Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fro-yo from The North: Yogen Früz

There are so many frozen yogurt shops opening up these days, I’m starting to get fro-yo burnout. Isn’t the fro-yo trend over already?

It seems like every time I turn the corner, I see a different frozen yogurt shop with its bright colors, contemporary design and the promise of a creamy fro-yo cup. That’s what happened when I was at the Embarcadero in San Francisco and noticed Yogen Früz with its smiley face logo.

Yogen Früz is from Toronto, Canada, and has more than 1,100 locations around the world. Its location at the Embarcadero Center 3 is fairly new. It’s smaller than other fro-yo shops in town, and lacks any seating. So it’s buy, and buh-bye.

When I checked it out, the girl behind the counter told me Yogen Früz is known for its blended yogurt, where they take your choice of frozen fruits and blend it with the plain yogurt, creating this colored creation. I didn’t like the idea of frozen fruits because I thought it’ll just give the yogurt an icy texture, and I’m not a fan of the icy fro-yo.

So I got their regular frozen yogurt with toppings. They only have one flavor—plain. I got a small cup and topped it with mango. I forgot how much I paid for it (maybe around $3) but it was pretty average to what other fro-yo shops charge.

First off, the girl didn’t do a good job making the swirl. Doesn’t it look kind of like a flying piece of poop? I know, not the best imagery but that’s what came to mind. Then the fresh mango was not really that fresh, so it had this odd slimy texture to it.

OK, so the fruits could be better if I chose something more local and in season like blueberries or strawberries. What about the fro-yo? Well, it was milky and did have slight touches of iciness to it. I wouldn’t describe it as very creamy. In fact, it did have a feel of being almost watered down. It’s more the plain side than tart, which you get from the Korean-influenced fro-yo spots like Pinkberry and Red Mango.

Yogen Früz’s yogurt wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I think this is why I currently feel burned out on fro-yo. After eating this cup, I’m starting to forget what’s the big fuss about fro-yo?

For you, my readers, I will still venture forward and test the many new fro-yo shops even if it kills me. I hope one day one fro-yo cup will reignite my love of frozen yogurt.

Moving forward, I’m going to provide a ranking of the fro-yo spots I’ve tried, listing them in the order of my favorites. Of course, the standings will change with each new shop I try. For now, here’s how it stands:

1. Red Mango, Palo Alto
2. Fraiche, Palo Alto
3. Icebee, San Francisco
4. Jubili, San Francisco
5. Yogurt Harmony, Berkeley
6. Yogen Früz, San Francisco

Yogen Früz, 3 Embarcadero Center, street level, San Francisco. PH: 415.627.9158,


Julie said...

Be sure to try yoCup in Rincon Center - it's the best of the new ones I've tried so far.

foodhoe said...

Single guy chef, you crack me up! Well we have to give you credit for your tenacity in investigative reporting. I've been there and had just a plain chocolate, which was pretty tart. I liked it all right, but thought it was on the spendy side for what it was.

Verena said...

i remember having yogen fruz as a kid in toronto and vancouver and loving it. i've always had the plain froyo mixed and churned in a machine with frozen fruits (i like blueberries and strawberries), which was pretty refreshing. maybe u can try that next time.

and i'm w/ u in that once u get used to the tanginess of the "modern" froyo, the plain froyo they have there does taste comparatively sweeter and indeed plainer.

saudade said...

I echo Julie on this -- YoCup is quite good. I had the plain with fresh ginormous plump blackberries and it was divine. But FYI, I did detect a bit of icy.

Anyway, thanks for taking one for the team!

Chef Ben said...

Mmmm, sounds like YoCup might have to be my next stop! :)

Foodhoe, I didn't realize they had chocolate at Yogen Fruz? When I asked if the topping yogurt comes only in plain, the girl said yeah. She never mentioned chocolate. I hear the lines are crazy during the work week.

Verena, I agree. I like the slight tartness and get bored by the plain milk like flavors.