Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Future Fro-yo Shop Picture: Yogorino Embarcadero

Fro-yo girl here. Strolled by Yogorino at the Embarcadero Center the other day... the windows are covered up (I couldn't see the inside). The sign says "the best tasting yogurt in the world." Yogorino is Italian with stores in Italy, Europe, the U.S. (East Coast), Asia, etc.

It sounds like they only have that one tart flavor. That would be unusual. Though original tart is often the best flavor, I'm certainly in favor in some variety in fro-yo flavors.

The toppings sound different and interesting according to a description I found on the BuyWithMe deal site: "Give your yogurt a flavor boost with Yogorino’s variety of toppings, including hazelnuts, meringues, coconuts, and mini Smarties. Make it a decadent affair with your choice of fruit, hot, or cold sauces; we recommend the blueberries and sweet pistachio. Or mix and match toppings and sauces to your taste and desired level of indulgence (ours are sky-high with chocolate shavings and white chocolate wafer sauce)."

Yogorino is across from the Ferry Plaza Building, next to the Hyatt Regency (Embarcadero 4). This will be their first location to open in SF with another on Chestnut to open soon after.

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

* YOGORINO, Embarcadero 4, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gelato vs. Fro-yo, Score One Gelato: Bar Gelato by Naia

Fro-yo girl here. I read about Bar Gelato (gelato popsicles) by Naia recently and was intrigued by their popsicle form and convenience (available at Whole Foods in Northern California). When comparing fro-yo to gelato, my main issues with scoopable gelato are (1) I don't like that sticky, soft texture and (2) it's expensive but not better than top quality fro-yo (or ice cream).

Bar Gelato ($1.99 each, sold individually) far exceeded my expectations. It's not sticky but it's firm and icier than ice cream but not as icy as fruit juice popsicles (Bar Gelato has milk). The price is right, the size is perfect (about 140 calories) and the flavors are phenomenal.

Bar Gelato features artisanal gelato made from local ingredients, like Numi Tea, Blue Bottle Coffee, St. George Single Malt, and TCHO chocolate. It's currently available in 9 flavors. Yogurt isn't one of the flavors though Naia does have a yogurt gelato.

My current favorite is Numi Jasmine which tastes like milk tea. You can really taste the tea and the milk. The best seller appeared to be Blue Bottle Coffee (they were almost all out of that flavor).

Now I know why the checker said all the Whole Foods employees are obsessed with Bar Gelato. These are perfect summer treats.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuttimelon West Portal Adds Vietnamese Sandwiches (and More)

Fro-yo girl here. I walked by Tuttimelon West Portal and noticed the lunch specials sign...wandered in and they had a new Portal Cafe menu up. It's still Tuttimelon, but they've added Vietnamese food (banh mi, summer rolls, rice plates, vermicelli plates, and salads). Most of the sandwiches are $4.55. They have a buy 3 get 1 free sandwich deal too. I even got a stamp on my Tutti Card for buying a sandwich!

I like the combination of a light lunch (banh mi or summer rolls), followed by a refreshing bowl of fro-yo.

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

* TUTTIMELON WEST PORTAL: 44 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fro-yo in Southwest Virginia by Guest Blogger Helene K.

Fro-yo girl here. Much as I'd like to visit every fro-yo shop in the planet, the reality is that I'm geographically limited. However, fro-yo fans are just about everywhere. I'm very pleased to have guest blogger and friend, Helene K. She's been gracious enough to report on the fro-yo scene in southwest Virginia. Thank you, Helene.

Be sure to visit Helene's blog and official website, helenekwong.com and follow her on Twitter, @hkwong

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

And here's Helene's post:

Fro-yo Girl’s Travel Scout here! In a little corner of southwest Virginia, the New River Valley has two fro-yo shops: BTO Self-Serve Yogurt and Yogi Factory. Both shops are located near universities: BTO is near Radford University and Yogi Factory is near Virginia Tech (hence the popular music playing in both stores caters to the younger crowd). Both shops do loyalty cards (plus!) and both shops love tart fro-yo (another plus).

But then, they differ in these ways: BTO is a self-service shop with 16 flavors (about ten of them rotated weekly) and a smorgasbord of toppings available. In their toppings selection, they have mashed cake slices, which I have never seen as a topping option in San Francisco or New York. Surprisingly, they also have mochi on hand, despite the low Asian population of the area. It costs $0.39 per ounce of fro-yo/toppings. BTO is actually part of a regional chain, with other locations in Arizona, Ohio and Colorado.

On the other end of the fro-yo spectrum, Yogi Factory is a local, full-service shop with well-trained employees who can swirl up a storm with the fro-yo. They have two original flavors, plain tart & chocolate, along with nine fruit-infused flavors, e.g., pomegranate. Toppings aren’t as plentiful and, on my second visit, there wasn’t any mochi available (considering Blacksburg has a larger population of Asians, I found this very strange). A small cup of fro-yo here (any flavor) is $3.29, and you can choose up to three toppings for an additional $0.99.

The unique thing about Yogi Factory is that they also sell 16 oz. fro-yo smoothies in five fruit combinations. You can also create your own fruit combination (choose two fruits) for the same price of $4.49.

So far, my favorite flavors from BTO are lychee, nutella, and funfetti (think about cake batter ice cream). Yogi Factory’s plain tart and pomegranate-infused are pretty good, too.

Every time I’ve been to BTO, it is buzzing with customers. BTO even made an appearance at our third annual Chili Festival with a portable fro-yo machine. Nothing like fro-yo to cool me down after some chili tasting. To me, BTO seems like a great addition to my hometown and has definitely been trying hard to get out there in the community. Yogi Factory seems to hang back a little, but they have been in the Blacksburg area since 2009, so they must be doing pretty well, too.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The DailyGobble Blog, DailyGobble Presents: FroYo Battle!

The DailyGobble Blog, DailyGobble Presents: FroYo Battle!

Thought this was worth reposting...there are only a few more days to take advantage of the DailyGobble offer. Also, Pinkberry Lychee is going away soon, so you'd better get your fill now:

Red Mango or Pinkberry: Which one is your favorite FroYo shop? Show your support!

From today through May 24, go to any Red Mango or Pinkberry location (New York or San Francisco), and DailyGobble will give you $3.25 back!

The offer is valid at all Red Mango and Pinkberry locations in NYC and selected locations in the SF Bay Area.

To claim your deal, upload your receipt through the DailyGobble website or their free smartphone (iPhone and Android) apps and provide DailyGobble with your Paypal ID to get your rebate within 24 hours.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Frozen Swirl

Fro-yo girl here. CBTL has its own hand-crafted frozen yogurt line called Frozen Swirl. It's been available in the Philippines and a few CBTL locations in SoCal since last year. An article on PhilStar.com spoke to the CBTL Managing Director, Allen Arvin Tan and Tan said, "The Philippines and Singapore are part of the test markets of CBTL so the products (Frozen Swirl) were then brought to these countries. Frozen Swirl has been served in CBTL branches in Manila since last year."

Frozen Swirl was tested at 4 locations in SoCal and then launched nationwide at select locations in March 2011. I visited a few CBTL locations in SoCal recently and very few carry Frozen Swirl.

I was expecting a mix in style frozen yogurt like Yogen Fruz but Frozen Swirl is different. They start with the fro-yo (either original tart or classic vanilla) from the soft serve machine, add flavorings and then mix those flavorings in another machine which looks like a blender stick. The flavors are mixed by holding the cup with the soft serve fro-yo and flavorings under the mixing mechanism for a few minutes. A swirl of original tart or classic vanilla fro-yo is then added on top.
The flavorings include pomegranate, blueberry, mixed berries, espresso, green tea, caramel and lemon. You can also get plain tart or plain vanilla. The fro-yo has live and active cultures.

Regular size $2.50/ Large $3.50

The blended fro-yo is soft and airy, almost whipped. I enjoyed the lemon flavor quite a bit and thought the original tart had good flavor on its own.

The toppings bar works for fro-yo, steel cut oatmeal and yogurt parfaits. Toppings included vanilla macaroon granola, streusel, brown sugar, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, and fruit.

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

* COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF: 824 Arneill Road, Camarillo, CA

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fresh & Easy Tart Frozen Yogurt Review

Fro-yo girl here. Fresh & Easy has its private label brand of tart fro-yo available in the freezer section. I spotted one size, 32 ounces, and 2 flavors: Just Plain and Mango ($2.99). Both flavors are nonfat and have live and active cultures.
I'm not sure how long it's been offered...probably since late last year. We don't have F&E in the Bay Area, so I haven't been to one of their locations in months.

I tried the Plain Tart which is described as pleasantly tart with a hint of sweetness. It's definitely tart and does have a sweet aftertaste. I liked how it was more creamy, smoother and less acidic than Trader Joe's plain tart fro-yo. It's quite dense in texture and has a bit of sourness. I find it's better with toppings like almonds, fruit and cereal.

4 out of 5 stars.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Upcoming Fro-yo Open Houses in Northern CA

Fro-yo girl here. YoCream is sponsoring a series of open houses in Northern California. The events, which are attended by fro-yo shop owners (existing ones and aspiring) are a place for fro-yo networking and information gathering. You can learn about industry trends and store operations, and try new fro-yo flavors and toppings, etc. Vendors will be on hand from 10 AM - 4 PM.

YoCream will be there with their brand new product line, Activia soft serve fro-yo. I'm excited about trying it.

June 1: Taylor Freezers, 221 Harris Ct, South San Francisco, CA
June 2: Taylor Freezers, 524 Display Way, West Sacramento, CA
June 9: Western Freezers, 42285 Osgood Rd, Unit F, Fremont, CA

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Future Fro-yo Shop Picture: Wild Berry Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. Pacific View Mall in Ventura is getting a new fro-yo place, Wild Berry Yogurt. WildBerry is a self-serve fro-yo chain that's been around for awhile. I think they were from SoCal but I first tried them in Menlo Park, CA. The decor (bright colors, pictures of fruit) and fro-yo reminded me of Tutti Frutti. Their website still isn't done but they've been in business for quite some time. Hmm.

I wonder if they realize that Pacific View Mall had a fro-yo shop before, Yogurberry. Wild Berry is downstairs next to Auntie Anne's and across from Old Navy. In other mall news, the mall is getting a Trader Joe's.

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

* WILD BERRY YOGURT: 3301-1 E Main St., Ventura, CA 93003

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yoplait Greek Yogurt Relaunched

Fro-yo girl here. Yoplait recently re-launched its improved Greek Yogurt. Marketed as a healthy, satisfying snack, Yoplait Greek Yogurt comes in 6 flavors, including three fruit on the bottom varieties (Blueberry, Strawberry, Peach). Each cup has 14 - 17 grams of protein, live and active cultures. The yogurt is gluten free, with no artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners.

* Honey vanilla Greek yogurt (99 cents on sale at Safeway): it is markedly better tasting than before. It's no longer unpleasantly chalky. The yogurt is very creamy and smooth with sour notes and a strong honey flavor. It would be lovely with a crunchy cereal. I'm impressed by how rich and creamy it is, while remaining a non-fat product.

It's worth trying...if you don't like it, you can always use Greek yogurt as a face mask (to soften your skin). Wash your face and apply 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt. If it's coming from the fridge, be prepared for a cold, clammy feeling.

4 out of 5 stars

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Yogurtland's 5 Year Anniversary Limited Edition Purple Spoon

Fro-yo girl here. Happy belated anniversary wishes to Yogurtland (5 years old!) I like how they celebrated with customers with their fan pass (redeemable for 2 oz. of free fro-yo from April 15 - 19) and they even brought out the limited edition purple spoon.
This is weird...there are even t-shirts available from CafePress.com that say "I got a purple spoon from Yogurtland...awesome!"

Here's a picture of my purple spoon! I'm so happy to have it in my fro-yo spoon collection.

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Fro-yo Cinco De Mayo

Fro-yo girl here. Happy Cinco De Mayo! Did you know that fro-yo is popular in Mexico? Quite a few fro-yo chains are present in Mexico, including Yogen Fruz, Yogurtland, Tutti Frutti, and Cherry on Top.

Closer to home, why not have some dulce de leche fro-yo today? If you can't find it at your local fro-yo shop, you can always pick up Dulce De Leche Haagen Dazs Frozen Yogurt.

I haven't seen margarita, Mexican vanilla, Mexican chocolate, or Mexican cinnamon fro-yo yet but those flavors sound good, especially today.

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day Fro-yo/Yogurt Gift Ideas

Fro-yo girl here. Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 8th and I have some gift ideas for mom, organized by your giving style.

* Financially challenged: TCBY is generously giving away free fro-yo to moms again this year on Mother's Day. Visit the store locator to find the location near you.
* Artistic or really young: Love's Yogurt in the Chicago area has a cute joint promo with FiredWorks. When you paint a ceramic waffle cone at FiredWorks, Love's will fill it with free fro-yo. You can paint a fro-yo bowl for mom at a ceramics place. Remember you have to factor in the time it takes for them to glaze and fire your piece.

* Your mom loves to share: Get a fro-yo pie or a couple of quarts of fro-yo and you can share her fro-yo.
* You'd like to pamper your mom: I'm a long time fan of Korres, a Greek company that makes all natural skin care, hair care, lotions, and cosmetics. And I like that it's a Greek company that has a line of yogurt skin care products. I use Korres Yoghurt moisturizing cream. It smells good, like yogurt. Get the Yoghurt Regiment Kit ($45) or individual products at Sephora.

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

* FIREDWORKS: 1813 St. John's Avenue, Highland Park, IL

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coming Soon: BlissBerry's First U.S. Location

Fro-yo girl here. I just learned about BlissBerry's first U.S. location...it's going to be an all-organic self-serve fro-yo place (the first that I have heard of). Their first location will feature 12 fro-yo flavors a day and it's owned by a current NFL Player. I have a sneak preview picture to share of the shop. There isn't much to see yet but the space is currently being transformed into a dazzling new fro-yo shop.

Location details: Imperial Square Shopping Plaza, 6201 N Federal Hwy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Expect the shop to open this summer...possibly in June.

For additional information about BlissBerry, visit their website.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Free Yogurtland T-shirt in the South Bay

Fro-yo girl here. I spotted a poster today at Yogurtland. It says "Free t-shirt with every $10 purchase." The promotion is currently going on at three South Bay locations: Westgate (San Jose), Almaden (San Jose) and Campbell. Of course you have to hurry, it's a limited time offer, while supplies last. The t-shirt is white with the Yogurtland symbol. I already have mine from a similar promotion that they had in Berkeley about a year ago (or longer).

Tip: it's impossible to spend $10 at Yogurtland by yourself. Bring 3 friends/family members. Four cups should do it.

While you are there, try their new chocolate mint cookies fro-yo. It's really good! I never see the limited edition 5th anniversary purple spoons...they probably ran out of those a long time ago.

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