What if Mister Softee could be more than good. What if it could be amazing? What if we all took a collective breath and realized that at the end of the day, ice cream trucks are basically severely underutilized mobile sundae stations? A Dr. Seussian explosion of genius is what. I'm talking sprinkle-packed cones, double-dipped swirls, milkshakes with real banana, and the biggest tower of soft serve your greedy eyes have ever beheld.
'soft serve' on Serious Eats
There's nothing like a fresh scoop of wobbly-melty Mister Softee soft serve dipped in chocolate—except making a better one yourself.
It's hard not to love Big Gay Ice Cream, the only ice cream business I know of with a unicorn as its mascot and a novelty cone called a Salty Pimp. But their new soft serve from Ronnybrook dairy is a new level of delicious.
While it's still warm out, order a cup of house made soft-serve at this Soho chocolate shop. Flavors change from time to time; my most recent visit brought a velvety milk chocolate swirled with wattleseed vanilla.
Only open during the warm months, Tastee Freez calls out to me from time to time, even if I've never been particularly impressed with anything I've tried. In fact, I'd never even sampled the savory items, a fact I decided to correct on a recent visit.
Once left exclusively to the DQ's of the world, the soft-serve machine is now showing up in some very unexpected places. But this isn't your plain old vanilla cone. No, each place has adapted the dessert to its own vision, pairing it with ingredients traditional to cuisines of Thailand, Mexico, and Italy.
If given a choice between soft-serve and regular ice cream, I'd take soft-serve in a second. I'm crazy for its airy-light texture, how it's always perfectly lick-off-the-cone-able. And New York happens to be an excellent place for soft-serve, ranging from treats as simple as Mr. Softee to as complex as coconut soy milk soft-serve or goat's milk orange blossom. Come see 7 of our favorites in the city!
A relative newcomer to New York's best ice cream neighborhood, Victory Garden has received no shortage of favorable press for its crisp, light goat milk soft serve. I love it for that, but I'm more intrigued by the Turkish owner's creative flavor, which borrow ingredients from the Eastern Mediterranean you don't often see around here.
Every time I pass through a Chinese grocery I take a glance of longing at the sugar cane leaning against a bin of lychees or dragon fruit. They're so cheap! I tell myself. But what would you really do with them? the more rational me asks in return.
Skip the cone for serving and top it with some toasted coconut and cacao nibs.
The Mr. Softee truck is how I learned the phrase "bat out of hell." As in, "Max, don't run out there like a bat out of hell. It's just ice cream and I want to see you live to your 11th birthday." Sorry, Dad, but this isn't ice cream. This is Mr. Softee.
Let your ice cream thaw to the point of melting before serving; the gelatin will keep it from turning into soup.
The AC can only do so much. When you're feeling sticky, sweaty, and heat-defeated, what do you reach for? Ice cream would probably make you a happier person, and can always be justified in these scenarios. It's only right to eat more frozen treats this time of year! The gang here at SEHQ chimed in with their favorite cool-off sweets and drinks. Let's hear yours!
I know it's just barely spring, but I'm already thinking about ice cream, gelato, sundaes, and other frozen desserts. Admit it, you've already had your first iced coffee of the season or started daydreaming about your favorite scoop shops to hit this summer. Here are some of my all-time favorite frozen treats from across America, from vanilla soft serve with maple-pecan-bacon streusel in Chicago to sundaes in Ohio. Chime in with any others I missed.
There is one dessert offered at Takashi in the West Village, and it's excellent: house-made Madagascar vanilla soft-serve.
After I watched this video of Yaskawa-kun, a smiling ice cream (er, soft serve, but you know what I mean)-serving robot in Tokyo's Summerland theme park, I thought, "There must be other good videos of cute ice cream-serving robots on YouTube!" ...But no, not really. This appears to be the crème de la crème of cute ice cream robots. It even has its own Twitter page.
Have you eaten soft serve yet today? Well you should. It's only right. Because today is National Soft Serve Day! Which is, of course, the most official day to eat soft serve. Thank you to the press release that informed us! And to think, we almost treated this day like any other day.
Some of the best guilty pleasures can be found at your local county or state fair. In a spectacular show of gustatory bravery, a couple of pals and I tackle the most daunting treats at the Orange County Fair in California. As the chocolate columnist, I stick to chocolate as much as I could—that's just a life choice, really—but these treats span the spectrum of sweet.
We weren't especially hungry and definitely overdressed, but when you pass a sign for Weir's Ice Cream, you stop. Actually, sign does not begin to describe the nearly two-story high soft serve cone (with a vanilla-chocolate swirly top, naturally) next to the stand. It was visible from many a street light away, and potentially from space. Ed was driving our Hertz-rented car through the Hudson Valley last weekend when we saw it. I don't think a car has ever parked so fast.