Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Future Fro-yo Shop Picture: Yoppi Redwood City

Fro-yo girl here. The Yoppi Yogurt chain continues to expand. They're taking over the old Marble Slab Creamery near the movie theater in downtown RWC. I once had really terrible fro-yo at that Marble Slab location.

I know other fro-yo shops considered locating in downtown RWC and didn't think there was enough foot traffic. The Beard Papa closed. Downtown RWC is very quiet on weekdays during the day.

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

* YOPPI YOGURT: 851 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City, CA

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fro-yo Mystery at Pome

Fro-yo girl here. This week I went to Pome, the 2 month old smoothie shop in the Marina on Chestnut St., for a cup of organic fro-yo. I looked down at the receipt and it said Tuttimelon, 3901 24th St., San Francisco, CA. That's the shuttered Noe Valley Tuttimelon. I'm puzzled why a two month old shop on the other side of town would be issuing Tuttimelon receipts. Pome has been open for two months and they've obviously programmed their prices and menu items into the register...why wouldn't they change the store name and address too?

Pome probably isn't related to Tuttimelon because it serves fro-yo but it's not Tuttimelon fro-yo (it's organic and tastes like Straus). And there's a Tuttimelon on the same street as Pome. I guess it's the ghost of Noe Tuttimelon.

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

* POME: 2066 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA

Friday, August 26, 2011

Farewell My Old Friend, Jubili

Fro-yo girl. I've seen many fro-yo shops come and go, but the closure of Jubili hurts. It was the very first place I tried tart fro-yo. It was one of those life-changing "first" moments that you never forget. My fro-yo preferences were just being formed at that time. I liked the clean, white, modern look of their shop and the free wi-fi. Jubili was also a cereal bar. Later they added cupcakes (Velveteen Sweets).

Jubili was the oldest surviving tart fro-yo shop in SF. Yogurt Bar was the first tart fro-yo shop in SF and it closed in 2009. I never liked Yogurt Bar, so its passing left me unmoved. Jubili was the second tart fro-yo shop to open in SF, back in October 2007.

Here's an excerpt from my December 2007 review...my first fro-yo shop review:

"Fro-yo girl here. Jubili is the place that started it all for me - my first taste of tart fro-yo and I came for the mochi balls. The first time I went to Jubili, they were out of mochi balls (it was 9:30 PM). He said people kept asking for them. Very disappointing, but of course I don't blame them for it. I couldn't stop wondering about the mochi balls, day and night (I love mochi). I even looked for mochi ball pictures online and I only found a few."

I always wondered why Jubili didn't (1) open another location and (2) change the fro-yo flavors. The fro-yo parfaits were so good that I continued to visit Jubili even after the fro-yo shop explosion. They used to be one of the few fro-yo places that opened early, opening at 8 AM.

* My favorite menu item: the fro-yo parfait, with crushed Nature Valley granola bars, mochi and fresh fruit
* My favorite fro-yo flavor: peach tart

I peeked inside Jubili and the furniture and fro-yo machines are gone.

Farewell Jubili. You will be missed.

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

* JUBILI FROZEN YOGURT & CEREAL: 1515 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trader Joe's Yogurt Covered Almonds and Lassis

Fro-yo girl here. Yogurt covered pretzels and raisins have been around for awhile. Now Trader Joe's has yogurt covered whole almonds. California almonds are roasted and dipped in thick white yogurt coating. The creamy coating is quite sweet but a little tangy. It's made with yogurt cultures and yogurt flavored powder. An 11 ounce tub is $3.99. 4 out of 5 stars.

The TJ's Indian style lassis are good too. The plain lassi is quite sour, very thick and very creamy. It's much more sour than it is tangy. I like to either stir in honey or sugar and drink it or add cereal. Lassis are available in mango and plain ($2.69) for 32 fl. ozs. 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fro-yo Spoons...as Door Handles

Fro-yo girl here. I was back at Yogurtland for Yogurtland Sanrio spoons (My Melody and Keroppi). Their new Capitola location has giant Yogurtland spoons as door handles! There's a green one and a pink one and the spoons say Yogurtland on them...they're giant versions of their fro-yo spoons. I wish I could get some for my home. I'd love to swap out my boring door knob with a Yogurtland spoon.

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

* YOGURTLAND: 1955 41st Avenue, Capitola, CA

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Yogurtland Sanrio Spoons

Fro-yo girl here. The Keroppi and My Melody spoons arrived at Yogurtland last on August 11...at the time I was in a state without any Yogurtland locations (sad). My collection is complete now. I need to decide whether the front of the spoon (with the face) or the back (with the tail - except for Keroppi, he doesn't have a tail) and name is cuter. Hard to decide! I also don't know which spoon is my favorite.

I created a truly world changing fro-yo combination with Chocolate Mint Cookies fro-yo, Double Cookies n' Cream fro-yo, three Kit Kat mix (white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate), crushed Butterfingers and mini Reeses PB cups. Wow. The crunch from the candy and the tiny cookie bits in the fro-yo are just such a perfect combination.

Remember to enter the Yogurtland Sanrio Friends Forever sweepstakes. I hate to say and think this but the Yogurtland Sanrio promotion ends in two weeks (too soon).

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fro-yo Store Count

Fro-yo girl here. It's time for another update of the chain store location count. The counts are based on the locations listed on the company websites. Yogurtland just announced the opening of store #150 in Bakersfield, CA, on August 14. The figure includes U.S. and international locations. Their goal is "to open 550 stores by 2015."

* YOGURTLAND: 147 locations in the U.S., 3 outside (Mexico, Guam and Japan), 96 U.S. locations last August
* RED MANGO: 128 locations in the U.S. though a recent article says 132 stores are in operation in the U.S., "230 locations in over 17 countries across the world," 70 U.S. locations last August
* PINKBERRY: 116 locations in the U.S., 17 locations outside the U.S., 95 U.S. locations last August
* GOLDEN SPOON: 102 locations in the U.S., 25 locations outside of the U.S., 113 U.S. locations last August
* MENCHIE'S: 98 locations in the U.S., 2 in Canada, 47 U.S. locations last August
* YOGEN FRUZ: 56 locations in the U.S., locations in 13 other countries, 40 locations in the U.S. last August

Red Mango's growth has been impressive with 62 new U.S. locations since the last time I counted about a year ago compared to 21 for Pinkberry and 51 for Yogurtland. Menchie's has proven to be one to watch with 51 new U.S. locations since last August.

It will be interesting to see what impact the new CEO of Red Mango, Barry Barron, will have. They've embraced self-serve as well as other products (smoothies, parfaits, iced tea) while Yogurtland and Menchie's offer only fro-yo.

TCBY continues to be the largest fro-yo chain, with over 470 U.S. locations.

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Stampt Loyalty Card iPhone App

Fro-yo girl here. If you're like me, you have a zillion paper loyalty cards (many of them for fro-yo) in your wallet. I can't even fit them all in my wallet.

I just downloaded Stampt, a loyalty card iPhone app. It's free for consumers and free for businesses. Stampt features businesses across the U.S. and it shows you the closest businesses (based on your current location) that are using Stampt. You'll just scan (take a picture of) the Stampt Quick Scan Card near the cashier after your purchase and Stampt will automatically keep track of your stamps on your phone.

They put Tuttimelon on their home page, so I knew it was an app that I could use. The app was released two weeks ago. They've already signed up sandwich shops, video stores, coffeehouses, pizza places, smoothie places and more (with many more businesses to come). They'll also add Blackberry and Android apps soon.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Inside Swirl: Peachwave Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. I recently spoke to Peach Boy of Peachwave Frozen Yogurt, the boy behind Peachwave’s marketing, to learn more about Peachwave. Founded by Kevin Moon in 2009, Edmond, Oklahoma based self-serve Peachwave Frozen Yogurt currently has 33 locations in 13 states.

Peachwave’s concept: “ It's healthy. It's delicious. It's fun.” Peachwave differentiates itself with its proprietary fro-yo (made with their own unique recipes) in over 40 flavors, from classics to new flavors like strawberry lemonade and orange creamsicle.

What’s ahead for Peachwave: “Peachwave is growing steadily and we are seeing interest from people who want to start their own stores from all over the country. We have several stores in the Midwest and the South but are seeing more and more interest from the coastal regions.”

Each shop is privately owned by a licensee/store operator. No royalties are collected on sales each month. Corporate provides marketing support, such as poster designs for new summer flavors, social marketing, and consulting services for how to market locally. Stores are sometimes allowed to try out new products and flavors. One store in Oklahoma is experimenting with smoothies while one in Oregon invented its own Peaches 'N Cream flavor which was later approved by corporate for the whole company.

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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Popularity of Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. Is fro-yo gaining in popularity? Looking at Google Trends is one indication of fro-yo's popularity. Google Trends shows search volume traffic and news reference volume. The search volume index shows continued growth in 2011 and continued seasonality (peaking in the summer). News reference volume measures the number of times the topic appeared in Google News stories and this volume picked up in 2008.

The majority of searches come from the U.S., followed by Canada (same as last year). Within the U.S., most of the searches occur in Southern California with San Diego taking the top spot, then Los Angeles #2. followed by the Bay Area (San Francisco, Pleasanton), Las Vegas, Portland and New York. The countries with the greatest volume of frozen yogurt search traffic are 1) US, 2) Canada, 3) Brazil, 4) United Kingdom, 5) Australia, 6) Germany.

Looking at Google Trends, fro-yo is still going strong.

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

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nobel Gummy Yogurt Sours Review

Fro-yo girl here. While waiting for my red bean ice cream crepe at Genki (they don't have fro-yo crepes) I came across a new type of yogurt candy, imported from Japan. Nobel gummy yogurt sours ($2.19 for 1.5 oz.) come in a resealable white pouch. There were other flavors of Nobel gummy sours but those they weren't yogurt flavored.

The candy is a firm white rectangle that is coated with fine sugar. It's extremely firm (too firm, even tough) and chewy. It reminds me of an extra firm jelly candy. It's a little bland but does have yogurt flavor. I'd say it has a mild tangy quality but isn't sour. The texture just isn't right.

Ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, agar agar, apple juice, glucose, acidulant, emulsifier.

3 out of 5 stars.

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

* GENKI CREPES & MINI MART: 330 Clement St., San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yomamte Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Popsicle Review

Fro-yo girl here. My recent trip to Kukje for kim chee led to an exciting new find in the freezer section, Yomamte strawberry fro-yo popsicles. The Korean made popsicles come in an insulated pink bag. The bag ($5.49) contains 6 individually wrapped popsicles. I only saw one flavor (strawberry). One popsicle is 100 calories and 14 fl. oz. Ingredients: water, strawberry syrup, sugar, food starch, skim milk powder, yogurt powder, etc.

The popsicle has an elegant slender shape and a pale pink color with tiny strawberry pieces. It's very firm and icy yet had a pleasant milky flavor and is creamier than a fruit popsicle without dairy. I found it refreshing but a bit bland (not much strawberry flavor). It's not tangy but is sweet and has a real yogurt flavor (it's mild though).

The package shows a blonde girl in yoga looking clothing, to emphasize fitness and low calories, I presume. I didn't see anything about live and active cultures.

4 stars out of 5

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

* KUKJE MARKET: 2350 Junipero Serra Blvd, Daly City, CA