Here in San Diego, the warmest months aren’t June or July. The blistery weather begins when it starts to cool off around other parts of the country. August and September tend to be especially hot in Southern California, with some days cresting past 90 degrees. So while the rest of the nation is starting to enjoy the changing leaves, we’re sweating.
On these sweltering days, I like to resort to my favorite cool down treat: shave ice. For the unknowing or those who’ve never visited Hawaii and its neighboring islands, it’s not “shaved ice” but “shave ice.”
Since moving away from the Mission Hills/Hillcrest area, I’ve been looking for a replacement for my regular shave ice from Donut Star and discovered Da Shack.
Da Shack is a companion to Homestyle Hawaiian and found the same shopping center, right across the parking lot. Homestyle Hawaiian is currently closed for remodeling but thankfully Da Shack is open for business during these warm days.
They offer iced coffees, floats, lemonades, chamango and variety of other treats, but their specialty is shave ice.
For the shave ice there are two sizes: Da Keiki ($3.50) and their best deal — Da Big Braddah ($4.50).
Big Braddah includes ice cream (a choice of green tea or vanilla) buried under the mounds of ice, with your choice of three syrup flavors and optional additions of condensed milk drizzle, azuki beans, mochi and chopped fruit. You can choose all of the toppings or pick and chose as you please. The other shave ice sizes charge these each of the options as extras. My current favorite flavor combo is root beer and vanilla syrup with vanilla ice cream and everything on it for added texture. It resembles an icy root beer float— only with sweet beans, mochi and fruit on top.
The best deal is buying their prepaid card. The card was initially sold on Groupon and can now be bought directly from Da Shack. $11 for a card prepays for five Big Braddah shave ice with no expiration date, and you can use as many stamps as you want at one time. The Big Braddah can be customized by filling out the forms at the counter, or you can just request one of their their signature shave ice creations.
On especially hot days, waiting can be a challenge— all shave ice creations are made by hand— and on a recent visit only one person was manning the hut. And it’s not a treat easy to transport for on-the-go (it’s easily enough for two people). Grab a chair in the shaded area if you can and enjoy.
7504 Mesa College Drive
San Diego, CA 92111
858.395.9740 (hours fluctuate — I highly recommend calling before stopping by)
Ohh, what a nice little addition! Shave ice sounds perfect, especially when we’re about to hit some triple digit weather. Pretty sure I’d have to share one due to size and potential chest freeze.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten chest freeze. Head freeze, yes. But yes, you definitely have to share.
That looks delicious! I’ve never heard of this place before 🙂 If this heat wave continues, I’ll be heading there soon!
Looks like the heat wave will be sticking with us for a bit longer unfortunately.
Funny, my co-workers and I were just talking about shave ice and where to find it in San Diego. I know there’s a shop in Scripps Ranch, and we just saw a shave ice truck inthe Poway Days parade, but I didn’t know about Da Shack. I’m happy to see they offer the requisite ice cream and azuki beans!
Admittedly, I can’t wait until this heat wave is over. I like shave ice and all but a heat wave lasting this long is a bit too much.
good to know about this place! omg, i want one of those snow-ice machines!!!!!
I have an snow-ice machine but frankly I like going out get one. Plus I don’t have too many flavors.
Gosh, that sounds amazing!
It is. I hope you get to have one soon!
1 – I worked a shave ice machine one summer in the Ala Moana park – my hands froze!!!
2 – blue is the best flavor (yes, I’m a haole!!) :p
Thanks, Bridget. The blue color scares me but I will try it soon because of your recommendation.
This has been very frustrating. We keep going by when they are supposed to be open and they are not. This has happened THREE times. When we have gone, they have run out of supplies. I want to support a small business but they have been totally unreliable!
I’ve been experiencing the same thing. With the hot weather I was hoping to eat some shave ice but it seems like they’re always closed!