Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hans' Homemade Ice Cream - Santa Ana

One Friday, a few weeks ago, I was at The Chippy for my weekly dose of fish. Yes, it was fish and chips, because what better way is there to get your essential omega-3 fatty acids than having it battered, fried, and crunchy, served atop french fries?

Then I found the answer: a dessert of banana ice cream as chaser.

Even better: I didn't have to pay for it. Next to the order line was a sign scribbled on a dry erase board, which proclaimed: "Today's Special: Free Banana Ice Cream With Every Combo Purchase."

So after my oh-so nutritious lunch, I claimed my complimentary scoop -- a fluffy, whipped-up-with-air, frozen amalgam of sugar, milk, and cream packed with so much banana flavor it can be classified as a monkey narcotic.

"How'd you like the ice cream," the Chippy guy asked later.

"Awesome," I said, "did you make it?"

"Oh no. It's from this little place I like in Santa Ana."

"Ah, Hans' Homemade," I said, obviously very satisfied with myself.

"Yes!" he said surprised, "You know it?"

"Yup, but I had no idea they had banana."

So after a long time away, I made my way back to the source of this divine dessert. Partly because The Chippy wasn't going to offer it every Friday and partly because I couldn't wait until Friday even if they did.

I found Hans' the same way I left it almost a decade ago. It is just as it always was: an ice cream parlor caught in a time warp. The place oozed old-time parlor nostalgia -- it looks cribbed from a Norman Rockwell scene of Main Street U.S.A. circa 1945. A bar area is still equipped with cushy stools and phosphates are still on the menu.

Unfortunately, the banana ice cream was not. Not that day, at least. So instead, I took their green tea ice cream ($3.50 a scoop) as a substitute.

Though it possessed Hans' characteristic fluffiness, the flavor was unlike any green tea ice cream I've ever had before: too sweet and strangely minty...too minty. It was so minty, in fact, that I wondered whether the peppermint stick flavor in the tub adjacent to it had seeped in by osmosis.

Whatever it was, I didn't like it. Of the 55 flavors that Hans puts on the roster, this wouldn't be one I'd vote to keep, especially if he's making it instead of that amazing banana!

Hans' Homemade Ice Cream
(714) 979-8815
3640 S Bristol St
Santa Ana, CA 92704

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17 Comments:

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous JB said...

I love Hans', too...
...for the atmosphere almost as much as the frozen, sweetened dairy delights.
The booths...the counter stools...the 1970s era "menu" of diner food like tuna salad sandwiches on croissants [or whatever].

I don't know about the rest of you, but every time I walk by, those ice cream cookie sandwiches in the window look out at me like a puppy in a pet store desperately seeking adoption.

I recommend Hans' to anyone out there who was born in the Vietnam-era or earlier and wants to momentarily re-live a time when retail dessert joints didn't have that Pinkberry, "Irvine Company" slickness to them...but instead were owned by hard-working, grandfatherly men in aprons who churned out homemade treats you truly coveted on special occasions and teenage first-dates.

And Elmo...
how could you not mention that Hans' is just steps away from our 'other' favorite fish place, Baja Fish Tacos!!

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger DanGarion said...

Oh wow! I've never heard of this place! We are going there tomorrow to check it out.

I grew up in Stanton, and we used to have a Leatherby's across the street from us, they made their ice cream in house it was the best stuff in the world! I can't wait to try this place!

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Diana said...

I just discovered where Hans is the other day! I'd heard so much about it, but never knew exactly where it was in OC until I drove by recently. I'll need to make a point to stop in next time. Avoiding the green tea of course. :)

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger DanGarion said...

We were there for lunch. Had an average Reuben, but the ice cream was GREAT!

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger ChristianZ said...

My family has been getting frozen lemon custard from Hans' since the 1970s.

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger Kernel Paniker said...

I love Han's.. I havent been there in a while gotta take the family again!

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darn, I've been to Baja Fish Tacos a few times but didn't know Hans' was a few doors down.... It's going to be harder now since I've moved north.

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

JB,

This comment was like a blog post in and of itself! Great job! Those ice cream sandwiches do look like puppies begging to be taken home.

Now that you mention it, I *WAS* at Baja Fish Tacos before I walked over to Hans! But of course, for me, it was the carne asada enchilada plate. Eaten with plenty of those scorching/refreshing whole chili peppers. (Anyone know what kind they are?)

Dan,

Glad you saw this and you went! What flavor did you try?

Diana,

Avoid the green tea (especially if you've had it elsewhere) and jump at the banana (if it's available).

Christian,

I had a feeling it'd been around for that long. The place doesn't look like it came from the 80s or 90s. Now I have to find out what a frozen lemon custard is.

Kernel and Anon,

Judging by how long it's been around, it will be there when you both get there! But I do remember the last time I went, the cost was at least a dollar less than it is now.

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger wonginator71 said...

I live nearby Hans', but hadn't tried it myself until recently.

Yeah, the banana ice cream does rock. I think I tried the flavor first at Fosselman's in Alhambra, and it was fabulous. It is the first flavor I now look for at ice cream parlors, since it is rarely sold at grocery stores.

 
At 8:55 PM, Anonymous JB said...

About an hour ago, I went to Chick-Fil-A [Bristol and Macarthur] to get a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich during Cow Appreciation Week.
To burn some cals, I strolled over to Hans', and in tiny print on the menu that's hung in the window, it says:

SINCE 1972


Ah, if those walls could talk...
I can just picture teenagers in "Brady Bunch" bellbottoms walking in there after seeing The Poseidon Adventure at the local single-screen movieplex.....

 
At 10:44 PM, Blogger Sawyer said...

i have never heard of this place, but another place now to try on my list. btw i looked up strickland's menu and will be checking it out this week. dole whip ftw!

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Banana ice cream sounds great to me. I like anything banana. But green tea with peppermint flavor? Never had heard that before, and that doesn't sound like a very good combo.

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

wonginator,

You'd think it's be a no-brainer. I mean, banana split? Why not more banana ice cream? I wish that Hans had a website to give us what flavors are available on a particular day. I'd set a calendar alarm for the banana days!

It's been a while since I've tried Fossellman's too!

JB,

72? Have they been in that location since then? Had no idea! That makes it only one year younger than the City of Irvine. (Trivia you probably didn't need to know, but there you go).

Sawyer,

Strickland's is, hands down, my favorite ice cream parlor. They keep it simple. Four flavors at the most at all times, all freshly made. Keeps the customers guessing too.

EatTravelEat,

I can't be sure of it, but I think they were going for another type of green tea, not matcha...but then what green tea has mint in it? Hmm...well, mint is green?!

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger ChristianZ said...

I wish a lot of places would post their daily specials on their websites. That'd be a huge help to me.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous miam miam said...

I really enjoy getting ice cream from here; although, my waist can only handle so much.

I'd like to point out that Strickland's will be serving up banana ice cream on July 17th and banana chunk on July 18th according to their calendar: http://www.stricklands.info/plugins/calendar/calendars.cfm?calid=2#.

Happy eating!

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Christian,

Ditto. To the few that do, I am grateful.

Miam Miam,

Sweet! My calendar's marked! What a way to celebrate the end of the week.

 
At 10:15 PM, OpenID itscliff said...

Wow the green tea sounds really strange, possibly they made the ice cream with mint?

Oh yeah btw I really like your food blog so I linked your blog on mine.. I hope you can do the same!

Gotta try this Han's place now... there's also something similar to this in Fountain Valley

 

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