Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pink(berry) is the new Tasti D

The shop owner next door stood outside to watch the queue next door spill out onto the street in front of his space. Judging by the New York women in line, with their Dior sunglasses, Gucci fanny packs, expertly lined lips, and manicured tips--- one might have thought they were there to welcome a new shipment of Birkins. That is, until, the shop owner lamented, “People, it’s only frozen yogurt!”

The new temple of frozen yogurt is a West Coast transplant called Pinkberry. With its Avro-Ko-esque design, pure flavors and natural toppings, it proves an interesting juxtaposition with our (not for long?) beloved Tasti-di-Lite counters. I couldn't imagine a queue flowing past the bins of God-knows-how-old neon candies and random assortment of stuffed animals. Pinkberry makes Tasti D look like a fro-yo liquidation outlet.

Pinkberry’s proposition is simple- pure flavors of soft-serve frozen yogurt (only 2 options- original yogurt and Green Tea) and natural toppings (fresh fruit, almonds, granola, carob chips and even Cap’n Crunch). Cups come in 3 sizes (5, 8, and 12 oz.). There are also two flavors of smoothies available (I did not see anyone with a smoothie).

The beau and I went for an 8 oz. cup Original with 3 toppings ($5.50--- $5.95 total including tax), raspberry, blueberry, and chocolate chip. Having come from a rather filling ‘brunch’ at Viceroy (meatloaf for him, Thanksgiving turkey + mac & cheese for me) , we weren’t sure we’d be able to tackle the treat. However, on this particularly warm New York afternoon, we were especially thankful for the refreshment. The yogurt is different from most frozen yogurts- more sour, and truer to natural yogurt’s flavor, which may make it an acquired taste. However, I think it's the perfect base to balance the natural sweetness of the fruit. The texture was not too creamy, not too icy, yet stayed cold and held its own against the heat.

While I’m not sure that it’s really its novelty justifies its price (yogurt + fresh fruit- can’t any of us make this ourselves at home?) , I think Pinkberry will be a welcome addition to the New York snack/dessert scene. It has the potential to raise the profile of fresh-fruit-and-yogurt-as-indulgence. In many countries I’ve visited, fresh fruit is often the dessert of choice on the menu. Why is it that in the US, it’s more often triple chocolate molten lava cake?

Could Pinkberry wield its trendiness to generate a social movement and help Americans- namely New Yorkers- get back to dessert basics?

Nah... it’s only frozen yogurt.

Pinkberry (Various Locations)

160 8th Ave
New York, NY
No website.

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