Monday, March 29, 2010

Santa Maria: Fro-yo Mission Impossible

Fro-yo girl here. I think I've been to every fro-yo shop in Santa Maria, a town of 91,972 inhabitants located in Santa Barbara County. Yelp lists Yogurt Creations, Euro Yogurt Cafe, TnT's and Lee's Frozen Yogurt. Lee's either has the wrong address or it doesn't exist. I found the address and it's someone's house (didn't ring the doorbell but I did look for a fro-yo sign even though it seemed highly improbable that someone could operate a fro-yo shop from their home (zoning laws). Euro Yogurt Cafe is now Woody's Yogurt Cafe and they didn't have fro-yo. Well, they had one fro-yo machine and it was out of order.

Yogurt Creations and TnT's both have multiple locations in Central Coast. YC is a self-serve fro-yo only format, while TnT's has ice cream, fro-yo, sundaes, smoothies and shakes. YC has the occasional tart flavor (but most flavors are sweet). TnT's apparently has tart fro-yo or is about to offer it due to popular demand. YC has mochi balls and TnT's doesn't. I like them about the same but I think the Central Coast could use some better fro-yo. Or maybe people out there just don't appreciate tart fro-yo?

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
* LEE'S FROZEN YOGURT: 824 Stansbury Dr, Santa Maria, CA
* EURO YOGURT CAFE (now WOODY'S): 319 Town Center West, Santa Maria, CA
* TNT's: 1102 E Clark Ave Ste 110, Santa Maria, CA
* YOGURT CREATIONS: 2415 S Broadway, Santa Maria, CA

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Frozen Yogurt Bars

Fro-yo girl here. I was pleasantly surprised to see new fro-yo options in the supermarket freezer section. Safeway's Eating Right came out with a line of fro-yo. I spotted three flavors: Vanilla, Black Cherry Chocolate Chip and Sugar-Free Vanilla ($3.99 for 1.5 qts). Haagen Dazs added a peach flavor fro-yo and their vanilla fro-yo comes in the tiny single serve cup ($1).

I was particularly excited to see the new Jamba Juice yogurt and sorbet bars. They come in three flavors: Coconut Pineapple Passion Smashin', Vanilla Strawberry Jubilation, and Vanilla Blueberry Pomegranate Perfection. I bought a pack of the Vanilla Strawberry Jubilation bars ($4.29 regular price, $3.49 on sale at Safeway). The all natural, low fat bars contain pro-biotic yogurt cultures. They're really good! The bar is a pretty pink & white swirl and the texture is creamy, smooth and firm. It does taste like strawberries. The bar is a bit tangy but also quite sweet. I'm surprised it's only 80 calories. I would get these again. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Weight Watchers new strawberry smoothie bar ($5.99 regular price, $3.89 on sale at Safeway) contains yogurt. The popsicle is small (maybe 1/2 the size of your typical popsicle). It's creamy with real chunks of strawberry. It tastes like a very sweet, creamy strawberry ice cream. It has corn syrup. At first I liked it but then I noticed a slightly bitter aftertaste. One bar is 60 calories. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

World's Largest Frozen Yogurt Store

Fro-yo girl here. The other day someone suggested that I should review the world's largest frozen yogurt store. That sounds like a task I'd be up for...if only I knew where it was. I'm not even sure which shop is the largest in the Bay Area.

Coco Swirl Walnut Creek has the most fro-yo machines (10) and it has plenty of seating. Maybe it's the largest in the Bay Area? Tuttimelon Union City might be the largest in the Bay Area?

Back in 1987, I Can't Believe It's Yogurt claimed that its Lawrence, Kansas store was the World's largest frozen yogurt store. I don't think that location is still open. I Can't Believe It's Yogurt is now owned by Yogen Fruz.

Here's another blast from the fro-yo past. Back in 1991, four girls were killed at the I Can't Believe It's Yogurt location in Texas. The crime was shockingly brutal and it happened at the fro-yo shop. How awful.

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

* COCO SWIRL: 1273 Locust St., Walnut Creek, CA
* TUTTIMELON: 32200 Dyer St., Union City, CA

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Giving Up on Bottled Yogurt Drinks

Fro-yo girl here. I gave up on the Yakult type yogurt drinks a few months ago. They were all too sugary for me and I didn't like the flavor much. I'm seeing more bottled yogurt smoothies at the supermarket but I haven't been too interested in trying them. But then Trader Joe's introduced Organic lowfat Wildberry probiotic yogurt smoothies (love TJ's) so I bought a four pack. The smoothie wasn't bad - it had a tangy, real yogurt quality, it wasn't too thick...but I felt like I was drinking melted fro-yo. I probably wouldn't buy them again.

And I'm not buying Yoplait's new frozen smoothie in a bag - but it is interesting how it includes little frozen yogurt cubes.

I spotted a "baked style yogurt drink" at the market the other day. Baked yogurt? Sounded different enough to catch my interest. Baking doesn't kill the live cultures. They also had many mysterious varieties of kefir, including Krestiansky, Ryazhenka, Bazarny and Weijski. But these drinks were all full fat and are probably too rich for me.

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

Friday, March 19, 2010

Want to Manage a Fro-yo Shop?

Fro-yo girl here. If you've ever dreamed about managing a fro-yo shop, this could be the perfect opportunity for you. An innovative new fro-yo shop in the East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland area) is seeking someone friendly & personable with at least 3 years of experience in the food/coffee shop setting to manage their fro-yo shop.

As the manager you'll be responsible for hiring and training staff, purchasing, and day to day operations. Marketing experience and a passion for fro-yo a plus.

If you meet the criteria, send your resume and cover letter (

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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Future Fro-yo Shop Pictures: Blush Walnut Creek

Fro-yo girl here. The door was open at Blush Walnut Creek today and the Blush cherry logo sign is up. Isn't their logo the cutest? I heard construction is going well. I took a picture of the inside. Also the sign says they're hiring (e-mail if interested). The new shop is in the same shopping center as Whole Foods and it seems like parking could be hard to find. I'll keep you updated.

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

* BLUSH ORGANIC FROZEN YOGURT: 1345 Newell Lane, Unit B, Walnut Creek, CA

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thank You Yolato!

Fro-yo girl here. I didn't make it to Pinkberry last night for the free mini mango fro-yo. I wasn't in the mood to make the 1 hour drive after work and wait in a long line for a mini size...but I'm sure I'll try their mango flavor soon.

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to score free fro-yo merchandise without making an effort at all. I wanted to thank Yolato for the free Yolato t-shirt. The shirt comes in their signature colors - juicy orange, lime and yogurt, I mean, white. Yolato Express locations have really taken off in NY and NJ. The next time I'm out there or passing through at JFK Terminal 1, I'm going to finally try Yolato. Or maybe I'll see their gelato bars in CA before that happens? I am very anxious to try Yolato.

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

P.S. Free fro-yo tees gratefully accepted.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dannon vs. Yoplait: Greek Yogurt Taste Test

Fro-yo girl here. I've noticed that the Greek yogurt (non-frozen) is increasingly popular, and that this trend parallels the fro-yo trend. Both Greek yogurt and tart fro-yo have that tangy flavor that people have grown to love. Check your local supermarket and chances are you'll find many more yogurt choices now compared to a year ago. Recently, Dannon and Yoplait introduced greek yogurt.

* Dannon Greek Yogurt: I tried the vanilla flavor (99 cents, on sale at Lucky, regularly $1.49). The yogurt had a slightly fluffy whipped texture and a smooth creaminess. I liked the sour tang and the subtle vanilla flavor. A pleasant surprise.

* Yoplait Greek Yogurt ($1.09 regular price at Lucky): It claims to have twice the protein of the leading yogurt. I tried the honey vanilla flavor (other flavors include strawberry & blueberry). The texture is creamy and flavor is sour, chalky, and horrible. Another negative: they added lemon juice concentrate. I would never get this again.

The winner: Clearly, Dannon.

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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fro-yo at the Great Mall

Fro-yo girl here. Question: Which Bay Area shopping mall has the most fro-yo shops? Answer: The Great Mall.

The Great Mall has three fro-yo shops: TCBY, Orange Tree Frozen Yogurt and Dreyer's. Coldstone Creamery might have scoopable fro-yo (I forgot to check). The problem is that I don't like any of them...but if I had to get fro-yo here, I'd go to TCBY for vanilla fro-yo. My next choice would be Orange Tree where self-serve fro-yo is 38 cents an ounce. Lastly, I'd go to Dreyer's. Actually, I'd rather get a pretzel from Auntie Anne's than a cup of fro-yo at the Great Mall.

Part of me actually feels like I'm not living up to my responsibilities by not going to every fro-yo shop. Do I have a responsibility to go to every location of Orange Tree (for example) if I've already been to multiple locations and know that I don't like it? I tell myself that the answer is no but I still feel guilty.

By the way, the Great Mall has three soft pretzel places: Auntie Anne's, Wetzel's Pretzels and Pretzel Time. I've been to all three and Auntie Anne's is the best, followed by Wetzel's. I miss the whole wheat pretzel that Auntie Anne's used to offer.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
* GREAT MALL: 447 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

Friday, March 5, 2010

Couldn't You Have Thought of a Better Name?

Fro-yo girl here. The results of the worst name for a fro-yo shop poll are in and the overwhelming winner (71% of votes) for worst name was Dude Where's My Yogurt? I remember I was in shock the first time I heard the name. Since fro-yo is more popular with women, the name not only sounded dumb but also not appealing to the main consumers of fro-yo. I haven't been to the shop but I'd be willing to try it (despite the name) because they carry mochi (delivered fresh daily) from Osaka Ya of Sacramento. On their website, they explain where the name came from: "Many customers ask the Pocket entrepreneurs about the naming of the store. Clark and Hubbard had several names in mind, but Clark’s 17-year-old daughter Kasey suggested, “Hey, how about, ‘Dude, Where’s My Yogurt?’”

The other nominees were:
* McBerryZ Frozen Treats: I actually thought this was the lamest name because it's so ghetto - the spelling and the Mc make me think low quality, McDonald's, crappy fro-yo.
* Yogurtouille: This name is hard to spell and makes me think of rats. I don't want to think of rats while eating fro-yo.
* Yogoholic: I didn't think this name was bad because I know people who call themselves froyoholics but my friend said "alcoholism is a disease, so it's a terrible name."
* Maqito Yogurt: Is Maqito a word? I think of mosquitoes. Yuck.

I forgot to include Froyo? in the poll. The question mark makes me think that they're not really serving fro-yo. Bad name.

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

* DUDE WHERE'S MY YOGURT: 7485 Rush River Dr., Sacramento, CA 95831

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Future Fro-yo Shop Pictures: Wild Berry Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. Wild Berry looks very close to opening. The furniture has arrived and the fro-yo machine lights were on. I counted 6 machines. It's self-serve and painted in bright green and orange (the decor reminds me of a Tutti Frutti). They seem to be from SoCal originally.

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

* WILD BERRY YOGURT: Sharon Heights Shopping Center, Menlo Park, CA