I was a horrible kid growing up. As the oldest child, I remember getting into a load of trouble by either cutting my hair, getting reprimanded for talking too much in class and one day instead of going straight to the babysitter’s house right after summer school, headed across the street for 15 cent ice cream at Thrifty’s. My parents were livid. My youngest brother had passed away earlier that year and put the kabosh on any adventurous spirit I had left in me.
Looking back at it, the best ice cream wasn’t at Thrifty’s. It was at Oasis Ice Cream Parlor which was housed in the same shopping center.
Not much has changed in the shopping center. Thrifty’s is now gone replaced by Rite-Aid, and the Safeway is now an Albertson’s. But 30 years later the ice cream at Oasis is still homemade and the flavors are still delicious and unique. Corn and rice ice cream? Sure, I’ll try it.
For people looking for something fancy, this is not the place. Ice cream is served in plain white styrofoam cups. Instead you get luscious ice cream at reasonable prices. On any given weekend, the place has a constant stream of business which is always a good thing for any small, family-owned shop.
A single scoop of ice cream is $1.35 up to $4.00 for four scoops. Did I say it was homemade? Other unique ice cream flavors are trail mix, walnut, and cucumber with chile. But the standouts are the paletas, the Spanish version of popcicles.
Oasis’ paletas are priced according to whether they are cream ($1.65) or fruit paletas ($1.55) and individually wrapped in a small plastic bag. Cream flavors include chocolate chip, rice, strawberry — reflecting a lot of the same flavors as their homemade ice cream. The natural bars are more unique: guava, tamarindo and cantaloupe. Everything is made “Michoacan-style” meaning that all the ingredients are fresh. So strawberry ice cream comes from actual strawberry fruit and no fake fruit flavoring.
An added benefit? These bars are dense. While other bar tend to have a lot of air mixed into them, these last a long time. Popsicle biters like me have nothing to worry about because these paletas survive past five bites.
Making the trip to Oasis is a bit of a trek — approximately 20 miles from downtown San Diego. But if you take in a movie afterwards at one of the county’s drive-in movie theaters, the trip can be well worth it. I hear that drive-in movie theaters are the next big thing…
Oasis Ice Cream Parlor
1832 Coronado Avenue
Imperial Beach, CA 92154