tb-two* photo galleries
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
*Check out Allie Davison's interview with Nicole Hair, who opened Roux's New Orleans Style SnoBalls with her husband.
By Michael Newcomer, food critic
I’m pretty behind on frozen dessert trends. I’ve been an ice cream fiend since birth, and when frozen yogurt popped up in middle school, it took me until my junior year of high school to taste my first froyo. Then I heard about Roux’s New Orleans Style SnoBalls opening in September in New Tampa, and I was determined to hop on the bandwagon in a timely manner.
I appreciate the decision I made. Had I not discovered this gift from the gods of Mardi Gras until much later, I would have really kicked myself in the, ah, you know where. I was initially amused at North Tampa’s cultish reaction to glorified snow cones. I mean, after all, I’ve had snow cones at the circus in those fun little elephant cups, but we all know what kind of sticky mess they become. Roux’s SnoBalls changed my perception of what snow cones should be.
Using blocks of ice they make themselves, the owners of Roux’s shave the ice into a fine powder with a special machine imported from New Orleans. The result is something actually worthy of being called snow. Topped with syrups also imported from New Orleans, creams made by the owner herself or even marshmallow fluff if you ask, this confection is like a bite of heaven, if heaven were located at the arctic circle.
I first tried the flavor inspired by Wharton High students, frequent customers of Roux’s because the school is less than a block away. Wharton Blood, made from blueberry and coconut and modeled after Roux’s signature LSU flavor, Tiger Blood (strawberry and coconut), this is the one flavor I wasn’t too crazy about.
Next to come was banana. I’m not a huge fan of banana flavored things, ever since Runts candy left a bad taste in my mouth when I was a little kid. This, however, tasted genuinely bananalike, so I couldn’t complain. It wasn’t my favorite flavor of the bunch, but it was pretty good.
To mix it up, I got chocolate, one of the flavors made with sweetened, condensed milk. You wouldn’t expect this, since a snoball is mostly ice, but it tasted just like a Fudgesicle. Once I got about halfway through, the owner offered to mix in some banana syrup, and then it tasted like a chocolate-covered banana. There truly are endless possibilities for flavoring your snoball.
Strawberry is such a standard flavor, I didn’t really expect it to taste any different on a snoball than a snow cone, but it did. The ice is nice, plus there’s no metallic artificial flavor.
I saved the best for last. Owner Nicole Hair outdoes herself with this creation, cafe au lait. It was as if I’d ordered a Starbucks mocha frappuccino, except about $4 cheaper. (Snoball prices range from $1.50-$3.50.)
Sugar-free syrups are available, rotated every so often to give sugar-sensitive people more variety. Lactose-free options are available as well.