Halfway down Airport, Refresquería Las Delicias (4350 Airport Road, 438-0280), a veritable oasis of all things Mexi snack foods, beckons. Smacked between a vape shop and a Subway, Las Delicias’ Technicolor façade announces delectable treats—ranging from elotes con chile (corn kernels with chile), fresas con crema (strawberries with cream) and (banana split)—triggers diabetic dreams, makes kids’ eyeballs spin like pinwheels, and empty stomachs rumble up and down the Southside.
The interior is just as colorful, with each wall painted a different hue from the Willy Wonka collection. A slew of maquinitas (gumball machines), a Target Terror arcade game and a “Hot Flash” air hockey table greet customers, and a line toward the yummy mecca forms alongside a row of refrigerated display cases, which on a good day house at least a dozen different flavors of housemade ice cream and no less than 20 paleta offerings. Jenni Rivera blaring from the sound system completes the mood.
There is no official menu to peruse, displayed, printed or otherwise. Just gargantuan blown-up images of the tasty items offered for sale. With the gusto of Ralphie asking Santa for his Red Ryder air rifle, I order a chilindrina ($5) and some DoriNachos (4.50).
“¿Con todo?” the nice lady behind the counter asks. I nod yes, as if I knew what that implied. “White cheese and everything?” she continues. Hell yeah, white cheese and everything! She slaps on a pair of plastic gloves and gets to it. I add a large agua de limón to the mix ($2.75), and my entire order is ready a few short minutes later.
For the uninitiated, a chilindrina consists of a flour fritter that serves as a bed for heaps of lettuce, chopped tomato, cucumber, pickled pig skin bits and avocado (so it’s healthy), all doused with Valentina sauce and mayo. The treat is either revered or hated by those who’ve come across it (one Mexican pop culture website in an article titled “12 Foods That Shouldn’t Exist” refers to them as “…to food, what reggaeton is to music.”) At Delicias, it gets the job done in all its savory, gooey and messy gummy glory.
About to feel a hot flash myself, I dive deep into the DoriNachos—a Doritos/nachos hybrid that kicks Frito Pie’s ass any day of the week. Housed inside a Styrofoam container, the Doritos are bathed in nacho cheese and feature similar toppings as the chili, plus corn, grated cheese and jalapeño slices. Trust me when I say it’s life changing.
With each bite, it gets better as the melted cheese seeps into the chips, making it a fork job.
Whether it’s stick to your ribs disposable goodness, or some of the more sensible items on the non-menu, Delicias owner Roberto Campos prides himself on quality ingredients. “We use only 100 percent natural fruit in our paletas and aguas,” says Campos, who hails from Delicias, Chihuahua.
“During the summer, everything iced flies off the shelves,” Campos, who just celebrated the locale’s seventh anniversary, says. “But even our corn on the cob, which is warm, sells.”
At his insistence, I seal the deal with some granola-topped, creamy fresas. Delicioso doesn’t even begin to describe ’em.