Saturday, January 31, 2009

Opening Day Coverage of ZuckerSuss

Fro-yo girl here. As I arrived a few minutes after noon, I missed the ribbon cutting ceremony for Zuckersuss (translation: Sugar Sweet in German). There was quite a turnout. Matt, one of the owners, was in a tuxedo handing out coupons for a cup of free fro-yo and surrounded by well wishers. We waited in a single file line for a turn with the fro-yo machines. While there were two machines, they both dispensed the same flavor: original tart.

The shop has a comfy, lounge like feel with white sofas, white tables, Pepto Bismol pink colored walls and a white piano. They hope to add an acoustic guitar soon. Hmm, that’s different.

I liked the taste of their creamy, tangy fro-yo with live and active cultures, the compostable cups and spoons and the fact that they’ve brought fro-yo to a fro-yoless city. I hope they make it but I think they should consider a few changes.

* Pricing: 59 cents an ounce is MUCH higher than any other self-serve fro-yo shop and doesn’t seem to fit the locale (Hayward). Perhaps they could offer a student discount, bonus card, and a discount with a movie ticket stub. Either that or start providing gourmet toppings like homemade mochi, housemade granola, almondina, cocoa nibs, etc. I noticed the farmer’s market is just a block away. Maybe they could buy their fruit there. At 59 cents an ounce, I’m expecting to see something different.

Update: I'm told it's actually 49 cents an ounce which seems reasonable given the yogurt quality. And they do offer a discount with a movie ticket stub from the Century theater in the same complex.

* Lack of variety: What’s with only offering one flavor of fro-yo? Since there are two machines, offer two flavors. The main draw of self-serve fro-yo is variety.

Update: They are looking for new flavors that are all natural and meet their quality standards.

* Add more signs: Maybe the signs are still on the way but you should have the price per ounce posted, the fro-yo flavor posted and instructions (pick a cup, add fro-yo, add toppings, weigh and pay). Also put some large, attractive pictures of fro-yo in the window. It's not obvious when you drive by that Zuckersuss is a fro-yo shop.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* ZUCKERSUSS: 1081 B St., Hayward, CA

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fro-Yo Lessons Learned

Fro-yo girl here. Those of you who know me know that I consume a great deal of fro-yo and have visited many fro-yo shops. I’ve learned some lessons along the way that should increase your chances of having a good fro-yo experience.

Lesson 1: Don’t order fruit as a topping unless you can see the fruit first. Inspect fruit toppings for freshness.

I’ve seen rotten fruit out there and you don’t want to let that ruin your cup of fro-yo. You can usually tell if chopped fruit has been sitting around for hours or days. You should be able to tell whether the fruit is fresh, thawed, or canned.

Lesson 2: Ask for samples before ordering

Most places have sample cups. You don’t want to order a cup of something you don’t like if you can sample it first. If you can’t sample it, vanilla and chocolate are usually safe flavors (safer than original/plain tart).

Lesson 3: Look at the cup size before ordering

A small cup usually is 5 to 6 ounces but I’ve seen a great deal of variance in cup sizes, e.g., from 4 to 8 ounces for small cups.

Lesson 4: Match the number of toppings to the cup size

If you’re dealing with a tiny cup, choose 1 or no toppings. The larger the cup, the more toppings it can hold (obviously).

Lesson 5: Match the toppings to the fro-yo flavor

Which toppings complement which fro-yo flavors depends on the individual palate but I personally think that berries and acidic fruits are better suited to tart fro-yo than candy and cookies. I also never mix sweet toppings with tart toppings.

Lesson 6: Ask for a bonus card

Most places have frequent buyer cards but sometimes you have to ask for the card.

Lesson 7: Provide feedback

Even the larger fro-yo chains have local managers who care about local preferences. If you want to see new toppings or have other suggestions, speak up. Many fro-yo shop owners read their Yelp reviews. Some have a presence on MySpace and Facebook.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ZuckerSuss Yogurt Bar to Open on Saturday, Jan. 31

Fro-yo girl here. Hayward will no longer be a fro-yo dead zone as of this week! Zuckersuss, the new yogurt bar, is set to open at Cinema Place [B Street and Foothill] on Saturday, Jan. 31st, according to the Contra Costa Times.

While the ZuckerSuss website has no information (, the interview with the owners and some posted pictures indicate:

* Self-serve format
* Plans to serve tart fro-yo with live, active cultures
* Green conscious, will offer compostable cups and spoons
* Plans to host karaoke and music concerts
* Color scheme: pink, white
* Owners are UC Berkeley grads

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

P.S. It's been officially confirmed - ZuckerSuss opens on Saturday! The ribbon cutting ceremony is at noon.

Happy Chinese New Year! It's Official! Tuttimelon is Open 365 Days a Year

Fro-yo girl here. I thought there was a possibility that the Tuttimelon Irving location wouldn’t be open today since it was the one day a year that many Chinese shops and restaurants shut their doors in order to celebrate the new year with family. Most of the Chinese shops and restaurants on Irving St. were closed for the day.

But Tuttimelon was still open! It never closes. It’s open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you go on Chinese New Year, you’ll be able to find parking easily.

Thank you Tuttimelon for your commitment to keeping us supplied with your tuttilicious fro-yo 365 days a year, rain or shine.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* TUTTIMELON: 2150 Irving St., San Francisco, CA

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Golden Cherry Fro-Yo Flavor Arrives at Cefiore

Fro-yo girl here. Many thanks to my anonymous reader, for the tip about the new Golden Cherry flavor at Cefiore. It’s currently available at the Montgomery St. location and the SF Westfield Mall location.

Golden cherry. There’s something exotic and appealing about the name of the flavor. What is a golden cherry? It doesn’t exist but the Golden Cherry flavor at Cefiore blends acerola cherry with blood orange. The fro-yo looks like a pale golden peachy pink.

The acerola cherry, also known as the West Indian cherry or Barbados cherry is found in Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The bright red fruit is particularly high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. The flavor is sour and citrus like. I haven’t had acerola cherry before, and it was mixed with something I could recognize (blood orange) so perhaps that’s why I didn’t taste cherry in the Golden Cherry fro-yo.

Cherry or no cherry, I liked the golden cherry fro-yo by Sambazon. The flavor of the blood orange makes it the tartest of the Cefiore flavors though it still isn’t above average in tartness. The flavor is definitely there but it’s not overpowering, allowing you to enjoy the complementary milky flavor of the original fro-yo base. The texture is soft, creamy and icy at the same time.

Cefiore claims that Golden Cherry fro-yo will help boost your immune system. And it has live, active cultures.

Tip: The Montgomery location is much better than the mall location. Yes, the fro-yo is better there. They’re better about handling their mixes and calibrating the fro-yo machines. They even have softer mochi balls.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* CEFIORE: 59 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105
* CEFIORE: 845 Market St., #277, San Francisco, CA 94104

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Mango Valley Fair Grand Opening: Free Fro-Yo on Saturday, 1/24

Fro-yo girl here. Just a friendly reminder to fro-yoholics to mark your calendar: free fro-yo from 10 AM – 9 PM at Red Mango Valley Fair on Saturday, 1/24!

As an extra incentive to have fro-yo for breakfast, the first 50 people in line receive a free RM gift bag. They also have raffle prizes including an iPod Touch, gift cards and more. To enter the raffle, you can either: (1) bring a toy for Toys for Tots, (2) bring a can of food for Second Harvest and/or (3) register to become a potential bone marrow donor through the Asian American Donor Program. Yul’s a spokesperson for the AADP and would surely appreciate your support. Give back while you enjoy your free fro-yo.

Let me know if you see Fro-Yo Boy there!

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* RED MANGO: 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA

Inside the Pinkberry Santana Row VIP Event

Fro-yo girl here. Many thanks to Pinkberry for tonight’s VIP event! It’s the nicest fro-yo launch party I’ve seen. For those of you who weren’t there on the pink carpet, guests at the invitation only event were treated to unlimited fro-yo and toppings, a complimentary signature Pinkberry tote bag with a Pinkberry Santana Row t-shirt inside, wine, and music.

The event occurred in a tent set up right next to the actual Pinkberry store. The tent was larger than the store so it could accommodate more fro-yo VIPs. I’m not sure who was on the guest list but I suspect that most were food bloggers and members of the media. Most attendees were dressed casually but there were a couple of guys in suits. Photographers were on hand to take pictures of people and their fro-yo (how glamorous).

Pinkberry employees flitted in between the store and the tent carrying fro-yo on trays in all three fro-yo flavors: Pomegranate, Original and Green Tea. It was my first time trying their pomegranate fro-yo and it was my favorite flavor – the tangiest one.

The music was loud so it wasn’t too easy to carry on a conversation but the free fro-yo kept me occupied. The toppings bar in the center of the tent included bowls of Cap’n Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, chocolate chips, yogurt chips, granola, etc. on a sea of pink satin. They didn’t have any mochi balls. I can’t really complain because the free fro-yo kept coming during the two hour event – and the gift bag was an unexpected surprise.

Apparently there were some celebrities at the event: The Used, Buckcherry, Joe Manganiello, NOFX, Rancid and After Midnight Project. Unfortunately, I don't know how any of them look like! I looked them up. I definitely saw Joe Manganiello of One Tree Hill. He was behind the counter at the Pinkberry shop and he asked for mochi balls and pomegranate seeds for his fro-yo. And chocolate chips I think? I remember staring because mochi balls and pomegranate seeds are my favorite toppings.

The CEO of Pinkberry was also at the event. He’s not Korean! We saw him behind the counter of the Pinkberry shop. I had to confirm that they had mochi balls at the shop (they do - whew). Congrats to Pinkberry and best wishes for many years of swirly goodness.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blood Oranges at Culture Organic Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. I just had diced organic blood oranges with my tart tangerine fro-yo at Culture and I had to blog about it. I love blood oranges and these were so fresh and juicy. They’re tarter than the Valencia oranges that Culture also offers as a topping.

In the past they’ve offered farmer’s market fresh pluots and plums as toppings too. I love how they have seasonal flavors and toppings. Plus everything is organic. I love using my eco-friendly Smurf blue fro-yo cup and spoon set (and getting a discount for doing so).

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* CULTURE ORGANIC FROZEN YOGURT: 340 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pinkberry Santana Row Opens on Saturday, 1/17

Just a quick update on Pinkberry news and events.

* Soft opening of the store is this Saturday (1/17)
* Private grand opening VIP events on Thursday (1/22)

Red Mango Valley Fair Pre-Launch Event

Fro-yo girl here. Thanks to Randy F. and our ever gracious hosts, Mark Young and Yul Kwon for tonight’s pre-launch event. The new Valley Fair location is gorgeous and I particularly love the Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio in Red Mango’s signature colors (red and white). It’s the nicest chair I’ve seen in a fro-yo shop.

During the event, attendees were treated to free fro-yo (and not just one cup in some cases...) They had all three flavors available: pomegranate (my favorite, the tangiest one), original and green tea. They had pomegranate seeds, mochi and the usual RM toppings.

Tomorrow (Friday, 1/16) will be their first day of business. They’re planning on having a Grand Opening event on Saturday, 1/24 with free fro-yo. More free fro-yo (yay)!

Today’s free fro-yo didn’t seem as smooth as I’m used to (from RM) but I was told that the fro-yo machines take 2 weeks to break in and they need to be calibrated for volume of fro-yo too.

What’s next for Red Mango? They’re still very interested in finding an SF location. Rumor has it that it’s likely to be at the nicest mall in town. Shhhh….you didn’t hear it from me.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* RED MANGO: Westfield Valley Fair, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95101

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

President Bush Eating Yogen Fruz

I found this picture on the Yogen Fruz blog. It's hilarious! He's eating a strawberry banana Blend It.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SoCal Fro-Yo Report: Flavored Mochi Balls at Twist

Fro-yo girl here. I’ve found another place in SoCal that’s worthy of extra attention from fro-yoholics, or should I say mochiholics. It’s called Twist and at 28 cents an ounce, they claim to be the cheapest self-serve fro-yo shop in the US. The sheer variety of fro-yo and toppings is astounding: 14 flavors of fro-yo (sweet, tart), over 50 toppings including fresh fruit (and my favorite, pomegranate seeds).

The fro-yo is good but the real attraction at Twist is their flavored mochi balls, made exclusively for Twist.

During my visit they had the following mochi balls:
* Plain
* Pineapple
* Blueberry
* Strawberry
* Chocolate
* Coconut

I tried plain, pineapple, blueberry and strawberry. The mochi balls were soft, chewy and tiny (I prefer larger mochi balls). They should tone down the food coloring though. While I prefer the mochi topping at sno:la, Twist is much cheaper and more convenient (in terms of parking). If there are other places in SoCal where you can find homemade mochi balls, drop me a line – I need to know.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* TWIST FROZEN YOGURT: 12105 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Monday, January 12, 2009

SoCal Fro-Yo Favorite: sno:la

Fro-yo girl here. I apologize for my absence. I've been busy eating fro-yo (of course) in SoCal. Though I haven't been able to visit every SoCal fro-yo shop, I've fallen in love with one above all others in the area, sno:la.

Why sno:la? Their organic Italian tart stands apart from other tart fro-yos. It's quite sour and tastes closer to plain yogurt. The flavor is pure and fresh. And it's better for you too. It is made without any refined white sugar.

They also have unique fro-yo flavors like fig & date, pumpkin pie, sour cherry, and gojiberry. I get the sense that the flavors come from the fruit, not powders or syrups.

Toppings are also better than what you'll usually find, including their own sauces (e.g., sour cherry), aloe vera, nata de coco and best of all, homemade mochi (plain, green tea, strawberry). Their mochi topping is the freshest I've had and it also seems to be all natural. Get this - they don't cut the mochi till you order it!

sno:la is a green business. Look around the shop and you'll see recycled materials. Cups and utensils are biodegradable. They also donate to Slow Food USA and United Nations World Food Programme.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* sno:la - 244 North Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pink Carpet News: Pinkberry Grand Opening Event on 1/22

Fro-yo girl here with fresh news for Bay Area fro-yoholics. Pinkberry is rolling out the pink carpet for the grand opening of their first Northern California store on Thursday, Jan. 22nd. The invitation only event will feature complimentary fro-yo and a DJ. The event will be hosted by the CEO of Pinkberry, Ron Graves.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* PINKBERRY: Santana Row, 355 Olin Ave., San Jose, CA

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yogurt Drinks: Yogu Time Review

Fro-yo girl here. I’ve seen bottled yogurt drinks at Asian supermarkets for years and I finally purchased one to try from Sunset Super. It’s called Yogu Time and I opted for the Original flavor.

The beverage is non-carbonated and looks like milky colored water. It tastes like the Yoggi drink you can get a Tuttimelon but sweeter. It was okay – light, somewhat refreshing, a little tangy. I’m going to pass on it because it doesn’t have enough natural yogurt flavor (it tastes a bit like candy) and I don’t need the extra high fructose corn syrup. Nothing about live active cultures is mentioned on the packaging.

* Details: 10 ounces, glass bottle, 99 cents
* Ingredients: Water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, nonfat yogurt, pectin, citric acid, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavor, sodium citrate
* Flavors: Original, White peach, Lychee, Strawberry, Orange, Melon
* Tagline: “Any Time is Yogu Time”

2.5 stars (out of 5)

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Yogurt Bar Mission Closed Till April

Fro-yo girl here. On my way back from Tuttimelon, I happened to walk down Mission St. and I peered into Yogurt Bar. There was a paper sign taped to the door announcing that they were closed for the season (until March 31). Let's see if they reopen. I won't be too sad if they don't.

You know you love me. XO XO, fro-yo girl.

* YOGURT BAR MISSION: 680 Mission St, San Francisco

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fro-Yo Girl's Wish List for 2009

Fro-yo girl here. A new year of fro-yo is upon us accompanied as usual with hopes and dreams for a better future. What does fro-yo girl wish for? Let’s see.
  • Soy fro-yo: It already exists but is hard to find. Soy milk is mainstream now and there are plenty of lactose intolerant individuals. I’m not lactose intolerant but I love soy milk.
  • Kefir fro-yo: The new Starfruit in Chicago offers kefir fro-yo. I’m definitely intrigued.
  • New fro-yo flavors: I hope more fro-yo shops follow the example set by Culture and Chill by coming up with new fro-yo flavors. I’m hoping for two flavors in particular: honey and Meyer lemon.
  • Mochi at Culture Organic Frozen Yogurt: Everyone knows that I love Culture and its homemade toppings but I still miss my mochi balls. I also wish I didn’t have to drive 40 miles for their fro-yo.
  • More homemade mochi all over: What can I say, mochi balls are my favorite fro-yo topping. Maybe some place will even offer moffles (mochi waffles)?
  • Tuttimelon’s growth continues: Tuttimelon already has the most locations in the Bay Area (5 in 2008) and there are 9 more on the way (for now). I’m all for the world domination of Tuttimelon!
  • Fro-yo at Target and Trader Joe’s: They carry yogurt parfaits and are responsive to trends. Adding fro-yo wouldn’t be so difficult.
  • Tart fro-yo in your local supermarket freezer section. There’s a real market opportunity here that I’m sure someone will see and pursue in 2009.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Best Cities for Fro-Yo in 2008

Fro-yo girl here. Happy New Year, fro-yoholics. For my first post of 2009, I'd like to recognize certain cities for leading the way in fro-yoland. In other words, these cities are the best in the Bay Area for fro-yo. To earn a place on the list, the city must have the following:

(1) Quantity of fro-yo shops
(2) Quality of fro-yo shops
(3) Innovativeness of fro-yo offerings

And the winners are:

1. Palo Alto - scores the highest on innovation thanks to Culture (homemade toppings, organic fro-yo of the highest quality) and Fraiche (great homemade mochi). Quality is also high with Red Mango in the mix, along with Culture and Fraiche. You can even find fro-yo on the Stanford campus at the Axe & Palm. Avoid Michael's Gelato and the future Orange Tree location.

2. San Francisco - Yogurt Bar was the first tart fro-yo shop in town but they have since been overtaken by many better tasting fro-yo shops. SF scores the highest on the quantity factor with fro-yo available all over town (with the highest concentration in the Financial District), including liquor stores (e.g., Michaeli's, New Russian Hill), pizza shops (Blondie's), malls (SoGreen, LoveBerry) and college campuses (Natural Sensations). Chains such as Yogen Fruz and Cefiore are represented along with homegrown high quality favorites, Tuttimelon, Jubili, Swirl Culture, Caffe Ambrosia, and Chill. Self-serve joints are represented as well (Yoppi, Icebee, Happy Yogurt). Chill ups SF's innovation score.

3. Cupertino - another high scoring city when it comes to quantity but not as high as SF in terms of innovativeness. Those who work and live in Cupertino have no shortage of fro-yo shops to choose from, including my one of my favorites, Red Mango, and a good self-serve spot, Tartini. For sweet fro-yo, check out I Love Yogurt for massive portions. Other fro-yo shops include the ever popular Yogurtland, Froyo? (you can eat fro-yo while watching a movie at Vallco), DIY Yogurt

4. Berkeley - started out strong with Ryno's, Yogurt Harmony, Papamingo and Michelle's Yogurt but new fro-yo shops have been slow to open. Of course Berkeley will forever be known as the home of Yogurt Park (known affectionately as YoPa). Though they specialize in soft serve ice cream, Sketch has fabulous tart fro-yo. The new year should see the arrival of Tuttimelon and other shops.

Support your fro-yo shop in 2009.

You know you love me. XO XO, fro-yo girl.