizer or entrée year-round, but during the month of March the salty, chewy mollusks are available in just about every iteration imaginable. Grilled oysters, smoked oysters, buffalo oysters, oysters on the half shell, oysters Rockefeller, oyster Caesar salad—it’s not shrimp, but we still think Bubba Gump would be impressed.

Indulge in Oystravaganza beginning at 4pm Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday. For more information, check out the Shadwells Restaurant Facebook page.

Melon mania

Bold Rock is rolling out a new cider that is so summery you can practically taste the backyard barbecues and river floats. Introducing the honeydew cider, a blend of apple cider “with a hint of melon” that will be available at the Nellysford Cider Barn this week. The official release party, complete with a DJ, begins at 5pm on Wednesday, March 16, at the cidery. But if you miss it, don’t worry—the seasonal libation will be available both on draft and in six-packs exclusively at the Cider Barn.

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