Ten Great Places for Ice Cream in Orange County

2. Hans Homemade Ice Cream
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Edwin Goei

Hans looks just as it always was: an ice cream parlor caught in a time warp. The place oozes old-time parlor nostalgia, which like Watson's, is also seemingly 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. The ice cream is a fluffy, whipped-up-with-air, frozen amalgam of sugar, milk, and cream. If available, try the banana, which is packed with so much banana flavor it can be classified as a monkey narcotic. 3640 S Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 979-8815.

1. Strickland's
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Edwin Goei

The most endearing thing about this sole California franchise of the Ohio-based chain isn't the gleaming machines that produce the smoothest ice cream you'll ever spoon up; rather, it's the ever-rotating flavors. A visit made when a new flavor is introduced feels like an event, and the best are those that rarely see supermarket shelves. The mango, grape and lychee varieties are wonderful; the taro comforts like a cross between candied yams and Ovaltine; and if given a chance, the green tea could displace the established Japanese store brands as the new benchmark for the flavor. Forget about taking any home in the prepacked cartons: The dense, high-butterfat characteristics of the confection harden them into blocks. This is ice cream you want to enjoy fresh from the churn, scooped into a cup or a cone in sharp, pointy peaks. 4523 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 387-9955; mystricklands.com.

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