Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Red Mango Introduces Tangomonium, Free Fro-yo on Saturday, May 2

Fro-yo girl here. While I was sleeping last night, major news broke in the world of fro-yo: a new flavor from Red Mango!!! Dan Kim, founder, president and CEO of Red Mango spent over a year developing and perfecting the new Tangomonium, their fourth flavor (so you know it's going to be fabulous). His goal was to create a unique flavor available only at Red Mango.

What is Tangomonium? “Tangomonium offers a light and refreshing flavor with notes of fruit and citrus. "The name is fun and energetic, just like the way it tastes," said Kim. "Tangomonium is bright, sunny, uplifting, and tang-y. It makes you smile, and brings up blissful memories that take you to a happy place. It's also all natural and healthy, a reflection of our commitment to offering treats that are both delicious and nutritious."

The good news is that participating Red Mango stores will be giving away a FREE small cup of Tangomonium with one topping between 12pm and 4pm. Limit one free cup of fro-yo per customer (ahem, Matt G.).

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


Monday, April 27, 2009

Second SoGreen Location to Open in Mid May

Fro-yo girl here. Oakland’s been a bit of a fro-yo dead zone (there’s much more fro-yo action in Alameda). All that is about to change in a few weeks when SoGreen Yogurt opens their second location at the Oakland City Center: http://www.oaklandcitycenter.com/store_locator.cfm. They’re currently going through final code inspections with an anticipated opening date in mid-May (it says May 13th on their website but it might be the 12th instead).


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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fro-yo Trade Show Coverage (4/23 at Taylor Freezers)

Fro-yo girl here. I swung by the frozen yogurt trade show at the Taylor Freezers in South San Francisco. It was such a thrill to see the warehouse area with Taylor equipment and parts. Taylor has special events (check http://www.taylorfreezers.com) like gelato school (and maybe fro-yo school?)

The fro-yo show brought together the key suppliers of the fro-yo industry. And yes, there was free fro-yo (from YoCream, Rainbow’s End and Sambazon) and fro-yo toppings (TR Toppers, Nell Davis Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company).

A bit about the vendors:
* TAYLOR: If you’ve ever had soft serve anything, you’re sure to have seen their soft serve equipment. I’ve heard that they have a market share of 80 – 90%.
* YOCREAM (http://www.yocream.com/): Founded in 1976, YoCream is the leading supplier of the frozen yogurt mix. I met Barbara R., their key account manager. A true fro-yo industry legend and veteran, she once represented Honey Hill Farms. Her son, Jason R., represents another fro-yo brand, Rainbow’s End. I’m hoping to go to Portland, OR for a YoCream factory tour and to see their brand new retail store which opened last month.
* LOLLICUP (http://www.cupdepot.com/): I thought they might bring boba/pearl tea samples but they didn’t. I learned that Lollicup is the leading manufacturer of cold/hot paper food containers (under the Karat brand). They supply 90% of fro-yo businesses and offer custom logo cups. I saw cups with the logos of Tuttimelon, Chill, Whimsical, Yogurt Bar, and many more.
* SOUTHWEST TRADERS (http://www.southwesttraders.com): The leading distributor offers one stop shopping for quick service restaurants (including frozen yogurt shops).
* TR TOPPERS (http://www.trtoppers.com/products.html): TR Toppers offers chopped and non-chopped candies, baked goods, and other toppings, including Reese’s™ Peanut Butter Cups, cheesecake pieces, sprinkles, yogurt chips, Kit Kat, etc.
* SMOOTHEZE and SUMMIT PREMIUM GELATO (http://www.srfoodgroup.com/product.html): They offer healthy smoothie mixes (just scoop, add water and blend) and premium gelato. I saw the free gelato but I didn’t try any – I’m all about the fro-yo.
* SAMBAZON (http://www.sambazon.com/): They brought a tasty acai fro-yo to the show. Sambazon is the first company to import certified Organic Acai from Brazil to the US.
* NELL DAVIS OLD FASHIONED ICE CREAM COMPANY: They offer toppings. At the show they had Dae Doo Food Co. pastel mochi and fruity jelly cubes, along with candy toppings. I always wondered about those Korean jelly cubes (I’ve seen them at Kukje). I don’t think I’d like them on fro-yo.

Attendees included fro-yo luminaries as Roy L. (Mr. Tuttimelon) and the owners of Icebee, Yumygurt, etc.

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eco-Friendly Fro-yo Shops

Fro-yo girl here. I should have posted this before Earth Day (April 22) but consider this a belated recognition of the Bay Area fro-yo shops out there who use compostable fro-yo cups and spoons. Culture goes the extra step, incorporating recycled materials in their shop design and giving you a discount for using your own fro-yo bowl (brilliant idea and I love my fro-yo bowl).

Here’s my list of eco-conscious fro-yo shops:
* Culture Organic Frozen Yogurt
* Yogurt Harmony
* Zuckersuss
* Pink Swirl
* Snowbunny
* Yogurt Shack

Eat fro-yo and show that you care about the Earth.

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

* CULTURE ORGANIC FROZEN YOGURT: 340 S. California Ave, Palo Alto, CA
* YOGURT HARMONY: 2259 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA
* ZUCKERSUSS: 1081 B St, Hayward, CA
* PINK SWIRL: 43423 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA
* SNOWBUNNY YOGURT: 312 Center St, Healdsburg, CA
* YOGURT SHACK: 290 Hartz Ave, Danville, CA

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blush Topping of the Month Revealed

Fro-yo girl here. More Blush news! This one gives me a reason to look forward to May. The topping of the month will be strawberry flavored mochi. What a wonderful idea to feature a particular topping and to pick flavored mochi is sheer brilliance.

Update: The strawberry mochi balls are available NOW. I didn't have to wait till May. They're tiny adorable pink balls with the soft and chewy texture you'd expect.

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

* BLUSH: 4640 Tassajara Rd, Ste A, Dublin, CA

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Blush Locations Revealed

Fro-yo girl here. I have the most exciting fro-yo news, fresh from Blush Frozen Yogurt HQ. You’re hearing about it first.

Two new locations are on the way: San Francisco and Burlingame. The contracts have just been signed. The SF location will be very close to AT&T Park (and the Caltrain station). Soon baseball fans, Jeremy’s shoppers, and commuters will be able to stop by for a quick cup of delicious, refreshing, organic fro-yo. The Burlingame location is 1 block from Burlingame Ave. in the heart of downtown Burlingame - a perfect spot for eating fro-yo while strolling and shopping. I’ll put up some pictures once construction begins.

Thank you Jonathan R. for the breaking news and congratulations!!!!!

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

* BLUSH SAN FRANCISCO: 219 King Street, San Francisco, CA. Across the street from Amici's Pizza.
* BLUSH BURLINGAME: 1212 Donnelly Ave, Burlingame, CA

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tartini Looking for Franchisees

Fro-yo girl here. Tartini recently placed an ad on Craig’s List describing their franchise opportunity as follows:

Tartini Frozen Yogurt Bar is NOW OFFERING a great opportunity to be the first self-serve yogurt shop in your area!

We offer:
- Strong, Proven Brand with Loyal Customer Base
- Affordable Franchise Fees
- Extensive Training Program
- On-site Startup Assistance
- Healthy, High-Quality Products

In this economy you have to make your own opportunities. Tartini Frozen Yogurt is that opportunity!

Though I’m not a fan of self-serve, I do think Tartini is one of the better self-serve fro-yo places out there. Their fro-yo flavors taste natural, the toppings are fresh, they have unique flavors like acai tart and I love the store design. The bright blue signature color is so vibrant and appealing. Even their smiling logo is adorable. They also have more than just the self-serve fro-yo. You can get smoothies, blend in yogurt (Twisters), and crepes.

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

* TARTINI: 20488 Stevens Creek Blvd, Suite 2040, Cupertino, CA

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dreyer’s Yogurt Blends Review: New Tart Honey and Tart Mango

Fro-yo girl here. My supermarket trips always include a careful scan for frozen yogurt. Dreyer’s launched Slow Churned Yogurt Blends in 2007 but I didn’t try it till now because I figured it was an ice cream substitute. I knew they were working on tart flavors and their tart fro-yo flavors finally hit the stores.

Flavors: Peach, Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate Vanilla Swirl, Berry Granola Crunch, Black Cherry Vanilla Swirl, Chocolate Fudge Swirl, Caramel Praline Crunch, Cappuccino Chip, Tart Honey, Tart Mango

Regular price: $6.49 for 1.5 qt, on sale for $4.99 at Safeway

My main gripe with the tart flavors is that they have flavor swirls. Both the honey and the mango flavors take the form of a swirl in plain fro-yo. When you do eat some of the honey swirl or mango swirl, the flavors are too strong.

* Tart Honey: The plain fro-yo struck me as too sweet but the flavor grew on me. It has a tarty lemon like quality.
* Tart Mango: The plain (?) fro-yo tastes different because of the faint taste of the mango and the passionfruit that they’ve added. The mango swirl has a sweetened, boiled down puree flavor.

The tartness comes from citric acid and lemon juice concentrate. The consistency is creamy and fluffier than Trader Joe’s and Haagen Dazs’ plain fro-yo. It’s not as tart as TJ’s and is more flavorful than HD’s. I prefer tart honey to tart mango.

Their fro-yo has live and active cultures and they claim that consumption may help maintain your digestive system.

3.5 stars (out of 5).

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

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Future Fro-yo/Cupcake/Candy Store: Sweet Shop

Fro-yo girl here. I recently learned that Los Altos is getting an adorable new store this summer called Sweet Shop and they will sell both fro-yo and cupcakes! They’ll also carry gourmet candy, espresso, tea and other baked goods.

The shop is about 1,200 square feet and they’ll carry four flavors of fro-yo a day. The baked goods will be sourced from the highest quality local bakeries. They’ve been busy with taste testing and research, so that they can bring you the very best. Even better, all proceeds will benefit public schools in Los Altos.

Check out their blog to read more about their store:

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

* SWEET SHOP: 994 Los Altos Ave, Los Altos, CA

Friday, April 17, 2009

Give Blood, Get Fro-yo

Lululemon Athletica, Yogurt Bar and the Red Cross have joined forces for a blood drive with free fro-yo samples and hand massages. Sign up for a time slot for Saturday, April 18th at www.beadonor.com and enter sponsor code: lululemonSF

The blood drive will take place at Lululemon (1981 Union St., San Francisco) from 10 AM – 4 PM.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mochi Update: Samjin Yogurt Mochi

Fro-yo girl here. I dropped by Kukje to look for mochi balls and I spotted another Korean brand (Dae Doo Food Co. is the most common brand used by fro-yo shops), Samjin. They call their mochi balls “yogurt mochi.” Kukje had the plain variety for $4.99 a package. The Samjin mochi bits aren’t as uniform in shape and size as the Dae Doo ones and they’re sweeter. If you want to try them before buying a bag, they have them at Tutti Frutti in Danville. I prefer the taste of Dae Doo's mochi.

P.S. Kukje didn't have the rainbow mochi balls.

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

* KUKJE: 2350 Junipero Serra, Daly City, CA
* TUTTI FRUTTI: 37 Railroad Ave, Danville, CA

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yogurt Candy Review: Yogurt Dots

Fro-yo girl here. This year on Easter I snacked on Yogurt Dots (fruit & yogurt flavored gumdrops). They look Eastery :-).

Yogurt Dots are like regular dots only with pale pink bottoms. The pink part is the “yogurt” layer which doesn’t taste like yogurt but tastes a bit milky and sweet, like taffy. The consistency is firm and gummy throughout and they stick to your teeth. The Dot flavors are strawberry, banana, orange, blackberry and lemon-lime.

Yogurt Dots were introduced in 2007 but I only noticed them recently.

Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, modified food starch, lactic acid, artificial and natural flavors, malic acid, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, sodium citrate

I’ve only seen Yogurt Dots in the large size (8.5 ounces).

4 out of 5 stars

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

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tuttimelon Union City Grand Opening Coverage

Fro-yo girl here. April 11th marked another major day in Tuttimelon’s history, the grand opening celebration for their first self-serve location at Union Landing in Union City. After attending many Tuttimelon openings, I can say that the UC event was by far the biggest and most tuttilicious of them all.

All five fro-yo machines were ready for action as an eager crowd formed in front of the store. There were many families and very excited looking fro-yo eaters. Roy L. and Patrick W. were kind enough to let me in before the doors opened to the public.

The lucky first 50 received a cute portable set of iPod speakers w/ the Tuttimelon logo (a true collector’s item). I received the first gift (it pays to be fro-yo girl). The first person in the store was a young boy.

From 12 – 2 PM, free fro-yo flowed (good times). Patrons received a small cup which they could fill to their hearts content, selecting from 10 types of fro-yo and the fresh fruit, mochi balls, cereal, nuts and so forth at the toppings bar. I had the chance to chat w/ many of the Tuttimelon employees (they are so nice!). Spotted at the event: Keith, the manager of Tuttimelon San Mateo, incognito in regular street clothes.

I’m not sure who won the raffle but there were three prizes given out to lucky fro-yo eaters: a Best Buy gift card, iPod Touch, and a Sony Playstation 3.

I have visited nearly every self-serve place in the Bay Area and I can say with confidence that Tuttimelon has the best self-serve fro-yo in the Bay Area. Lucky Union City!

I also wanted to show off this beautiful cup of pomegranate fro-yo w/ Lucky Charms and coconut that Roy L. styled just for me. Yes, it’s self-serve but he was nice enough to still serve me (swoon). I need swirling lessons.

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

* TUTTIMELON UNION CITY: 33280 Dyer St., Union City, CA

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fro-Yo Trade Show in South SF on 4/23

Fro-yo girl here. Are you interested in learning more about the fro-yo business? Want to attend a fro-yo/gelato trade show? Southwest Traders, a distributor of fro-yo, ice cream, smoothies and juice is sponsoring a FREE product show featuring:

* Soft serve fro-yo and sorbet (new flavors!)
* New toppings
* Soft serve gelato
* Italian gelato (including recipes)
* All in one smoothies
* Acai frozen yogurt and smoothies
* Cream whippers that make flavored whipped cream

Get quotes for personalized logo containers and cups. Buy Taylor freezer equipment.

It’s your chance to meet with YoCream, Rainbow’s End, Lollicup, TR Toppers, Smootheze, Summit Premium Gelato Base, Sambazon, and Nell Davis Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company. Sample their wares! Learn more about their products!

* SF show (4/23 from 10 AM – 4 PM): Taylor Freezers, 221 Harris Ct., South San Francisco, CA
* Sacramento show (4/24 from 10 AM – 4 PM): Taylor Freezers, 545 Jefferson Blvd, West Sacramento, CA

Tuttimelon Union City Grand Opening (4/11): Free Fro-Yo, Prizes and Gifts!

Fro-yo girl here. Get there early for the grand opening of Tuttimelon Union City this Saturday and enjoy two hours of free tuttilicious fro-yo (you do need to bring a flyer to get the free small cup of fro-yo) from 12 – 2 PM. The first 50 customers will receive a fabulous Tuttimelon gift (I know what it is but I’m not telling) – it is something special created just for the grand opening. The first 500 customers will be entered into a raffle to win a Best Buy gift card, Apple iPod Touch and a Sony Playstation 3. This is their biggest grand opening event ever, so you don't want to miss it.

Can’t make it by 2 PM? You can still get 25% off with the flyer.

Let’s provide a warm welcome to the newest and largest Tuttimelon location!

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

* TUTTIMELON UNION CITY: 33280 Dyer St., Union City, CA

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Harmony Frozen Yogurt Grand Opening Special: 50% Off on Saturday, 4/11

Fro-yo girl here. Harmony is celebrating the grand opening of their San Mateo location this Saturday with 50% off fro-yo and toppings. It’s an all day event, from 11 AM – 9 PM. No coupon is necessary to receive the discount. Come one, come all to enjoy delicious, good for you, all-natural, organic frozen yogurt. Thank you Ken K. for the tip!

I’m getting “The Deal” – a medium size cup of fro-yo with three toppings.

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

* HARMONY FROZEN YOGURT: 1051 Park Place, San Mateo, CA

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mochi Update: Invasion of the Rainbow Colored Mochi

Fro-yo girl here. I first blogged about my favorite topping, mochi balls, in October 2008 and it’s time for an update because the Korean brand that is used by most tart fro-yo shops, Dae Doo Food Co., very recently introduced a colored version of mochi (bingsoo rice cake). The new colored mochi balls aren’t flavored. They taste the same as the white version. The mochi balls come in pink, green, yellow and blue. They’ve been spotted at Fro-ggie and Tuttimelon.

Someone in the US should seriously manufacture mochi balls for fro-yo shops (and make some flavored versions too). I worry that Dae Doo Food Co. won’t be able to keep up with mochi demand.

Since my October posting, several other fro-yo shops started offering homemade mochi balls and they deserve to be mentioned here: Hello Desserts, Yogurtastic, and Pink Swirl. I wish I could say more but I haven’t had tried the homemade mochi at Hello Desserts or Yogurtastic. The Pink Swirl variety comes from a Japanese bakery in Los Angeles, Fugetsu-do: http://www.fugetsu-do.com/buymochi.htm

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

* HELLO DESSERTS: 1698 Hostetter Rd, San Jose, CA
* YOGURTASTIC: 3924 Washington Blvd, Fremont, CA
* PINK SWIRL: 43423 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA
* FRO-GGIE: 1554 Washington Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539
* TUTTIMELON SAN MATEO: 165 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, CA
* TUTTIMELON POLK: 2125 Polk St, San Francisco

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tuttimelon San Mateo Grand Opening Coverage

Fro-yo girl here. What an exciting, Tuttilicious day! Of course I had to swing by the grand opening of Tuttimelon San Mateo. And of course Roy L. (Mr. Tuttimelon) was expecting me. I also had the pleasure of meeting Keith, the San Mateo store manager. It was my first time trying young coconut (love the chewy texture) and the new pastel mochi topping. Isn’t the cup of fro-yo that Roy L. put together gorgeous? I can never make it look that nice.

The San Mateo location has a lengthy menu by fro-yo shop standards, including shaved ice, gelato, yogurt smoothies, coffee, affrogato, gelato shakes, Yoggi drinks and even handmade cones. For those of you who missed the free fro-yo giveaway from 11 AM – 1 PM on opening day, you can still take advantage of the 99 cents small original tart special.

I was very impressed with the arrangement Tuttimelon has with the Instyle Salon next door. You can order your fro-yo from the salon and they’ll deliver to you. They plan on offering this service at other spas and nail salons that happen to be next to/very close to Tuttimelon. I guess it would be too difficult to eat fro-yo during a manicure or body massage, so it’s really best enjoyed during a foot massage or pedicure.

As for Tuttimelon, you can expect to continue to see more Tuttimelon locations spring up all over the Bay Area and even abroad. The next location to open is Cupertino Village. In addition to their foray into the world of self-serve fro-yo, they also plan on opening multiple locations inside shopping malls for people like me (I love shopping and I love eating fro-yo while shopping).

Thanks again, Roy L., for being such a wonderful host and congratulations Tuttimelon!

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

* TUTTIMELON SAN MATEO: 165 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo, CA

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tuttimelon Union City Friends & Family Night Coverage

Fro-yo girl here. I thought my Tuttimelon obsession was scary but I met someone who is even more Tuttimelon obsessed than I am, Roy L’s partner and store manager of the Union City location, Patrick Wong. His enthusiasm for Tuttimelon can truly be characterized as extremely passionate (and yes, scary). Patrick was Roy’s fro-yo apprentice for six months and he’s committed to making Tuttimelon a household name (Tuttimelon world domination). Roy and Patrick live, eat, and breathe fro-yo (and they barely sleep).

The Union City location is the jewel in the Tuttimelon crown, the largest Tuttimelon shop and their first self-serve location. They want to raise the quality level of self-serve fro-yo, emphasize customer service and create a fun environment for hanging out. The space feels like a cross between a lounge/night club. During the friends and family private event, they had a DJ on hand, unlimited fro-yo and lots of picture taking.

Expect to be greeted by a friendly face upon entry. The Tuttimelon greeter will assist you with samples. Then you’re free to pick up a cup and start swirling (there are 10 flavors to choose from, 38 cents an ounce). They’ll even help you pick out toppings if want. They may even come by and offer you a beverage.

I had the privilege of seeing the prep/storage area and the Tuttimobile. What’s a Tuttimobile?? It’s a car plastered with the Tuttimelon logo. Patrick hopes to install a fro-yo machine inside and take it to special events. He also promised me a ride in the Tuttimobile.

For the grand opening event on Saturday, April 11th, be sure to arrive early. I’m told that the first 50 customers will receive a special Tuttimelon branded gift and the first 500 customers will be entered into a raffle for various prizes. Also be on the lookout for 25% off coupons. It should be the biggest Tuttimelon grand opening event thus far.

Congrats to Patrick, Roy and the entire Tuttimelon family!

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

* TUTTIMELON UNION CITY: 33280 Dyer St., Union City, CA

Friday, April 3, 2009

Update: Tuttimelon Union City Grand Opening Moved to April 11th

Fro-yo girl here. Breaking news from Tuttimelon HQ - the Union City store's grand opening has been moved to April 11th. For those of you who can't wait for the grand opening, the store will make its debut and open its doors tonight (soft opening). I will try to learn more about what's in store for the grand opening.

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

* TUTTIMELON UNION CITY: 33280 Dyer St., Union City, CA

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tuttimelon Union City and San Mateo Grand Opening This Saturday, April 4th

Fro-yo girl here. Mark your calendar for the most Tuttilicious day yet. Celebrate the grand opening of TWO Tuttimelon stores on Saturday, April 4th. The Union City and San Mateo locations are stores number 8 and 9 of the growing Tuttimelon empire. They’ve opened 9 stores in a little more than a year (and more are on the way). How do they do it?!?!

At the San Mateo location, they’re giving out free fro-yo from 11 AM – 1 PM but you need to bring a coupon: http://www.tuttimelon.com/images/Free%20Froyo%20GRAND%20OENING%20coupon.gif

The Union City location is their first self-serve store with 10 flavors. It’s also their largest location and the largest self-serve store in California. Wow.

* TUTTIMELON SAN MATEO: 165 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo, CA
* TUTTIMELON UNION CITY: 33280 Dyer St., Union City, CA