Food We Love: Full Tilt

Full Tilt

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Full Tilt’s ube ice cream will have you in a purple haze

Purple Pros

The guys at Full Tilt Ice Cream like to have their fun. During my first visit to the Columbia City store (5041 Rainier Ave. S, #105; 206.226.2740; fulltilticecream.com), the man behind the counter offered a sample of a purple ice cream and said with a wink, “Tell me what you think this tastes like.” I tasted it, expecting something obvious like grape, but, hmmm, definitely not. “It sort of tastes like vanilla,” I said, knowing that wasn’t quite it, either. It turned out to be ube (pronounced oo-bay), a sweet purple yam that’s popular in much of Asia (ube is the Filipino word for it). Mixed into ice cream, it has the subtle, layered complexity of caramel, with echoes of vanilla. I was awed, and hooked. I’ve been loyal to the mysterious purple ice cream ever since, though other exotic flavors—among them Thai tea, coffee Oreo and Memphis King (peanut butter, banana, chocolate-covered bacon)—do entice. Full Tilt also has stores in White Center (the flagship, where the ice cream is made) and the U District, with more to come.

Originally published in June 2010