Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tutti Tutti Fro-Yo in the Marina

When I was traveling in Italy, one of my favorite words I saw around was “tutti.” It just sounded like so much fun, especially when you say it twice, tutti tutti. But what it has to do with frozen yogurt, I can’t tell ya.

But there I was on Chestnut Street in the Marina district of the city at Tuttimelon, another fro-yo shop in the Bay Area. This is actually the second location of Tuttimelon; the first one is in the outer Sunset on Irving Street (and there are three more planned for North Beach, Russian Hill, and Noe Valley and one in Alameda across the bay).

Tuttimelon is a mixed breed of frozen yogurt shop and gelato stand. I guess they’re trying to live up to its Italian-sounding name. (They also sell smoothies.) But I was there in my continuing search for the best fro-yo in the area.

I’ve basically been doing taste-tests with the original flavor, usually topped by strawberries. But I was feeling adventurous on this day so I got Tuttimelon’s mango fro-yo. Other flavors include blueberry and chocolate. I topped my mango fro-yo with strawberries at least, for some consistency.

The sign warns that the mango is tart, and they weren’t kidding. It was more tart than some of the tart original flavors I’ve tried. It was unusually pleasant in a weird shock-to-my-senses good kind of way. But what really impressed me was the thick and creamy texture, which was very nice (and yes, not at all icy). It actually is very similar to the texture found at YoCup. (In fact, in my rankings below I give Tuttimelon a slight edge over YoCup, mostly because I like their mango better than YoCup's and it's slightly cheaper.)

Tuttimelon’s fro-yo is priced at $1.95 (small), $2.95 (medium), and $3.95 (large) for the original while the other flavors cost $2.45 (small), $3.45 (medium), and $4.45 (large). Toppings are 75 cents for one, $1.15 for two, and $1.45 for three.

In its marketing, Tuttimelon seems to emphasize its product’s non-fat status more so than any of the other yogurt shops. It claims on its Web site that its fro-yo is only 30 calories per ounce (and they do give the ounces in their signage so you can figure it out). So for my small mango fro-yo, I ate 150 calories. Hmm, sounds like I could eat five more!

Tuttimelon seems to draw a mixed crowd of those who want the yogurt and those that want the gelato. It’s perfect for the neighborhood (and funny it has the same walls with wavy yogurt swirls like at Fraiche in Palo Alto) and go for the mango if you’re into puckering. ;-)

Single Guy's Fro-yo Rankings:

1. Red Mango, Palo Alto
2. Pinkberry, Southern California
3. Tuttimelon, San Francisco
4. YoCup, San Francisco
5. Fraiche, Palo Alto
6. Icebee, San Francisco
7. Jubili, San Francisco
8. Yogurt Harmony, Berkeley
9. Yogen Früz, San Francisco

Tuttimelon, 2240 Chestnut St., San Francisco (second location at 2150 Irving St.). Opened 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (later to midnight on Friday and Saturday).

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