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;
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
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
4523 Campus Dr
Irvine, CA 92612
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