Slush. It has been a favorite of mine ever since I worked at Robinson’s News Agency in Malden, MA. That was my father’s convenience store/news agency, and the place where I learned how to work. My first job. I used to scoop tons of cups of Richie’s® slush during the summer months. We carried every flavor…Rootbeer, Cotton Candy, Watermelon, Lemon, Banana, Blue Vanilla, Cherry, Blue Raspberry (and I am sure to be forgetting a few.) Robinson’s was a neighborhood spot and on those summer days when we barely felt the tiniest of warm breezes through the wide open back door of the store, slush was an attraction for kids of all ages…2 to 102. We stayed open late, and scooped and scooped and scooped. If we didn’t have the flavor that someone wanted, people would wait for the 5 gallon pail to thaw just enough that we could scrape their favorite flavor off the top.
Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA is a small historic stretch of road surrounded by ocean ; picturesque even on the cloudiest of days. It is home to many quaint shops. You will find old-fashioned ice cream parlors. You can explore art galleries and jewelry stores owned by local artists. There is a Country Store where you will find delighted children filling their plain white bags with penny candy. The place you may not see is just steps away from Bearskin Neck, and brings me to mention my newest crush. Shaved Ice. It is a bit like the Richie’s® slush I used to serve, but distinctly different. Shaved ice is best when bought from Rockport’s little gem…the Hula Moon Cafe.
You could walk right by Hula Moon if you didn’t know it was there, but to know it is to love it. We discovered Hula Moon last summer on a sweltering hot, sunny day. We spotted the sign for “shaved ice.” Nothing but a block of frozen water placed on the platform of a converted drill press from Thailand that was bought on eBay. The owner (usually sporting a great Hawaiian shirt) turns on the machine and in seconds you see beautiful soft white shavings of ice floating into your cup. The ice is then hand packed softly. Next step… the syrup. Pick your flavor and liquid sugar is carefully poured over the top of the ice. Sometimes mixtures are made with the syrup like the one we love the most…Silver Fox. The feeling of refreshment when the ice hits your taste buds and works its magic on your parched throat is worth way more than $2.50. It’s an experience, not just a snack.
The shaved ice is simple. The atmosphere is not. Close your eyes, click your heels together and walk through the door. You will always find a few regular customers (known by their first names) sitting around chatting, and the decor is tropical -simply. Lei’s adorn the painted walls, along with tropical fish decals. Extravagant it’s not, but that is not what it is supposed to be. Imagine a surfer’s favorite hangout spot in Polynesia, a place that tourists don’t know about, a place where the owner knows your name. You feel as if you could sit and chat for hours with the customers that you met one minute ago. Just friendly people…every time I go. I guess maybe now we are regulars too.
Hula Moon Cafe…If you are in the area, find it and be transported.