Lilsy pouring cucumber lime aqua fresca. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Lilsy pouring cucumber lime aqua fresca. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Already well-known for its great Mexican ice creams, aguas frescas and traditional foods, for the second consecutive year La Michoacana Paleteria will transform into an art gallery as it hosts the Latino Art Show on Aug. 27. Autographed prints by artist Jose Andres Giron will be available for purchase in a benefit sponsored by the San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 2890. 

All of the proceeds will go toward the LULAC scholarship program, which gave out $11,000 in scholarships last year to San Benito County students. The show will run from 10 a.m to 3 p.m, and owner Ana Ramos-Aguilera has donated coupons good for a scoop of the ice cream for the first 50 visitors. 

“Ana has been kind enough to let us have our show in her shop,” said LULAC founding member Mickie Luna. “We think it is a perfect place to show the art, and it is a chance to introduce more people to her wonderful traditional ice creams.” 

Luna has a hard time deciding her favorite flavor among the many offered in the shop.

“I really like the pecan,” she said. “It was very different from the butter pecan in other stores. And I tried the Abuelita ice cream as a milkshake. Oh, my goodness, it’s good. My son loves that chocolate, and I can’t wait for him to try it.” 

Having done two ice cream tastings before with Ramos-Aguilera for the Eat, Drink, Savor series, we decided to try some of the agua fresca selections this time. As with the milk and water-based ice creams, all the ingredients used in the agua frescas are fresh and prepared on-site.

Aguas Frescas of La Michoacana Paleteria

Watermelon  “There are a lot of watermelons in there to make it taste this good,” Ramos-Aguilera said. “There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners—just watermelon.” There is indeed a lot of watermelon in the drink, chopped up almost to the point of being minced. The bits of fruit are left in pulp to add flavor and texture—you almost chew this drink as much as you drink it. The infusion helps hold the sugar down, so you get the flavor without too much sweetness. You can’t beat watermelon for freshness, and this is a treat.

Lime  Fresh limes are squeezed daily and by the boxful to make lime ices, lime ice cream, and lime agua fresca, all of which are extremely popular. The fresh fruit makes all the difference, and as a drink, this one sparkles. The pure flavor of the fruit comes across as clean and bright, with very little acidity. This is my favorite—refreshing and delicious.

Lime and Cucumber  This drink is made by mixing lime and cucumber agua frescas in equal parts and adding chia seeds and diced cucumber. Ramos-Aguilera said this is her current favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a nice combination of flavors that battle for your attention. The cucumber ends up dominating, but the lime is still there as an undercurrent. I was not expecting the chia seeds to be as crunchy as they are, but it makes for a fun drink.  

Strawberry  One of the best-selling flavors, this is made with fresh strawberries sourced from Watsonville. It reminds me of the strawberry milk my mother made for me when I was young, but it also has mixed bits of strawberry. To me, this is comfort food and the richness of the milk and the freshness of the strawberries makes a perfect combination.

Agua de Fruta  A milk-based drink, the base flavor is strawberry with diced guava, green apples, melon, pineapple, and other fruits. This is a dessert of a drink, with the different bits of fruit giving different tones to the taste as you drink it. Some bits are sweet, others sharp or bitter, but they work well together.

Guava  A little on the sweeter side, with pieces of fruit and seeds, the taste is similar to the watermelon and is just as refreshing.  

Mango  This is another delight. It’s also slightly sweet with a thicker orange juice-like texture. You get more of a whole, complete fruit flavor, like biting into the fruit itself. This is the most popular flavor and a must-try.


BenitoLink thanks our underwriters, Hollister Super and Windmill Market, for helping to expand the Eat, Drink, Savor series and give our readers the stories that interest them about local food and food products. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support our reporting on the inspired and creative people behind the many delicious food and drink products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.