Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Mix Grand Opening Coverage

Fro-yo girl here. Congratulations to the Mix! Today was the grand opening celebration and true to their announcement on Facebook, guests received a free mini fro-yo (4 ozs) of their choice, with or without chocolate or rainbow jimmies (sprinkles). Today's flavors included: Chocolate, Vanilla, Mixed Berry and Original Tart. They also had other specials - free topping with a purchase of a medium fro-yo with two toppings and mix-ins of the day for $3.95. I saw some balloons out front and The Mix temporary tattoos but for a grand opening, it was fairly subdued.

There was a steady stream of customers and many of them paid for a larger size vs. choosing the free fro-yo. I guess "free" isn't as exciting in Menlo Park? I tried the vanilla fro-yo today and liked the rich, creamy texture.

The free fro-yo offer is good all day today, so there's still time...

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

THE MIX: 3536 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicago Fro-yo Report: Berry Chill vs. Starfruit

Fro-yo girl here White Sox vs. Cubs, Thick Crust vs. Thin Crust, Chocolate vs. Chicago, the two homegrown chains that come to mind when someone thinks of fro-yo (or frozen kefir) are Berry Chill and Starfruit Café. Berry Chill was the first tart fro-yo shop to open in Chicago, swirling since late 2007. Starfruit soon followed in April 2008. I was eager to try both places to see how they’d compare (and I brought Tuttimelon Bear along for a second opinion).

* PRICE: They're the same but Berry Chill charges a dollar more for their flavored tart fro-yo, but I think Berry Chill has larger portions. Advantage: Tie

* TOPPINGS: Both serve Milk & Honey granola and have better than average toppings. Starfruit toppings seem healthier since they have goji berries and flaxseeds, whereas Berry Chill has Thin Mints, peanut butter pretzels. Fruit toppings looked equally fresh. Advantage: Tie

* VARIETY: During my visits, they were offering very fro-yo/frozen kefir flavors. Both offer smoothies. Starfruit has some organic frozen kefir flavors. Advantage: Tie again

* MARKETING: Berry Chill has the cutest signature cups and spoons, delivery, self-serve order kiosks and Yogi the bear mascot. YogiJones is constantly tweeting. Starfruit has a very bright and fruity image. I like how you can create your own frozen kefir creation on their website. Advantage: Berry Chill

* TASTE: I like kefir and everyone knows that I'm obsessed with fro-yo. For me, taste is the most important and Starfruit wins here. Berry Chill is too icy and the original tart tastes too lemony. Starfruit tastes more natural and doesn't taste lemony. Advantage: Starfruit

Since taste is the most important, I’m picking Starfruit Café (so sorry Yogi). It isn't enough to be cute (but thanks for the cup and spoon, Berry Chill).

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicago Fro-yo Report: Part 1

Fro-yo girl here. After several days of wandering around Lincoln Park, the Magnificent Mile and the Loop, I’m ready to report the Chicago fro-yo scene.

1) There isn’t enough fro-yo. There are several large shopping centers on Michigan Avenue (900 North, Water Tower Place, The Shops at North Bridge) and none of them have fro-yo! The horror. Granted, mall fro-yo can often be inferior but there’s something so nice about stopping for fro-yo while shopping. I wandered around for a long time without running into that many fro-yo signs.

2) No self-serve fro-yo in downtown Chicago. Self-serve fro-yo does exist but you have to go to the suburbs for it. I prefer full serve anyway, so this doesn’t bother me. I’d be surprised if someone doesn’t open up a self-serve place downtown this year.

3) The best neighborhood for fro-yo seems to be the Loop. The Loop has Starfruit, Berry Chill, Yogen Fruz, Fruigurt, Simply Fresh, Under 55 Café, Green Apple, etc. Fruigurt, located inside Macy’s food court (lower level) on State St., is really cheap. For $1.95 + tax, you can get a big cup of fro-yo. Watch out for the fruit toppings (they looked old). Under 55 has a $6.99 lunch special that includes fro-yo and a fountain beverage. I walked by Green Apple on a Sunday. It’s in a food court which was closed and locked up.

4) I don’t mind flying into O’Hare because there are several places to get fro-yo. I went to TCBY this time.

In my next report I’ll weigh in on Berry Chill vs. Starfruit.

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

* FRUIGURT: 111 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602
* GREEN APPLE YOGURT: 201 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60601
* UNDER 55 CAFÉ: 55 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603
* TCBY: Chicago O’Hare, Terminal 3, Concourse K4, Chicago, IL 60666

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interesting Fro-yo Topping: Tea in a Jar

Fro-yo girl. I'm currently busy exploring the fro-yo scene in Chicago. I've seen some interesting toppings here (full report later). I was at Blush awhile ago where I met up with the guys behind the Around Dublin blog, Jimmy and John. They've best source of information about Dublin, CA, including breaking news and local opinions. They're loyal Blush fans as well (as an aside, I miss Blush!!!!). Jimmy invited me to try Blush original fro-yo with aloe vera tea in a jar. Puripan's tea in a jar is a traditional Korean fermented tea. It comes in five organic, caffeine free flavors. The tea in a jar is combined with hot or cold water to make tea but some people also put it on ice cream, fro-yo or toast.

Aloe vera tea in jar looks like a clear, light green, jelly like substance. I was expecting a strong tea flavor. The flavor is actually very mild and it was much sweeter than I expected. What's interesting about having it with fro-yo is that the sweetness brings out the tartness of Blush's original tart in a way that I've never experienced with their other toppings (e.g., I usually get mine with berries and mochi). Interesting topping - if you get a chance, try it out. There are several Puripan locations in the Bay Area and the five tea in a jar flavors are: Citron, Ginger, Pomegranate, Aloe Vera, and Papaya.

* BLUSH DUBLIN: 4640-A Tassajara Road, Dublin, CA

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blush Burlingame Training Night

Fro-yo girl here. After a really loooong wait, Blush Burlingame is really going to open!!!!! Yes, finally. I had the honor of visiting them during employee training night (they were practicing their swirls) and checking out the space. It’s a huge space for a fro-yo shop. Taking over the space of a former art gallery, Blush Burlingame features high ceilings, playful touches (green walls, painted with butterflies), recycled glass tiles & tabletops, three 65” flatscreen TVs, iPod docking station, floors made out of recycled materials, skylights, Italian chairs, and plenty of places to lounge and hang out. Remember to follow the butterflies…

I spotted the giant chocolate bar (ready to be shaved) and the 3 fro-yo machines. I also saw the shaved ice machine. I’m pretty sure that menu will be the same as the other Blush locations (Blush Blends, shaved ice). The soft opening is this Friday, 2/19. Enjoy a free small fro-yo with two toppings from 12 – 5 PM.

Fro-yo flavors you’ll see (remember these are all organic and delicious):
* Cookies n’ cream: their newest flavor, has a chocolatey flavor that goes well with crunchy toppings
* Pineapple tart: love it, if you like pineapple, you need to try this flavor
* Acai blueberry: one of my favorites (but I have so many Blush favorites)
* Original tart: the perfect original tart, sweet finish, real yogurt flavor
* Blush (pomengranate-dragonfruit): their signature flavor, a favorite of many
* Mango tart: this was the flavor they were practicing with. I hadn’t had it in awhile and it was even better than I remembered. Great texture (firm, smooth), sweet and real tasting – tastes like real mango and real yogurt

Saturday is the grand opening (at noon) so come by to support Blush. They’re giving away a ton of prizes – for every purchase, you’ll get a raffle ticket and 3 winners will be announced every hour from 1 – 5 PM. The prizes include a Sony Blu Ray player, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, Xbox, Warriors courtside tickets, SF Giants memorabilia, Jerry Rice signed memorabilia and something signed by Joe Montana. Wow.

Thanks for the Blush Burlingame t-shirt and congratulations Blush!!!

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

* BLUSH BURLINGAME: 1212 Donnelly Avenue, Burlingame, CA

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Mix T-Shirt

Fro-yo girl here. My collection of fro-yo t-shirts expanded today. I hurried over to the Mix, the new Menlo Park fro-yo shop. They were giving out t-shirts to anyone who mentioned being a Facebook fan. The shirt has their grand opening date on it, February 27. Expect free fro-yo and other yet to to be named festivities. Thanks to The Mix! I like that they're serving organic fro-yo and the shop is spotless and gorgeous. Blue Bottle Coffee is always a plus as well.

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

* THE MIX: 3536 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuttimelon Burlingame Grand Opening Coverage

Fro-yo girl here. Tuttimelon's expansion continues (yay) and today marked the grand opening of Tuttimelon Burlingame. Tuttimelon Bear and I were there early to catch all the action. The Burlingame location is self-serve (38 cents an ounce, 8 fro-yo machines) with fro-yo and sorbet/gelato, limited seating, the white wavy wall, reddish-orange brick like tiles, and the lacy white globes.

People lined up outside and the doors opened a little after noon. They let in 5 people at a time for awhile and the first 20 received a black or white limited edition Tuttimelon tee (with the flocked logo - this design was given out at the last few Tuttimelon grand openings). The first people to enter were a mother and son from Pacifica. Guests received a small cup which they could fill to their liking - the fro-yo and toppings were free from 12 - 2 PM. The afternoon was surprisingly warm (fro-yo weather).

I didn't witness the raffle this time around but if you're curious, check out Tuttimelon's Facebook page - they usually have photos from their grand openings there. The grand prize was an iPod Nano and they also gave away iPod Shuffles. I scored a special Tuttimelon black polo shirt with orange accents - the shirt designed for Tuttimelon managers. It's so cute - their logo is embroidered on the collar. Mr. Tuttimelon was wearing one today.

I shared a cup of peach and pomegranate fro-yo with Tuttimelon Bear. The fro-yo flavors of the day were: (1) original tart, (2) blueberry tart, (3) strawberry tart, (4) mango tart, (5) pomegranate tart, (6) vanilla, (7) chocolate, and (8) peach tart. We're really digging the peach tart these days.

They had a dozen gelato and sorbet flavors and cones. I didn't see the Sumo Bowl.

Thank you, Tuttimelon and congratulations!

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

* TUTTIMELON: 240 Park Rd., Burlingame, CA

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lee's Sandwiches Yogurt Review, POM Wonderful Valentine's Promotions

Fro-yo girl here. I tried Vietnamese yogurt, or da ua (not frozen yogurt, just yogurt) a couple of months ago. It's really, really good. I found it at several locations of Lee's Sandwiches and need to look for other places to get some. Their yogurt comes in a clear cup with a lid ($1.95). The consistency is very creamy and thick and the flavor is sweet and tangy. Making it seems really easy. Epicurious has a five minute prep time recipe that involves two ingredients, Greek yogurt and condensed milk:

On a somewhat unrelated note, POM Wonderful is sponsoring a heart themed art contest. I suggest using a picture of pomegranate fro-yo. Details:

You can also send someone a POM Wonderful Valentine:

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

* LEE'S SANDWICHES: 625 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yogen Früz Valentine's Day Specials

Fro-yo girl here. The big day is fast approaching. How will you incorporate fro-yo into your Valentine's Day plans? To celebrate Valentine's Day, Yogen Früz is offering a new, limited edition flavor called Cupid’s Arrow. I haven't tried Cupid's Arrow yet but I do know that it's a mix-it style (vs. the top it style) fro-yo with strawberries. On V-Day, you can get two custom blended mix-its for the promotional price of $4.98 (it's the “Ü and Your Date special). Give the gift of Valentine's themed Ü-Cards, available at your nearest Yogen Früz or online at

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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Nubi Yogurt, New Love Flavor

Fro-yo girl here. Happy 2nd birthday Nubi and thanks for the 50% off today (all locations, no coupon necessary). I stopped by the San Francisco location and saw the birthday cake sign (cute). They had the new flavor, Love, that I saw on the flyer but it looked different (it looked darker) than the flyer picture. Love is a chocolate rose flavor (I was hoping for strawberries & champagne or pink champagne). The sample that I had was rather icy (I think a chocolate fro-yo flavor should be creamier) and it did have a mild rose flavor.

For Valentine's Day, they're offering a buy one, get one free offer all day and accepting donations for Haiti. You can donate to the Haitian relief effort till the end of the month. On February 15th, Nubi will give out free fro-yo in a special Haiti yogurt cup in exchange for a "Love for Haiti" donation ($1 donation minimum).
You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
* NUBI YOGURT: 1511 Sloat Blvd, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy National Frozen Yogurt Day: February 6th

Fro-yo girl here. I really don't know when National Frozen Yogurt Day is or how many there are per year. I'm celebrating National Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6th and June 4th. Though there are several websites dedicated to food holidays, I can't tell which ones are the most accurate and trustworthy. According to these types of sites, there is a National Frozen Yogurt Week and a National Frozen Yogurt Month as well.

Why can't every day be frozen yogurt day? Be sure to eat some fro-yo today. And if you're in SoCal, check out the Tuttimelon grand opening (free fro-yo from 12-2 PM) at Ontario Mills. Congrats Tuttimelon!

According to these sites, National Frozen Yogurt Day is February 6:

This site says National Frozen Yogurt Day is June 1st:

There's evidence that National Frozen Yogurt Day is June 4th:

And another site says National Frozen Yogurt Day is July 1:

We can't forget National Frozen Yogurt Week: May 24 - May 30:

These sites say that June is National Frozen Yogurt Month:

Confused yet?

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
* TUTTIMELON ONTARIO: Space # 117 One Mills Circle, Ontario, CA

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Future Fro-yo Shop Pictures: Yogurtland Dublin, 2 Places in Menlo Park

Fro-yo girl here. The door was open last week at the future Yogurtland Dublin. The fro-yo wall (still white without tiles) is up and they'll have 8 machines.

I stumbled upon a future location of Miyo Yogurt (the same Miyo that's located in downtown Los Altos). I'm sure that's self-serve since the Los Altos location is self-serve. The door wasn't open and I couldn't see inside.

The Mix is going to open up in a very sleepy/residential area of Menlo Park by the Dutch Goose. Since they've papered the front, I couldn't determine the state of the shop interior. Their Facebook page says they plan to open on February 11th.

Poor Redwood City. It's really being left out of the fro-yo trend, though it does have the ever classic Yumi Yogurt.

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

* YOGURTLAND WEST DUBLIN: 6851 Amador Plaza Rd., Dublin, CA
* MIYO YOGURT: 842 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park, CA
* THE MIX: 3536 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary, It's Tuttimelon Day!

Fro-yo girl here. Yes, today is Groundhog Day but even more importantly, it's the two year anniversary of the day Tuttimelon first opened its doors for business. In honor of that special occasion, I'd like to declare February 2nd, Tuttimelon Day. This is the perfect day to go to Tuttimelon for a cup of tuttilicious fro-yo and to thank them for bringing their fro-yo into our lives.

I wrote this tribute to the first location last year to mark the first anniversary of Tuttimelon and I'd like to share it again.

From February 2, 2008:
Fro-yo girl here. I'm probably the only person who thinks about these things and notices, but today is the one year anniversary of Tuttimelon Irving, the original and still the best location. It's hard to imagine the pre-Tuttimelon days since Tuttimelon has become a fixture in the Outer Sunset. The Irving location has been open EVERY DAY since 2/2/08.

The store doesn't appear to be celebrating the special occasion. I suggested that they bring back the 99 cents special in the future, just for the anniversary celebration.

Notable milestones (Irving location only):
* Added TuttiCard bonus card program
* Green tea fro-yo finally introduced, then mango tart and pomegranate tart
* Swirl technique perfected - I haven't encountered the dreaded hole in the middle since the early days
* New signature cups (for the longest time the cups didn't say Tuttimelon)
* Green tea powder stolen! But promptly replaced by Tuttimelon - thank you!
* Menu has changed several times, hot drinks were available for a period, the number of Yoggi drink flavors has dwindled
* Tuttimelon website quotes my Irving review
* Replaced their fro-yo machine with a newer version
* Prices have increased; as of 2/2/09, they are as follows:
- Original: S ($2.25)/ M($3.25)/ L($4.25)
- Flavored: S ($2.75)/ M($3.75)/ L($4.75)
* Security cameras installed to protect the premises

Happy birthday, Tuttimelon! As for the future, they're hoping to get a new machine soon so they can offer three fro-yo flavors at a time.

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

And now the update (2/2/2010): The original Irving location became Tea Way (still owned by Tuttimelon) and they opened a larger self-serve fro-yo shop a few blocks away on Irving St. on Oct. 26, 2009. Tuttimelon hasn't slowed down. They're still innovating in so many ways. They now have 16 locations in the Bay Area, the most by far, and have expanded abroad. More locations are on the way in the Bay Area, SoCal, Asia, Canada and who knows where else. Tuttimelon could show up anywhere. And more Tea Way locations with the self-serve toppings bar are on the way.

Notable milestones (Tuttimelon in general):
* Introduced the Sumo Bowl for people who want to eat an obscene amount of fro-yo
* Lets you put toppings on gelato (fro-yo bar toppings)
* New fro-yo flavors introduced (e.g., guava, acai blueberry, pineapple, coconut, passionfruit, lychee, taro), the most notable being Almond Tart (love)
* Opened a ton of self-serve locations, converted some full-serve locations into self-serve locations
* I haven't seen my green tea powder - got lost during the move from the old Tuttimelon Irving to the new Tuttimelon Irving?
* New gift cards introduced, no longer paper cards but they're the ones with the magnetic stripe
* Website redesigned a couple of times
* Gave away a ton of free Tuttimelon t-shirts, Tuttimelon iPod speakers, Tuttimelon visors, Tuttimelon umbrellas and more logo merchandise (collector's items for sure)
* Tutti Cards now accepted at all Tuttimelon locations
* Tuttimelon Bear is born!

I'm sure I'll have much more to report on the next Tuttimelon Day. Now go forth and eat Tuttimelon fro-yo!

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