Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love in the Air, Froyo in the Tummy

My apologies, but I am postponing my Froyo and the City post for a wee bit as it is VALENTINE"S DAY!!! (whether that fact is to your dismay or to your delight) I find it quite ironic that a day devoted to love is loathed by so many. Personally, I am neutral-so far I have had no noteworthy V-day, but I do believe it has potential. Normally I have really bad luck in general and would be pessimistic, but since I survived Friday the 13th without a scratch I have high hopes for my future-but I still have to survive the next Friday the 13th (two in one year!?! jeez, someone has a sense of humor). One small pro of the holiday is that all business establishments (or all that I am aware of at least) are open, so no froyo withdrawals! 

Speaking of love...

I love butterflies...

and macaroons...

and sunsets! 
(all three pics I took during my summer trip to France and Switzerland)

Anyway, so if you are out with your honey or just with good friends (possibly seeing Friday the 13th, because Jared Padalecki+anything=love), and you are feeling a bit peckish, go get yourselves some froyo! Specifically, may I suggest Menchie's? In addition to being self-serve and having some bomb froyo, they are one of the only froyo places I could find with a V-Day deal! They are offering a limited edition Valentine's day buy-1-get-1 free coupon! So get your booties over there asap for twice the froyo and twice the love, but not twice the price! Now, how could you top that? Well, Menchie's thought of a way-they are launching their Redondo Beach location's grand opening events this weekend (Feb. 14th&15, 12pm-5pm). In addition to the yummy yogurt, there will be a live d.j., color-in tees, and cool giveaways. And hint to the guys reading this, your gal might like this as a fun V-Day date-well at least I would! The Redondo Beach location is almost 20 miles away from my home base, but I feel obligated to make my way down there sometime this weekend, with my Nikon D40 in tow to cover the event-so no tears if you don't live in SoCal and are unable to attend, cause that's what I'm here for! (and stay tuned for more Menchie's news, and an official review!)

Another fun idea for those of you who do wish to acknowledge V-Day is to party with a FROYO PIE. Now, what the heck is a froyo pie, you may ask? Well, actually you may not be asking because it is as self explanatory as it seems. I had one for my 18th birthday, and basically it consists of a traditional pie dish filled with a graham cracker crust, followed by a thin layer of fudge, frozen yogurt plus your desired fillings, and topped with more toppings, such as jimmies. Mine had chocolate and vanilla flavored froyo layers, separated by a layer of cookie dough. It was topped off with rainbow sprinkles and hot fudge. My mom ordered the pictured pie from Studio Yogurt (a full review to come), but it wasn't a piece of cake. She discovered that the order for the pie must be placed more than 24 hours before the desired pick-up date. Also, they apparently only make pies with the vanilla and chocolate yogurt, which they tried to explain had something to do with their flavor rotation schedule-it sounded like a bunch of b.s. to me, but nevertheless the pie was delicious. You can pick whatever topping you want to go in the middle, like we did with the cookie dough. I have also seen similar looking pies in the freezers at Penguins Yogurt. They were pre-made, but you may be able to order custom ones as well. My
birthday pie overall was a small mound of heaven. It works perfectly to store the leftovers in the freezer, but of course in my house the pie had a lifespan of approximately three days-poor thing never had a chance. I think a yogurt pie is an adorable and unique way to celebrate any occasion, or if you're like me, just any ole day!!!

So, whether your day is filled with love or just froyo, I wish everyone a fabulous Valentine's Day!!! <3


Original Location: 4849 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
Valley Village, CA 91607 
(818) 985-9150

Studio Yogurt 
12050 Ventura Blvd. Ste 105
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 508-7811

Penguins Yogurt 
2180 Westwood Blvd Ste 1A
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 470-2919

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Meet Me In St. Louis, Part Deux

Ok froyo peeps, sorry for the hiatus (I was feeling under the weather), but we are still back in the STL for my next review. As previously stated in Part One of this St. Louis set, I was quite troubled by the lack of froyo prospects before I moved to good ole Missouri. But to my delight, one of my first friends from a pre-orientation (who just happened to be a native St.Louisian) informed me of a new froyo place soon to grace the quintessential Wash U haunt that is Delmar Boulevard, or the Loop. So of course as soon as my parents pulled up to my new dorm in their stunning rented sea foam green minivan, we were off, leaving my numerous unpacked moving boxes back in a cloud of dust. At that point in time, the storefront was all glass, but completely shrouded by a 'coming soon' tarp. I was able to peak through a crack in the door like a total creeper and saw pretty decent progress in terms of decor and fixture installations. I was about to leave fairly satisfied with my findings when I noticed a piece of water-stained 8x11 'now hiring' flyer. My mental wheels immediately started to turn. It was as the gods had answered my froyo prayers!

To spare you the tedious details, I did end up working at Froyo for its first few weeks in business, but had to relinquish my position there in an attempt to salvage my schoolwork and social life. It was also a plus to escape my greasy-haired, 16 year old coworker who apparently thought it was her job description to criticize the way I wiped the counter. I was also glad to not have to walk home alone at 11 at night in an area where cops seem to be more common than fried ravioli. Anywayyy, I did have a very good experience getting to see the behind the scenes reality of running a new froyo business. I'm not going to lie and say that scrubbing the sticky froyo drippings of the machine handles for seven hours was glamourous in the least. But I truly loved being able to get to know the owners, ask them my numerous questions, and share my ideas. Regardless of the establishment, I would go back to Froyo solely for the owners (they are such a sweet couple!). But thankfully for them and Midwestern froyoaholics, the place rocks!

The Storefront itself is bright and cheery. Patrons are greeted my a glowing sign and floor to ceiling glass windows, luring them into the froyo heaven. There is definitely a tangible aura to the place-I'm not sure if it's the green apple colored walls, the likes of Katy Perry booming from the speakers, or the combination. In a nutshell, the place is alarmingly reminiscent of Yogurtland, with a touch Pinkberry. Not exactly innovative (well maybe for the area), but definitely warm and hip.

After the shock of candy colored walls wears off and you are able to fight through the throngs of sorority girls, you reach the backed tiled wall. Much like any self serve shop, under the 'how to' sign there is a small counter that houses the cups, which only come in two sizes-big and bigger. I overheard some costumers gripe about the monstrous cups, but once the toppings are in the mix I certainly had no complaints. To the right of the cups sit six, state-of-the-art Taylor machine, glimmering in the sea of blue and green glass tiles. The L-shaped walls (with two machines on one, and four on the other) do make it a bit of a struggle to maneuver, but overall the selections are impressive.

The only froyo brand offered is Dannon YoCream (which seems to be taking over the world). The flavors do rotate, but I am not aware of a set schedule-it is more like when one runs out they refill it with a new flavor. Another small flaw, which I attribute to being new, is that at one point there were two tart options (an original and a Euro), yet no staple vanilla. Also, you are able to sample the flavors, but you have to ask for the sample cups and then you may get anywhere from one to seven. At least they don't fill the sample cups for you-I really hate when they do that at a self-serve place, and then watch you as you try it!
On a positive note, I was around during the holidays and was pleased to see seasonal flavors, such as pumpkin pie (score!!!) and peppermint stick. The other flavor options that I noted over time were the two tarts, mango tart, alpine vanilla, cable car chocolate, dark chocolate, green tea, peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia nut, cookies and cream, chocolate mint, root bear float, and espresso. The bubble yum was, well, not yummy at all-please steer clear of that one. They also offer one NSA (like blueberry) or sorbet (like strawberry kiwi) flavor. Except for the tarts and sorbets, all the options are very creamy and extremely rich in flavor! The only issue I had was with the nutritional postings. The glass sign on the wall boasts 100 calories per 4 ounces, but I am confident that it does vary slightly among certain flavors. Also, it was a tad confusing as to which flavors contained trace fat, as some flavors like dark chocolate were labeled non-fat while others like peanut butter were without any label. Also, the froyo temperature was inconsistent at times, but mostly that was in the first month because they were so new. My favorite flavors there are the peanut butter, dark chocolate, cookies and cream, and pumpkin pie. Overall, quite divine!!!

Now on to the toppings schmorgasboard. There is quite a range-candy to cereal-to fresh fruit-to appease any pallet. I do have to note that sometime the berries are frozen, which I find bitter and greatly unappetizing. But the other offerings are great-a range of syrups (think fudge, caramel, and marshmallow), mini marshmallows, sprinkles, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, bananas, kiwi, huge cubes of cheesecake, and etc, etc, etc! One thing I found kinda odd was that they had a glass toppings sign on the wall behind the register, but it must have been made purely for decor purposes and  before they actually bought the toppings because it listed random things like grapes that clearly were no where to be seen. But, no biggy. The most notable topping by miles is the cookie dough. O-M-G. It is unbelievable!!! It looks and tastes like huge chunks of those circles of pre-formed Tollhouse dough balls. They are chilled, but still soft and chewy. Seriously, it has to be too good to be true (meaning that it IS the Tollhouse stuff, and therefore not egg-free), but I am more than willing to overlook that fact for the sake of my taste buds.
Once you finish loading up at the toppings buffet, you find yourself at the register, complete with a little scale. At 39 cents an ounce, Froyo's froyo is pretty economical, although I do find myself 'conveniently' setting my purse in front of the scale screen as to shield the obscene weight and price from the other patrons' innocent eyes. On average, I end up paying between six and nine dollars, but hey, that's just me (or more accurately it's the hunk of cookie dough hiding in my cup!).

On a final note, if you ever end up in the middle of the Midwest, anywhere remotely close to St. Louis (I give it a 50 mile radius-hey, day trip!), then GO TO FROYO. I give it 4/5 froyo cones! And also there is nowhere else to turn to hit that froyo craving in the butt. So my lovelies, with this post I depart on a mental journey back to beautiful Los Angeles, where the sun is hot, and the froyo rivers run deep. See ya there! <3

*expect more extensive pics for future posts-I wrote this after I left STL*

6329 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 862-1717