Ice: It's not all the same

The virtues of pellet ice

Most people don't have strong opinions about ice. It's just frozen water after all, something to cool down drinks. But not all ice is created equal. Those who have pondered the intricacies of frozen H2O know what I'm talking about.

It's kind of like pasta: You know it's all made out of the same ingredient(s), but different shapes just suit different people.

You've got your standard ice varieties: cubed, crushed, shaved, store-bought (the cylinders with the hole through the middle), ice-cube-tray (for those poor schmucks who still use trays), disc ice (that you usually get at fast food joints), square ice (with the hollowed-out center). Most of the argument here boils down to cubed versus crushed.

And there's pellet ice ... that sweet, sweet incarnation that you come across only rarely, but rejoice in its splendor when you happen upon it.

Known on the street as pizza parlor ice or rabbit poop ice, pellet ice is engineered for the perfect consistency — light and airy but still satisfyingly crunchy.

The arguments in favor of pellet ice are plentiful. It doesn't hurt your teeth when you chew it. It's got the best surface area to volume ratio. It's as close as ice can get to seeming like proper food — kinda like ice cream for the anorexic. And the clincher: It's the nearest to a Slushie without having to hit up 7-Eleven. The Slushie factor is key to the pellet ice's allure. It holds the flavor of your beverage, providing an icy, tasty treat after your drink is gone.

To experience pellet joy for yourself, check out the ice dispensers at your local Sonic or Tijuana Flats.

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