Sunday, August 30, 2009

Strickland's Ice Cream - Irvine

If you are familiar with this blog, you'd know that there are a few places that I've written about more than once.

Other than the fact that I like them a whole lot, there are even more specific reasons why I feel the need to dedicate more than one post on them:

a) Different specials and offers;

b) Triumphant re-openings;

and...

c) Because I can.

Most of these repeat posts, of course, are restaurants that I consider part of my rotation -- places that I can call myself a regular. Some are programmed on speed dial to secure last minute reservations. Others are the default answer when someone asks, "Where do you want to eat?"

And when I'm in the vicinity of one, even if I'm just passing by its exit on the freeway, I am inexplicably drawn to it like a compass arrow to the magnetic North pole.

These restaurants, in no particular order, are:

1. Cafe Hiro
2. Sushi Shibucho
3. Magic Wok
4. Alertos
5. Cream Pan

Yet, if I were measuring on the frequency of visits and not frequency of posts, there is one that tops the rest: Strickland's Ice Cream in Irvine.

I have been to Strickland's Ice Cream more times this summer than I've been to all of the five I've listed above in the entire year. Strange then that I've only talked about Strickland's exactly once before, three years ago, when I wrote:

Hailing originally from Ohio, this solitary California outpost of the franchise sells soft serve, freshly made out of gleaming churning machines that look like they belong in the engine room of a steamer ship. The ice cream produced by these metal contraptions is silken, devoid of ice crystals, and thoroughly smooth. Before Haagen Dazs hardens, it would taste like this.

Now that I realize I haven't lavished attention on my favorite ice cream shop like I have the others on my list, please allow me to share some of the finer points that I've discovered on the wonders that is Strickland's.

- They make green tea ice cream of incomparable quality and flavor, besting even Japanese brands I formerly regarded as the benchmark. My advice: If they have green tea as one of the flavors of the day, get it. Else, look for it in the pre-packed cartons. Otherwise, schedule your visits around their appearance (see below).

- Their electronic mailing lists (which I subscribe to) are the kind of SPAM I actually welcome. There are occasional coupons. But I just subscribe to be updated on what tempting flavor they're producing today and the rest of the week. Yesterday, for example, they had grape ice cream, which was too wild to ignore (it turned out to be milder than I would've expected, which is why I opted for the Oreo Cookie).

- Their Mocha Chunk is as intense as an espresso shot. It will give you a caffeine buzz that lasts for hours.

- Eating your ice cream in the air conditioned shop and in full view of the machines feels like you're eating candy straight off the assembly line at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Now, I often look upon shops that scoop up their ice cream from pre-packed, frozen tubs with just a touch of disdain.

- The ice cream tastes even better when you share it with someone.

And, last but not least:

- Secure a stamp card on your first visit, and carry it with you at all times. If you go as much as I do, you might as well get rewarded for it with free ice cream after your ninth.

Stricklands Ice Cream
(949) 387-9955
4523 Campus Dr
Irvine, CA 92612

THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
England Fish & Chips - Long Beach

21 Comments:

At 3:05 AM, Blogger V said...

love Stricklands!

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Glad to see u Californians love this as much as we do in Ohio. I went to the original one in Akron quite a few times as a kid and am ecstatic to see I can have frozen custard here, too.

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

I have never tried this place before although I have visited UCI at least 25 times now. Your elaborate descriptions are making me salivate! Plus that extra large photo of the ice cream when you click on it :).

 
At 2:33 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

V,

Me too!

Jenny,

Surprisingly, this is the only Strickland's in California. And for the one we have, I am thankful.

EatTravelEat,

The ice cream is even better in person!

 
At 3:05 AM, Blogger dumplings said...

Elmo,

You sure do bring back memories of our favorite hangouts during our poor college years...

I am going to visit this week.

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger joanh said...

that looks so good. haven't eaten there before...

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

dumplings,

Poor college years?! I'm still there, except without the college part. HAHA! Check out their flavors this week HERE.

joan,

If I can recommend one place for a frozen dessert in Irvine, it would be this place. Not Yogurtland. Not Pinkberry. This place!

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Julian Hsu said...

You might want to check on Cream Pan. Wife says the cafe was closed and going to reopen as something else under new ownership. :-(

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger FAT PANDA said...

I've been here many times (UCI graduate '09). Definitely some good ice cream - but with their location, they're battling against Yogurtland, Cha for Tea, and those other sweet-treat places that are less than a five minute walk away.

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger NP said...

Love stricklands - it's the complete opposite to Pinkberry's nast yogurt product... Sorry I want a proper sweet ice product with a vanilla base - NOT plain yogurt - that's for a Gyro not dessert.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

That mocha chunk sounds like just my cup of coffee. LOL I am a coffee and caffeine junkie.

I'll have to try and find out where in Ohio they are located. I am in Michigan, but if the trip isn't too bad, maybe my family could make a day of it.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Julian,

Whoa! I need to investigate! It wasn't but two weeks ago that I was there last. Of course, I was on the Cream Pan side. Sounds like they were a little preemptive in expanding. Thanks for the tip off!

FAT PANDA,

It's true. It is farther from UCI. But funny you should mention that, because here's what we've been doing. Already in our jogging shoes, we park in front of Strickland's, walk to UCI, through Middle Earth, out to the walking bridge, then back to Strickland's, where we would eat ice cream as a reward for the walk. For sure, it doesn't offset the caloric intake, but we'd like to kid ourselves that it does!

NP,

Sorry I want a proper sweet ice product with a vanilla base - NOT plain yogurt - that's for a Gyro not dessert

No truer words have been said!

Juliet,

Crossing state lines!? Well, it's good, but I don't know if that's good! HAHA! But then, here in Cali, when we cross state lines, we've already travelled 4 hours, and by that time, we're in Vegas baby!

 
At 8:23 PM, Blogger jase said...

I so wanted to like this place but for some reason it just didn't blow me away like I hoped. I love super premium ice cream and detest frozen yogurt.

But for some reason this place just did do it for me. Bummer.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger John said...

The coconut and mango ice creams at Strickland's are also excellent.

 
At 5:15 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

Well, we have friends in Ohio anyway, so I was thinking if it's near them, it could be something to do.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

jase,

Well, thanks for your honesty. I guess we can't all like the same things!

John,

Oooh mango! I hadn't tried that one yet. Coconut and mango combined...that's like a mini-Hawaii vacation in your mouth.

Juliet,

Ah! Well, in that case! Nothing better than good friends, except good friends and ice cream! It looks like they have locations everywhere in Ohio!

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger debbi said...

I grew up in Akron, OH, a few miles from the original Stricklands. The first time my husband visited my hometown and tried Stricklands, he said "We need one of these in California"! After 20 years, we got our wish, and can now enjoy Stricklands year round (the original stand was only open April - October). Our favorites are Chocolate Almond (hubby) and Orange-Pineapple and Black Raspberry (me).

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger jase said...

Hey Elmo, I liked it, just wasn't blown away. Maybe too high of expectations. Probably better since I don't live in OC anymore. It would suck if I felt compelled to drive down regularly.

Everyone liking the same thing would be boring no? Your blog and reviews are awesome and I've discovered lots of great places thanks to you. Didn't mean to be disrespectful.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

debbi,

I had no idea the original stand was only seasonally open! We have it good then, eh?! I was there again last night. And you know why! Yep Green Tea!!!

jase,

Oh! Don't be silly. I didn't think you were disrespectful. I really meant it when I said I appreciate your honesty. Tone is a hard thing to convey in text.

I welcome input from everyone. After all, I am just one dude with an opinion. Nothing more! ;-)

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Ape said...

I've forever lurked on and loved your blog and decided to emerge from anonymity.

I tried Strickland's for the first time maybe the day before you posted this and went with a banana split. And how can you go wrong with that? I hope they have pineapple. I go into seizures if I don't have some kind of pineapple-flavored dairy treat at least once a month.

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger Jenny Cleary said...

I didn't know they had a rewards card *doh*

Thanks for sharing, I heart Stricklands!!!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home