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May 4, 2004 05:20 PM

A Paleta Predicament: The Inconsistency of Monarca

  • k

After proclaiming the excellence of Monarca paletas on this board last week, I am faced with having to make an embarrassing admission. A couple days ago I headed over to my favorite paleteria to procure a variety of my favorite flavors--rice pudding, banana, coconut, etc. Expecting the usual fresh and creamy excellence that in my experience had previously characterized Monarca's product, I was instead subjected to a freezer-burned parody of paleta perfection. The paletas I sampled on this occasion lacked almost any semblance of creaminess, presented an odd texture that made me feel as though I were licking frozen sand, and contained "fruit" chunks that were unrecognizable to my eyes and taste buds. Ice crystals were pervasive on the surface and inside the bars. This batch was a disappointing, inedible mess.

Hopefully this debacle will prove to be an isolated incident, and Monarca will soon return to its former glory.

Monarca Paleteria is located on Clark near Lunt in Rogers Park.

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  1. I, too, have proclaimed the excellence of monarca paletas.

    Kenny, did you get the pops from the home base or from a cart? The texture you describe also describes what happens when ice cream melts and refreezes

    4 Replies
    1. re: zim

      I suspect that many of the paletas we enjoy are all from the same factory (or a few factories) and are given different labels.

      It may be the post production paleta handling that effects the flavor and texture.

      Also, when and where the paleta is consumed effects the enjoyment....let's face it, no paleta tastes better than the one purchased from the cart and eaten on street on a 90+ degree day.

      For backyard BBQ's I've been purchasing paletas from La Reyna with great success.


      1. re: stirs-the-pot

        Though handling and setting doubtless does effect the enjoyment of various paletas, I don't buy that they are totally interchangeable - I've tried almost all the north side carts in various different settings and la monarca has been consistently better in my experience than la reyna (and especially arco iris) than others

        my southside paleta experience is much more limited

        1. re: zim
          Kenny from Rogers Park

          Re: The making of paletas

          The employees at Monarca's Clark Street location claim that their paletas, ice cream and Italian ice are all made on the premises.

          The owner of my second favorite paleta spot, Paleteria Jalisco, also claims his paletas are made in his Kedzie Ave. store, which is on the 4200 N. block, just across from the excellent new Cermak Produce location. Jalisco paletas are consistently creamy, fresh, and delicious.

      2. re: zim
        Kenny from Rogers Park

        "Kenny, did you get the pops from the home base or from a cart?"

        Got them from the home base. Have you tried their ice cream or Italian ice?

      3. Actually, had a question about Monarca's - when
        are they open? They dont have their hours listed
        on the door.

        Dropped by there once last week, it was about 1:30
        pm on a weekday. They were closed (dropped by
        the bakery down the street, who said they should
        be open - but they werent). Also once dropped by
        at about 10:30 am, and found them closed.

        Also, from the above it sounds like the paleta's
        are not fresh. Is that the case? They dont make
        it on location?


        P.S. If you consider Monarcas inconsistent,
        what would be your opinion of the #2 paleta
        place around, BTW?

        1. For reasons unrelated to paletas I have been taking lots of buses lately back and forth on Fullerton, Diversey, Chicago, and Division, and all along the way, on days so hot that my tongue is hanging out like a dog's, all I see is paleterias---guanabana, coco, mamey, and limon sound so good. So here is my question: why do none of the local supermarkets stock this gem of a local product? I don' t find them even at Tony's Finer Foods, which is all about Mexican products.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Querencia

            You're probably looking at the wrong places! Here in Rogers Park, all the Mexican grocery stores (Devon Market, Morse Market, etc.) stock them. Come on up! :)