Nelda Cavasos-Cuellar opens Paleteria La Victoria

A ceiling filled with brightly colored, festive pinatas, and shelves filled with candies, sodas, and what seems like a thousand varieties of homemade desserts, Paleteria La Victoria is owned by one of the sweetest and kindest women you could ever meet, Nelda Cavasos-Cuellar. She is an amazing woman, a two-time brain surgery survivor, who has lived and worked here since 1976. First starting the local daycare, Kid City, then opening the restaurant, La Michoacana, Nelda has always loved LaBelle and is dedicated to making a positive impact in the community.

Nelda takes immense pride in making everything, from the ice cream to the tortillas, fresh from scratch. While this can take a little longer, it is more than worth the wait. She shops for most of her fresh ingredients at local farmer’s markets, and imports the more exotic, traditional ingredients from Mexico. Twice a week, using the fresh produce, she makes all of the ice cream on-site. But desserts aren’t the only delicious treat being served in this amazing little restaurant, the variety of hot, made-from-scratch menu possibilities is seemingly endless.

One of Nelda’s specialties is her hot and juicy Broasted chicken, which is served with homemade sides like mashed potatoes, freshly steamed green beans, and a hearty mac n’ cheese. For the more adventurous foodies, she offers traditional pupusas, which are hot corn cakes stuffed with cheese and your choice of chicken, pork, beans, or veggies. The traditional side dish, served alongside her delectable pupusas, is cortido- a lively, flavorful, and tart slaw made with cabbage and carrots that compliments the cheese-filled deliciousness perfectly.

Getting back to the desserts, this sweet little shop serves up their homemade ice cream, smoothies, and fruit waters, in more flavors and combinations than you can even begin to imagine. Customers can choose from traditional stand-bys like strawberry or chocolate, to the more imaginative Gansito, a combination of a chocolate dipped, crème- filled, vanilla cake in a sweet cream base, with a delicious berry swirl. For those with a wilder side on the hunt for something truly unique, Nelda’s equally amazing daughter, JoeAnn Alaniz, is a creative foodie as well, always coming up with new things for the menu. Fruity Pebble milkshakes, Hot Cheeto corn cups, and Uni-corn elotes are only the beginning. There are things like the sweet, sour, and spicy Pina Loca (crazy pineapple)- a fresh, whole pineapple drizzled with Chamoy and Tajin and decorated with Sour Patch candies, or the Piccadilly snow cone- a weird but satisfyingly sweet and sour combination of cherry Italian ice and dill pickles, smothered in chamoy and chili salt.

Whatever the craving, Paleteria La Victoria is sure to have something on the menu to satisfy it. If you’re in the mood for burgers and fries, tacos, nachos, tamales, gorditas, or a Cuban sandwich, this place has all that and more. They even offer drive-thru service, but its always best to call your orders in ahead of time, as everything is made to order, and good food takes a little more time. Don’t see something you want, or have something else in mind? Nelda is quick to take on custom, off-menu orders as well, just ask her. Paleteria La Victoria is located at 155 W. Cowboy Way, and the phone number is (863) 675-0062.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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