Donkey Sherbet’s Icy Grill Helados Fritos: Keeping it fresh with custom soy ice cream in Playa del Carmen

The sudden heat wave unleashed upon us here in Los Angeles recently has really got me craving a certain ice cream treat.

nieve de mamey

Last year I went on a family vacation to Quintana Roo, more specifically Cancun. Though, we ended up getting a little sidetracked after taking the “combi” an hour north to the beach ruins of Tulum and ended up spending our entire vacation at Playa Del Carmen.

For one thing, it is more affordable since it’s not as touristy as Cancun (although there are now plans to open up a Cheesecake Factory and the first ever international House of Blues). Whereas the entire city of Cancun has become smart and jacked up their prices during vacation season, at Playa del Carmen, only the shops on Calle 12 have done this. Meaning, if you stray a couple of blocks, you can still find some awesome regional Quintana Roo cuisine, things like Pan de Cazon and Huevos con Chaya.

But I digress, so the cool thing about Playa del Carmen is that there is a long avenue right by the beach. Kind of like El Malecon at Puerto Vallarta or Universal Citywalk, but a dozen blocks longer.

donkey sherberts signage

During one of the repeated laps walked on Calle 12, I saw the sign for this ice cream place and thought, hell yeah! Finally some Mexican gender equality!

The dive turned out to be pretty a cool little find, it’s apparently a small family run chain (they also have one on Acapulco somewhere) that does soy-based ice cream straight up jocking Cold Stone. Only, really, really making the ice cream fresh on this frozen plate out of your custom selection of blended ingredient sludge instead of flavoring that pre-frozen paste at Cold Stone. And they had pretty bad ass ingredients, things like glistening mamey wedges and goat milk cajeta, which go figure — is exactly what I got!

mangoneada in action
the icy grill
my mamey in action

It’s just one of those tacky places that are actually brilliant ideas without the right guidance. The final ice cream product ends up tasting pretty damn good, kinda like frozen coffee creamer since soy milk in Mexico is pretty much just that. Though, it melts fast so you got to eat it even faster.

Nonetheless, if you ever find yourself going to Cancun, don’t! Cancel your reservations and take a combi to Playa del Carmen instead and book a hotel right by the beach for a quarter of the price. Then you can go out, laugh at people who dress flashy and still don’t get in to clubs while eating some soy custom ice cream!