Monday, June 23, 2014

Atlanta on a Stick: King of Pops

King of Pops Window and Headquarters.
There aren’t many places I’ve heard of that are famous for popsicles, but one place, Atlanta’s King of Pops, has been on my radar for years now. It only seemed natural that before celebrating democracy at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum—the fourth president I’ve checked off—I bow before a monarch of dessert.

The Corner.
But why, you might ask, do popsicles need a king when other desserts seem to have political neutrality? I’m no political science expert, but the explanation behind the coronation can be found in some simple math: Hammer + sickle = communism. Subtract the hammer (the voice of the working class), drop the k from “sickle” (via the type of healthcare only royalty or the 1% can afford), add patriarchy (patri-, father, pop) and there you have it: Monarchy = Popsicles. But I digress…

Within a short distance from one another are the two most important King of Pops locations, the Corner and the Window. My first stop was the Corner, the original location to feature a King of Pops cart. Waiting for me was a small cart, an umbrella, a smiling face and a seven-item menu. Having heard praise of their Sea Salt Chocolate, I dove in. This sweet-salty snack was the perfect chocolaty thing to smack my lips to on a warm day. Shame it wasn’t peanut-themed, eh, Jimmy?

Menu at the Window.
Later that evening, when it came time for dinner, I pointed my car toward Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. (Perhaps the best ribs I’ve ever had, by the way.) Before I hit the gas, though, I concluded that since the day continued to be warm I would probably need another popsicle to cool down. It was practically on the way anyhow, being so close to the Window and all. Plus, I’d probably want lemonade with my proper southern meal, so why not eat a popsicle instead. This is the type of logic we use here at Ice Cream U Scream.

Tucked amongst brick and artful graffiti, the Window functions as the headquarters of King of Pops. Were it not for two things that indicate one has come to the right place—the eye-level signage and the chalkboard sign detailing the fifteen flavors available that day (out of over 100 rotating flavors!)—it would be easy to miss because the eponymous window peers out from a basement. Met with another smiling person happy to serve me what I was happy to eat, I hemmed and hawed for a while before settling on Blackberry Ginger Lemonade. Walking away eating the juicy frozen heir to the throne, I realized it didn’t matter what I’d chosen because anything would have been incredible. Well, almost anything. (I’m looking at you Strawberry Banana.)

Pop royalty.
Following this line of thinking, I turned around to test the theory by ordering the Mystery Flavor. For a buck less than their already affordable prices, King of Pops dares customers to put their fate in the hands of the jovial window-worker. When I ordered, he held out several popsicles and asked me to choose. I gently explained my burning hatred feelings about bananas, which sent one of the choices back into the freezer. (Good riddance!) I settled upon a cantaloupe-colored pop that looked the most adventurous. The jovial window-worker offered to tell me what I’d chosen, but I wanted to guess. While the taste wasn’t my favorite of those I tried, this flavor was the more refreshing than the others! It was light and tart, with a tingle of herb. Grapefruit Basil, I guessed, but I’d guessed wrong: Grapefruit Mint.

A pop veiled in mystery.
I’m happy to report that Atlanta is no longer the only place to find King of Pops (see the pull down arrow at the top left on their website); indeed, they are snuffing out democracy in shops and farmer’s markets both near (just 90 minutes away in Athens, GA at Ike & Jane Cafe and Bakery) and far (as far west as Chattanooga and as far north as Richmond, VA). So now you have the option to enjoy warm weather the Atlanta way without being in Georgia! Enjoy!

For another way to cool off in Atlanta, check out Atlanta in a Cone!

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