If you’re interested in trying the sweetest, coldest treat you can get your hands on this summer, turn your attention to Escondido and a small shack called Baltimore Snowball.
As its name suggests, the snowball is a regional treat found around Baltimore, Maryland. Primarily, snowballs consist of shaved ice smothered in flavored syrups, but there’s a tendency towards no-holds-barred sweetness with these things by topping them with sauces such as chocolate, caramel, or marshmallow.
You may pick up to three syrups with each order, out of dozens of choices. They’re mostly brightly colored fruit flavors, meaning you can get quite colorful in creating a tricolor snow-cone rainbow. Less vibrant colors cover dessert basics such as chocolate and vanilla, plus the more interesting toffee, egg custard, and horchata. I take it the marshmallow cream topping is the OG Baltimore way.
You may personalize a snowball to taste, but I’ve learned from similar dessert set-ups that I can’t always be trusted with the sweet, horrible freedom that comes with too many options. So I went with one of the sixty or so named combinations depicted vividly in color photos on the outside wall of the shack. Pomaberry punch caught my attention with a colorful, two-tone appearance, pairing both blueberry and pomegranate syrups with marshmallow topping served over strawberry ice cream.
148 W. El Norte Parkway, Escondido
Yes, adding ice cream is an option, and there are several flavors of that as well. As I dug into the snowball, the shaved ice and marshmallow proved a winning combo and I might have been happy to dig my way through the whole thing as is. But just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of the snowball’s over-the-top sweetness, I hit the ice cream lode, and finding that smooth texture after a lot of crunchy ice made the snowball that much more satisfying. Basically, there’s no going small with the sweetness of these things, so you might as well go big.
Well, maybe not too big. A $3 small turned out to be almost the size of a softball. The $7 Monster Size purportedly yields a 32-ounce cup of snowball. A $4 regular should be more than enough for one person. I would hope.
Patio furniture is scattered around the shack, should you wish to eat on premises. There’s also a drive-thru, but if you order at the walk-up window you get the benefit of watching fellow customers suffer brain freeze as they too enthusiastically spoon in.