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Aug 5, 2014 01:42 PM

Agua Frescas

I would appreciate your opinions on where to find the best Agua Frescas in Dallas (farther south the better) I love a mango or melon agua fresca, these are my two favorite so far but i'm open to all of them. Pineapple seemed a little more boring to me but maybe that's because I'm just too familiar with pineapple or maybe that was not a good version that i've had. Even El Pollo Regio has a mango agua fresca that is incredible, especially for "fast" food. Anything made with fresh juices is hard for me the resist. Usually where i find good agua fresca i find pretty good food as well.
Any other drinks you think are really good, please let me know so i can go try it out.

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  1. Serrano Sandia at Komali. One of my favorite cocktails in Dallas.

    3 Replies
    1. re: demigodh

      That sounds amazing! Komali is on my short list of places to visit.

      1. re: Carrollton Foodie

        yes komali is on my list as well but i suppose it just got bumped up a notch

      2. re: demigodh

        Not exactly agua fresca but close enough for me since i love cocktails!
        Try Si Lom's Cucumber Martini, i promise you it's as good as any cocktail in DFW.
        Nickel & Rye also makes amazing cocktails, way better than Standard Pour, Smyth, Cedars Social, etc...

      3. Any one of El Tizoncito's Agua Frescas. The Jamaica (pronounced, Hamica) is my personal favorite. They also do them as fabulous Margaritas.

        1. Some of the larger Hispanic supermarkets like Fiesta or Carnival have a nice assortment of aguas frescas.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Carrollton Foodie

            Do you think it would be possible to buy a large container of it, like a gallon, as opposed to buying a drink designed to be consumed immediately? I want to keep some in my fridge at home as a treat.

            1. re: neiladammcginnis

              Wow, that's a really good question...that I have no answer for. It would be cool to be able to purchase a "growler" of agua fresca.

          2. I prefer the aguas frescas at Dona Lencha in Irving. I went early one morning and saw them making all of them for the day and they offered me a free glass of the lemon one. Mighty fine glass of lemonade with just the right amount of sugar to lemon juice ratio.

            Dona Lencha and Los Torres both make a exceptional horchata.

            If you are looking for large quantities you might want to seek out recipes for aguas frescas (see below). As much as you seem to be travelling to grovcery stores it wouldn't be hard to pick up the ingredients.


            21 Replies
            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              Yea i'm sure you are right.. i'm just being a bit lazy. I have a 1 year old baby girl now so i'm valuing my free time a bit more than i used to.
              Can't you please whip me some up and i just donate a handsome reward? lol

              1. re: neiladammcginnis

                I can whip some up. Tell me what kind you want and I might even throw in some free booze as we are trying to move.

                You are right behind me on the kiddo. Mine is 18 months. Does great at restaurants and eats just about everything. Recently started her at day care and they have introduced foods we avoided feeding her (mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, ketchup, apple sauce, juice). Just wait for it Neil you will be there soon.

                Also say goodbye to dining out at late hours without months of planning. Embrace the Luby's crowd at 4-6 pm!

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  Yea unfortunately I know exactly what you mean.. We sent some baby food one day to the babysitter, that the baby did not like, and the babysitter then proceeded to feed her vienna sausages out of the can. On the same day she had a talk with my wife about feeding the baby too many vegetables.

                  We are trying to avoid high levels of salt, processed foods, antibiotics, hormones... etc.. Even the plastic lining in the cans can leech BPA or other hormone mimicking chemicals which can affect a child's early development. I'm guessing that "demigodh" will really be disgusted with me here. lol
                  Yea the chicken nuggets with azodicarbonamide and high fructose corn syrup and occasionally preservatives in ketchup, apple sauce and juice... Often people are offended that we are not giving our kid the same foods they would give theirs. But had they watched all the documentaries about food culture, as i have, then I think they would be in agreeance.

                  I just got back from Alaska so I would be willing to trade fresh, flash frozen wild alaskan silver salmon if you really wanted to trade for your homemade agua fresca. If not it's ok but I am up for it FYI.
                  The salmon was flash frozen after being packaged in airtight bags on the same day we caught it in Sitka, Alaska. I have used it for tartare on several occasions because the quality is as high as it gets. I even have pictures of the place where they were caught if you are really anal about sourcing. lol

                  I am open to any type of agua fresca but so far I have only tried pineapple, mango, melon. I thought melon and mango were incredible but open to suggestions if you know of something better i have not yet tried. Something a little more exotic like Kiwi seems like it would be good but maybe thats just my imagination. Also Kiwi, Mango and Melon are supposed to be low in pesticide use so that being organic is not as imperative. Obviously I avoid conventional strawberries and other foods that require too much spraying unless i can find organic but I realize organic is pricey in most cases.


                  1. re: neiladammcginnis

                    I am not too much of a stickler for pesticides on items that we do not consume the outer portion.

                    Strawberries I am in the same boat and unfortunately I won't be making an aguas fresca out of those as the season is over. I get my strawberries from a vendor in Athens, TX (link below). Best strawberries I have had though. My wife, daughter and I all took a day and went picking back in May?


                    Problem with most produce (sorry if this is off topic) but most is not ripe or will ever be ripe enough for consumption. I grew up visiting small West Texas towns (around Stephenville area) and we would always bring back our fruits and veggies from those trips. The selection criteria was ingrained into my memory. I learned how to reasonably choose Asian fruits just recently.

                    The best recommendation other than really looking into restaurants here locally using this board is looking into farmers and farmers markets. Make a list of them and keep them handy. Ask lots of questions of the farmers, ask what all they grow, ask what are alternates uses for their products, ask if you can visit their farm with advance notice, ask them tips on how to choose the best if you don't already know. I use farmers markets as my place for research not for convenience.

                    Learn what is in season....right now okra, all peppers, squash and cucumber (if they have had reasonable amounts of water to keep them alive), melons, early corn, late tomatoes if they made it.

                    Join gardening groups on FB....don't have to actively participate but you can learn what is in season and most of the questions from above. Very helpful and friendly bunch.

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      ok i will keep that in mind.. I am just scratching the surface i suppose.
                      Going out to the farms sounds very good to me in theory but the reality usually seems like significant work. I feel like finding good, local food that is fresh is a full time job and that's in addition to my real job. lol
                      i already drive an hour out of my way (grandview) every week for raw goats milk. Every weekend i go to dallas on an hour trip for supplies and now i'm supposed to go check out local farmers markets which are all at least an hour away in a different direction and for that I must arrive much earlier than i would normally. And all around me nobody really cares about quality of food like I do so i'm on my own.
                      It's a bit overwhelming and I can see why some people don't even bother with all this. I bet I could spend $50 a week just on gas to get everything.

                      Thanks for the info I will try to stay motivated.

                  2. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    LH - not to high jack the thread, but I hope you are not moving far. We have really enjoyed and appreciated your posts over the years. We are in Flower Mound and also have a diverse love of food and you have given a ton of great suggestions - and exposed us to some more ethnic places we hadn't ventured.

                    On the kiddo front, our daughter is two and we echo the sentiments both you and Neil have expressed. Our only concern is that our daughter, even exposed to all different foods, is a very picky eater. Some days I feel like she sustains herself on air....

                    1. re: vstock

                      I also was concerned when LH said he was moving although I was hesitant to ask why and where since it's not really my business.
                      My daughter is like 15 months old but so far I have not had any issues with being a picky eater but I suspect that battle may come my way soon enough. I have an 11 year old step-daughter that only just started trying new foods with me. A few years ago she actually vomited at the table at Rockfish because her mom made her eat a piece of broccoli. If that's not crazy i don't know what is. That may be TMI but i thought it was interesting. lol

                      1. re: vstock

                        @ Vstock
                        I am only moving to McKinney from Lewisville. Not sure if that would require a SN change? Thank you for the kind words...just doing my part to pay it forward. BTW new find for the FM area is Ista on Morris and 1171. Great Indian lunch buffet.

                        The comment was meant to do some research upfront....yes you will spend money in the beginning with the farmers markets. When you make connections you can plan a trip in map order to the farms you need supplies from many of which are in your area. Also once you pick up 40/50 lbs of produce (say cucumbers) you will grow tired of them but you will learn about using them quickly and in various fashions. All of this will teach you about seasonality. Canning and freezing will save money and prolong your seasonal crops.

                        Start another thread and I will try to give as much information as I can. I know you have some to share as well. Really no website is perfect on who is still in business and nor is there a comprehensive list. I tried to put one together when I was on the board for Slow Food Dallas. I suspect all of us have the smae quest for quality and fresh ingredients.

                  3. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    Thanks for the link, LH. I'm already planning on making a large pitcher of iced Jamaica agua fresca.
                    The Hibiscus tea leaves i'ved used previously are imported from Egypt and sold at Whole Foods.

                    And, I second your recommendation for Dona Lencha.

                    1. re: twinwillow

                      Slightly unrelated but that's great to know that Whole Foods has Egyptian hibiscus. A few years ago I visited Cairo and drank karkade (hibiscus tea) all the time but haven't found it here. Where in Whole Foods do you buy it? Tea section? Is there a tea section? Sorry for all the questions, I'm generally morally opposed to Whole Food but I'll sacrifice that for some hibiscus!

                      1. re: demigodh

                        "Nile Valley" in the tea section. With or without mint.

                        1. re: twinwillow

                          is egyptian hibiscus superior to regular hibiscus? I'm asking because my only experience with hibiscus was at Teavana in the mall and I decided I did not like it because the flavors reminded me of purple KoolAid from my troubled childhood.

                        2. re: demigodh

                          morally opposed to whole foods? You have sparked my curiosity can you please explain yourself?

                          1. re: neiladammcginnis

                            I guess the "moral" part is more tongue in cheek but I do hate whole foods. You asked for it so here's my rant. First, I think their products suck. I've never been a fan of the produce section. Don't even get me started on the 365 brand. Second, I think the whole non-GMO, organic, gluten free, paleo, quinoa, kale or whatever fad is in at the moment theme of WF is also ridiculous. I guess I just don't care about those things, and rarely does the science line up with the health trend of the day (e.g., gluten, GMO, paleo etc.). Third, you can't get regular products there! If I want Jif peanut butter or Mission tortillas or Shells and Velveeta, you can't get them at WF. Instead you're forced into their organic and crappy tasting alternative of said foods. Fourth, I don't want to be judged at checkout for wanting a bag. I think grocery stores should have an upcharge (like $.10 or something) for a bag. Trying to make me feel like a jerk for wanting a bag to put my groceries in is ridiculous. Further, I can't stand all the monitors they have showing how great they are with their micro-finance programs in Africa or eco-friendly initiatives. I think micro-finance is really cool but WF profiting off of it by using it in their marketing seems to go against the "crunchy" vibe they sell so hard. Fifth, and lastly, it's ridiculously expensive. Considering my first point (I think their products suck) I don't really have much reason to go there.

                            So, that's why I hate Whole Foods. I'm not really trying to start an argument about it. If you love shopping there then keep at it. Occasionally, like now, it's brought to my attention that they carry something I want so I go there. But believe me when I say I go begrudgingly.

                            1. re: demigodh

                              (LOL) So, you're ok if the Hibiscus tea is gluten free?

                              1. re: twinwillow

                                haha, not if they market it that way!

                                1. re: demigodh

                                  I don't know if gluten allergies are as prevalent as they would make it seem but it is true that avoiding products with gluten is part of a good diet plan if you are attempting to lose weight, which most of us are. I suppose if you are not overweight then it's not much of a concern for you but I have to pay attention to these things.

                                2. re: demigodh

                                  Buy your hibiscus at any Latin themed store in the produce section close to the dried bins of beans/chilis or the bagged spices/herbs.

                                  If you want the Eygptian version I bet it is just Moroccan mint tea with hibiscus added. You can get roughly enough hibiscus to last about a month of continual drinking (3-4 glasses a day) for about $6 at El Rancho. Prices could go up or down depending on your area of town.

                                  It is probably not GMO and it sprayed highly for bugs but hey they don't claim anything on the packaging nor in the store.

                                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                    Good to know, I'll try there. Just for clarification, Egyptian karkade (hibiscus tea) is not made with mint. I'm sure the dried hibiscus flower is the same wherever it's from but of course I have a nostalgic reason to try and find Egyptian.

                        3. Over the weekend I drove past a store (fruteria) that specializes in Agua Frescas at Lindsley and Beacon. That's probably worth checking out.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: demigodh

                            that sounds perfect i will check it out. Don't remember the exact name? I should be able to find on google maps with those street names. I don't live in dallas so i'm not good with street names i just rely on GPS coordinates. lol

                            1. re: neiladammcginnis

                              Ha, it's in Old East Dallas if that helps. Don't remember the name and couldn't find it online but if you drive to that corner you'll find it. It's on Lindsley just south of Beacon.