Monday, August 11, 2008

Yo-yo-yo, it’s another fro-yo review

Continuing to eat my way through the frozen yogurt craze, I took a cue from some of you who suggested I make YoCup my next destination.

So last week after work, I went to the Rincon Center south of San Francisco’s Financial District and found a near-empty YoCup store in the courtyard (just a stone’s throw from the popular Yank Sing dim sum restaurant). I guess everyone was busy rushing home to dinner. Who eats yogurt before dinner? Oh yeah, me. The food blogger.

Of all the fro-yo spots I’ve visited, YoCup seemed the least dynamic. Sure, it was pristine in its pure white base, but the complementing pastel colors seemed to fade into the background, making the place seem even more empty and stark.

YoCup serves three frozen yogurt flavors: original, blueberry and mango. The mango was interestingly tart, but I opted for the original. Instead of my usual strawberry toppings, I went for lychee this time. YoCup is one of those fro-yo places that likes to play with the names of the sizes (just like mi my mo at Jubili). So here you can get a “teaser” (small), “pleaser” (medium) or “filler” (large).

I’m pretty sure the $3.50 for my teaser fro-yo included the one topping. If you get the larger sizes, you get more choices for toppings. The lychee, while one of my favorite fruits from a can, did look kind of plain next to my white original fro-yo.

But on the yogurt, YoCup’s is definitely different from all the rest. It was denser, thicker, almost like ice cream. That was a nice surprise. It was slightly tart, but not too much. The downside of it being thick, however, is that it was really really cold. Seriously. You could get a brain freeze if you ate it too fast. Really.

There were a few bits of icy particles, which I assume comes from being so dang cold. But it wasn’t the same annoying icy texture I’ve had at other fro-yo shops where the texture is grainy because of the iciness. Overall, I liked YoCup.

Walking back to the BART station along Market Street, I stumbled across YoCup’s new second location. It’s more convenient with more foot traffic than inside the Rincon Center. I’d suggest looking for this YoCup since it’ll be easier to spot than weaving your way around the Rincon Center. Peace out.

Single Guy's Fro-yo Rankings:

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

YoCup, 101 Spear St., first floor courtyard of the Rincon Center, opened Mon.–Sat.; and 685 Market St., opened daily.


Anonymous said...

I keep reading all your Fro-Yo reviews and realize I'm just going to have to go find one of them to see what all the fuss is about!

Anonymous said...

Wow, YoCup wins the third berth on your list _ impressive. I'll have to nab a cup when I'm in SF next. Plus, gotta love the goofy name, too.

Anonymous said...

As someone that's worked in and managed a yogurt shop for almost 3 years I can divulge some lowdown - the "icy" texture that some frozen yogurts have is simply due to either 1) the recipe having too much water/milk to stabilizer ratio (usually vegetable, but who knows these days), or 2) because of the machines. The machines need to be put on a certain setting every night, and if that's forgotten or the machines and the yogurt inside aren't treated properly, you get tiny ice crystals forming in the liquid. The better yogurt shops (such as mine ;) take care to drain out the yogurt when this occurs, but some of the other careless companies/employees don't due to fiscal and perhaps other (i.e. being lazy) reasons. And I am comfortable saying that most (70-80%) of the yogurt shops out there use commercially available product rather than an in-house recipe, so assuming that the recipe was developed specifically for the machines such as Taylor's used for frozen yogurt applications, I would blame the employees not cleaning out the machines, or not turning them off.

And having gone to so many yogurt shops, I can say without a doubt that I have one clear favorite, but I can't divulge, since that would be considered biased. Suffice it to say, I think YoCup's Original flavor is bomb.

Single Guy Ben said...

Wow, thanks for the insight. Makes a lot of sense. Too bad fro-yo places have to rely on the employees, where some places it's just some teenager.