This week’s INDY is a DISH special issue. The theme: ice cream. I wrote about Raspados Elenita, a cool little truck serving Latin-American ices in North Durham. Read the full story, and check out the slideshow by photographer Sam Trull.
With a flimsy plastic drinking straw pinched between his thumb and index finger, Luis Rodriguez pokes through crushed bits of ice mounded high in a Styrofoam cup. Under the draping shade of a tree, he recalls a time in Guatemala when this was his summer gig.
“As a young kid, I worked with my uncle to scrape the ice by hand so he could sell the raspados,” says Rodriguez, who now lives in Durham. “I always, always, wanted the pineapple flavor.”
In front of him, a neon-green truck beams with a looping script that reads “Raspados Elenita.” The Spanish term raspados comes from raspar, meaning “to scrape.” Popular in most Latin American countries, they are a quintessential summertime treat of shaved ice (in the modern version, ice is crushed by machine) packed into tall cups and deluged with viscous syrups. A mélange of topping options include fresh-cut mango, homemade marmalade, rainbow sprinkles, chili powder and squirts of lime juice.