UCI’s Newest Hot Spot: Snow Monster

“Eat dessert. Be a monster,” so says Snow Monster, which has officially replaced the University Town Center Snowflakes as of their grand opening Friday, Dec. 12. For those who have never visited their other locations at Huntington Beach or Westminster, you may not be familiar with Snow Monster’s best-selling product: the mason jars.

 

Shown here is their freshly brewed thai tea inside one of their mason jars, which costs an extra $2 to keep.

“The smell of thai tea is strong,” said Andrew Lee, a second year at UCI, after he tried his first sip of the drink. “It’s pretty good.” Aside from the mason jars, Snow Monster is also known for their custom-made ice cream macarons and their fluffy shaved ice.

 

Photograph of an ice cream macaron, two orders of shaved ice, and a jar of thai tea, by amandapanda via Flickr.

Customers can pick their preferred flavor of ice cream as well as the macaron cookie to “sandwich” the ice cream. However, taking a bite out of these large proportioned ice cream cookies is not advised, as the best way to enjoy this dessert is by eating with a spoon. “I like their ice cream macarons,” said Mitchell Tran, a sophomore at UCI. “I got fruity pebbles with strawberry ice cream.”

As for the shaved ice, it is Taiwanese-style, where the ice is already flavored with a milky base and the texture resembles fresh snow. Depending on your luck, you may be able to choose the flavor you want but with the hype, their best flavors run out, like green tea.

 

Mango shaved ice with double mochi topping and condensed milk.

A nice touch to the shaved ice is their special temperature changing spoons, which look like normal plastic spoons, but turn blue when they touch something cold, and back to white when it is warm.

Flavors, such as milk, are not really sweet, but the option to add syrup and toppings allow for a sweetened taste. If the macaron ice cream sandwiches are too sweet for one’s liking, the better choice is the shaved ice.

The menu does not consist of a wide variety of flavors or items, but there are an array of toppings that can complement whatever dessert or drink you choose. For example, with the milk teas you can choose to add tapioca pearls or “boba,” the common term most citizens in Irvine use. Or if you are just not feeling up to drinking milk tea, they have other alternatives like strawberry lemonade.

 

Here, green tea shaved ice has been crossed off due to a shortage of ice blocks.

 

This menu reveals all their ice cream “flavors of the day.”

The ambience of the place is “very lively” and “relaxing,” where customers can “easily bond with friends through board or card games [such as jenga],” according to Selina Fong, a senior at UCI. The only downsides are the long lines and lack of sufficient tables to accommodate the number of customers who come in. Because the dessert house has such a “chill” and youthful environment, it can easily become overcrowded and congested with those who want to hang out and talk for a long period of time.

The “monstrous” sign is hard to miss and welcomes customers into the dessert house.

A popular grand opening is not always such a great thing, at least for the customers. Snow Monster not only ran out of their green tea shaved ice, but they came up short on their macaron cookies. As a substitute, they used snickerdoodle cookies, which did not produce the same results as their signature sandwiches. This upset a few customers because if they wanted a regular ice cream cookie sandwich, they could have gone to Stax Cookie Bar a few shops down. Hopefully this problem will not repeat in the future, but then again, grand openings are not perfect.

More bad luck ensued when a rainstorm hit Irvine and showered its residents for the majority of the day. But apparently rain is not enough to stop potential customers from craving chilly desserts.

Because they just had their grand opening weekend, Snow Monster’s business hours have not yet been established, but for the duration between their soft and grand opening, they opened at 6 p.m. and closed at midnight. Official hours have not been confirmed online or through their automated telephone line.

 

A large “Snow Monster” greets customers with a smile as they walk in.

What attracts customers to Snow Monster is not just their ice cream macaron sandwiches, shaved ice, or milk teas, but also their iconic logo that appears on all their cups and mason jars. It is their rendition of a “snow monster”—the friendliest monster you’ve ever seen.

“It’s pretty hyped up, but still pretty good,” Tran said.

Fong agreed that “It’s something you should definitely try as a one-time experience.”