Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Worth the Hype

Last Sunday, Lindsay and I spent the day doing that crap you have to do sometimes. A doorknob needed fixing, the house cleaning, groceries making, and the yard tending. Most of that could be done inside and therefore avoiding the oppressive heat of summertime. But no one ever takes advice, especially their own, which is how I found myself digging a hole in the backyard to plant an olive tree at 1:15 in the afternoon. (GENCO Olive Oil Co, here we come.) Within no time the sun had reduced my flesh to a wobbly, sweaty mess and I was cursing and throwing things. My vision temporarily blurred as the nexus of the sun's energy had somehow focused itself on a 5' by 5' square in my backyard.

"Hey, it's really hot out here," Lindsay said.


"And we didn't eat any lunch. You know you get cranky if you haven't eaten."

"I do not get cranky. It's just this god damn shovel won't work."

"I got an idea. Let's go try Hansen's, then you can come back and mess with that hole some more."

That's what she said. Literally. You have seen pictures of Hansen's here and on other websites. Or maybe you have driven by or are a long time customer, so you know the building is a solid, Masonic temple of culinary mastery. We got to Hansen's by 1:30 and stood in line.

Luckily, in front of us was a know-it-all who wanted to impress his out of town guests by going over the rules of Hansen's. And rules about life. "You can't get more than one flavor on your first visit, Felix. Secondly, Ashley is working the ice machine, so don't make me look like an idiot. Thirdly, you see this scab? It's from John Howard, that punk in middle school. He is probably in prison now. He put a cigarette out on my thumb in seventh grade... My favorite flavor? Cream of chocolate. But I hear chocolate mint is new, so that is gonna be my new favorite."

Now you know the rules of Hansen's. Our orders were straightforward - satsuma hot rod and a cream of coconut hot rod. A hot rod denotes that the sno-ball has been stuffed with vanilla ice cream. Lindsay claimed her coconut confection supreme. While I found it very good, I preferred the tart/cream combo of mine.

But no matter, as it would seem impossible for a bad flavor to exist at Hansen's. The syrup is key. At other stands in town, the syrup makes your bones rattle and sugar levels spike. At Hansen's the syrup loads in flavor and punch without being syrupy. The shaved ice has a consistency that more resembles actual snow than snow itself. The prices are higher than your neighborhood stand and the wait longer, but there is absolutely no better sno-ball in the city than Hansen's. Shoot, there may be no better dining experience in the city than Hansen's on a hot day.

Hansen's - Eagle.


BrenyB said...

I live for Hansen's satsuma. I'll be in town in August for Rising Tide, and Hansen's is on the "To Do" list at least once.

NOJuju said...

I spent the first 7 or 8 years I lived in New Orleans living and working within 4 blocks of Hansen's and never set foot inside. I saw that line and thought, "come on... there are other sno-ball stands! It can't be worth it" Went for the first time a couple of years ago and am not furious with myself for wasting so many summers. It is SO worth the hype.

Try half limeade, half fruit punch. Or the cream of nectar sundae, hallelujah hallelujah!

Rene said...


My thought process went like this.

1) Its just an "Uptown" thing. And like Domilisie's is going to be a let down.

2) It can't be that much different from any other snowball so why wait in line.

3) (Laughing to myself) Dear God, how is this so freaking good? Its just ice, fruit, and sugar, but the whole is so much greater than the parts.

Anonymous said...

The ice is the key. And the cream of nectar (or "nector" as it is spelled on a few of the menus) is the knees.

NOJuju said...

Rene, exactly my thought process. Man, was I a fool. At least we know now.

Anonymous said...

My mouth is watering, torture having to read about your trip without being able to enjoy n of my faves along with you. Cream of ice cream with condensed milk. TO. DIE. FOR. My next trip isnt until Sept 9th for the big game but I feel like i can already taste it!

Anonymous said...

You are 100% right -- Hansen's is absolutely the best in the city. I don't know how it can actually be so much better, but it just is. (Oh, and next time you go: Cream of nectar.)

Superdeformed said...

Last time I went to Hansen's I experimented. The first layer was cream of Almond, then I had a spoonful of condensed milk, then the top cone part was chocolate mint with another spoonful of condensed milk on the top.

The condensed milk in the middle froze, but otherwise it was awesome.

The "cream of" flavors makes them god-tier alone. The ice consistency makes it even better.

Rene said...


That sounds like a hell of a way to build a sno ball or a civilization. I think I would start with strawberry, cream of chocolate in the middle, and then strawberry on top for a chocolate covered strawberry thing.

Lindsay came up with the idea that Hansen's should do (and perhaps they have) a cream of peanut butter. Then you could do a half and half chocolate/peanut butter (for a Reese's peanut butter cup thing, TFS favorite candy) or a grape and peanut butter snowball for a PBJ.