What happens when you combine great Mexican food with homemade Mexican ice cream and fruit pops all under one roof? You get Paleteria La Reyna of course. I feel rather embarrassed that I had never heard of this magical place till just a few weeks ago. Somehow it had slipped below my radar, but luckily that has been remedied. La Reyna is located at 29th and Arkansas, just south of the intersection. First off let me break down the translation of Paleteria La Reyna, so we are all on the same page. A paleta is “a Latin American ice pop, usually made from fruit.” So a paleteria is a place where these frozen treats are sold. La reyna translates as “the queen”. Put it all together and you have, Latin American ice pop shop of the queen. Sounds pretty damn fantastic doesn’t it? Now after doing some internet research La Reyna, not surprisingly, is known for their frozen treats. With this knowledge I was curious as to how their savory food would fare.
On first glance La Reyna checked out. Traditional Mexican restaurant exterior, vibrant decorations and paintings inside, clean and decently sized dining area, Hispanic soap opera on TV, and festive music blaring from speakers. From what I could tell the soap opera was set during the mid 1800s in Old Mexico and revolved around the love life of General Santa Anna. As we walked up to the counter it was hard to focus on the lunch menu due to the large amount of ice pops and ice cream located in the freezers. I managed to pull myself away to order a pork burrito, while Steph ordered beef enchiladas, and my mother went with the chicken tacos. Their food menu is not expansive, but all the popular Mexican dishes are well represented. All the food is picked up at the counter so make sure you have a good line of sight between your table and the counter.
Our food came with an ample serving of chips and salsa, both homemade. The tortilla chips are a bit thicker than most places, which means you can shovel even more delicious salsa into your mouth. The salsa had just the right amount of kick to it with some cilantro to balance it out. Our food came out quickly and I immediately regretted all the chips I polished off because the portion sizes were huge. My burrito was good sized and came with a side of beans and rice. This pork burrito is one of the best I have had in Wichita. It ranks up there with El Paisa’s burrito. Inside this big boy were tender chunks of pork, avocado, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. A lovely chili verde sauce put the finishing touches on the burrito. The beans and rice were fine, but nothing to get excited about. Steph’s enchiladas were finished with chili verde as well and complimented the sweetness of the enchilada sauce nicely. My mom really enjoyed her chicken tacos which came with chunks of white meat chicken, lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, and sour cream. Although it was served in a fried shell it would be a lighter selection for those who find Mexican food too heavy.
Although all three of us were stuffed, there was no way we were leaving without trying their frozen delights. La Reyna makes all of their ice cream and paletas in-house and offers a wide variety of flavors. Each of us decided to go with a scoop of ice cream. I sampled tequila, Steph had pecan, and mom went with vanilla. All I have to say is that I have a new favorite ice cream place. The creaminess and distinct flavors are unrivaled by the likes of Cold Stone, Marble Slab, Spangles, and even Baskin Robbins. Their ice cream is also very affordable as three generous scoops only cost around $5.
Even if La Reyna did not serve ice cream I would still rank it as one of my top Mexican restaurants in Wichita. The fact that they also serve awesome frozen treats makes it very hard to compete with. If you are looking for so
me relief from this unrelenting heat swing by and check out La Reyna’s frozen treats after feasting on a burrito or two (just don’t go on Wednesday, as they are closed).
UPDATE: We continue to frequent Paleteria and love all of their food and desserts. If you are looking for a break from ice cream, try the raspas, a milk and shaved ice concoction that is awesome, or Steph’s favorite the Strawberries and Cream.