The Dish List: Snowflakez

When I first saw that the abandoned space next to Blaze Pizza in the University Town Center across from UCI was finally going to be filled a few months ago, my mind started buzzing as I began to consider all of the possibilities. A Chipotle to satisfy all of my midnight Mexican food cravings? An 85C Bakery Cafe that doesn’t require a car to get your hands on fresh baked goods?

Disappointingly for me, it ended up being none of those things (but breaking news: as of last week, it’s confirmed that Chipotle will be coming to UTC). It turns out what UTC thought we all needed was yet another frozen dessert shop; the vacancy was leased for Snoflakez, labeled as a “Hawaiian snow ice shop.” As if Yogurtland and Golden Spoon weren’t enough.

When Snoflakez opened for business last week, I thought I might as well try it now and get it over with, but I couldn’t be more wrong about my assumption that it’d be just another self-serve yogurt parlor.

Yes, the interior is somewhat similar to Yogurtland and Golden Spoon in that it’s simple. Half of the room is painted a light blue while the other half is walled in white bricks, which gives the impression that you’ve just stepped out of the SoCal heat and into an Alaskan igloo (even though the cuisine is labeled as Hawaiian.) Tables and cushy ottomans line the walls in a lounge style.

The prices are pretty similar to your average yogurt or Italian ice and custard shop, too. The “little” is $3.50 and the “big” is $5, and you can get up to four toppings for a dollar more. The set prices are what separates Snoflakez from Yogurtland because while Yogurtland charges you based on the weight of your frozen dessert because you’re allowed to pick the amount of toppings yourself, your snow ice is handled by an employee.

That’s the only downside to the shop: you have to be content with what you’re given and you can’t choose to drown your dessert in five scoops of cookie dough balls if you wanted to. Employees promise a 10 percent discount off your purchase if you like the official Snoflakez pages on Facebook, Yelp or Instagram, which is a bonus. Even the 30 assorted toppings resemble your options at Yogurtland. From fresh fruit like pineapple and blackberries to candy like gummy worms and mochi, there is a variety, though it’s nothing really new.

But where Snoflakez manages to succeed in a league of its own is in its snow ice, which is something more unique in the realm of frozen desserts and refreshing.

Snoflakez offers eight different snow flavors: original, mango, strawberry, coffee, hibiscus, chocolate, taro and honeydew. You get to pick one and watch as the snow comes out in thin, broken layers out of a giant igloo before you ask for toppings. Ending a particularly draining weekend with little to no sleep, I decided to try a sample of the coffee. Imagine if you’re drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks in the form of smooth folds that look like little Post-Its, and you’ve got Snoflakez’s coffee snow ice. The flavor, however, was a bit watered down, as if the iced coffee you ordered at Starbucks was filled to the brim with ice cubes and left to sit out in the sun for an hour or so.

In the end I decided on the mango flavor in a suggested combination called “mango madness”: mango ice, mango mochi, mango poppers, mango fruit and strawberry fruit. All of the rather bulky toppings mixed well with the thin texture of the snow that melts on your tongue. Though the mango flavor was just as watered down as the coffee, I find that dousing the snow in a few layers of condensed milk adds the sweetness that the snow lacks.

Although lacking a bit in flavor, I enjoyed the taste of snow ice much more than yogurt and I’ve found my new dessert obsession. I was worried at first that Snoflakez would be too similar to UTC’s other shops and would be overlooked, but if you’re the type of person who’s looking for something new and refreshing, Snoflakez definitely stands on its own.