Over winter break, I decided to take the bus from DC to New York City to visit some friends from school. We spent one of my days there wandering around Soho, and then decided to make our way to Soft Swerve, an ice cream place on Allen Street that has recently become all the rage because of its ube-flavored soft swerve.

That's right. Ube-flavored—as in ice cream flavored with the bright purple yam common in the Philippines and other Asian countries. This particular vegetable rose to fame as a result of the Golden Cristal Ube Donut at the Manila Social Club, and is now making an appearance in desserts ranging from cheesecakes to cookies to pies—and now ice cream, too. 

chocolate, butter
Maggie Pizzo

My friend Steph had spotted the shop online, and unsurprisingly, found herself drawn to the brightly colored desserts. And because she and I like to embark on food adventures together, we dragged our friends Lucas and Spencer along with us to see what Soft Swerve was all about.

The Journey

chocolate, cream, cake
Alia Nahra

We walked over to Allen Street and immediately could tell which store we were looking for—the one with a line of people stretching down the block. As much as I love experimenting with food, I'm not one to wait forever just for an insta-worthy snack. But we didn't have anywhere to be, and I had good company. So, we found ourselves a spot in the back of the line.

It ended up being an hour-long wait. I'm talking a stomach-grumbling, back-aching, line-crawling wait. By the time we set foot in the store, I had decided that this better be the best damn soft serve in all of New York. 

#SpoonTip: If you're going to go through with trying a fad like this, definitely bring friends. I hate waiting in line, but with buddies, it was so much more bearable.

The Menu

cupcake, cake
Alia Nahra

Although we had come to the store for the ube, we looked up the rest of the menu online while waiting. It turns out that Soft Swerve serves up three other flavors: matcha, black sesame and vanilla. Ube and vanilla can be swirled, as well as matcha and black sesame. Needless to say, the cones we watched coming out of the store all contained a beautiful swirl of wonderfully colored ice cream.

And even the cones themselves were exciting. You can choose between black chocolate and red cinnamon, although the chocolate definitely seemed to be more popular. And then there were the toppings, which ranged from flaked coconut to Fruity Pebbles to mochi and everything in between. Online were also some flavor combo suggestions like the Division Street Swerve Special (black sesame ice cream with Reese's puffs, mochi and a chocolate drizzle).

The Review

Once we finally made our way into the store, we had all decided to stay pretty basic—if we were here to try the ube, we weren't going to overload it with a ton of other flavors. I went with the ube and vanilla swirl, just in case the flavor of the ube was too strong. I also decided to add some coconut flakes just for texture (and because I love coconut). 

I have to say, I kind of regret mixing in the vanilla. The ube itself was amazing. I hadn't been sure what to expect, mostly because I have very little (read: zero) experience with purple yams, and much less, purple yams that have been turned into ice cream. But it tasted sweet, smooth and creamy, and didn't have that artificial twang that sometimes accompanies soft serve.

Bottom line: If you have the time, I would definitely recommend braving the line and trying Soft Swerve. The colors are enough, in and of themselves, to justify a visit, and the flavors make the long wait 100% worth it.