Although it was only last summer that an insurmountable number of self-serve frozen yogurt chains began popping up throughout the KC metro area, B and I have been following the trend since the summer of 2008. Yes, this is one of those times when dropping the line “We have family in LA” is again relevant.
Three summers ago, I was un-officially instated as a member of B’s family with a trip to visit his dad’s family in California. And, while the traffic and the cost of living will keep us from ever moving there ourselves, we did find one reason to seriously consider it as an option: Yogurtland.
We stumbled across the eatery one evening at a mall near B’s grandparents’ house in Downey, CA. Filling our cups to the brim with 5+ flavors of yogurt and 7+toppings each, our grand total came to about $52,000. But even spoonful of melt-in-your-mouth, run-down-your-chin, yogurty goodness was worth it. The experience may have been enhanced by the fact that it was the first 15 minutes we’d spent alone in the past 10 days; vacays with the fam can be taxing (especially when you’re meeting 15 new family members each day!), and sliding into 16 oz. of frozen dessert was the perfect way to drown my worries.
Immediately upon returning to the Midwest, we googled the nearest Yogurtland, and were acutely disappointed to discover that the one we’d visited was just about it. Those people in CA really are ahead of the game…
Well, as you know, we are no longer living yogurt-less. B and I were beyond thrilled when an Orange Leaf went in close to my parents’ house in the KC area. Then, self-serve delicacies were rapidly appearing at every corner–almost literally. (I just used my Google Places app and found 12 with-in a five mile radius of our apartment.) After once consuming fro-yo four subsequent nights, B and I were forced to instate a once-a-week rule.
And, although it’s not exactly a guilt-free dessert, the low-fat and fat-free fro-yo is a healthier choice than ice cream. A four-oz. scoop of Baskin-Robbins chocolate ice cream weighs in at 260 calories and 14 grams of fat. A “Like It” chocolate ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery contains 320 calories and 20 grams of fat (must be why it’s so good!). Even their “Sinless Sans Fat Sweet Cream” racks up 170 calories (okay, that’s really not bad–and it’s so delicious!). But Orange Leaf markets this creamy goodness that clocks in at only 152 calories for a four-oz. serving of chocolate, with only 4 grams of fat. Whoa! Of course, my favorite toppings (chocolate-covered raisins and cookie dough bites) add a couple hundred on top of that.
(By the way, Orange Leaf has changed their website, and now, to see their nutrition information, you have to download their app. I’m a huge fan of fro-yo–clearly–but an app for dessert?? Well, I’m their newest subscriber, so we’ll see what they have to offer…)
Even more than the figure-friendly (thanks for the phrase, Rachael Ray) nutrition info, what I love about visiting these dessert establishments is the atmosphere. Have you ever noticed the smiles, the friendly greetings, and the over-all climate of a frozen yogurt store? I think it’s chemically impossible to be in a sour mood while enjoying this creamy treat.
No matter your taste in dessert, there’s something for everyone. Are you in the mood for sweet or fruity? Candy or granola? Everyone has their own technique for filling their bucket. Swirled or side-by-side? Evenly distributed toppings, or carefully separated atop each individual flavor?
B and I use frozen yogurt for all sorts of situations: date nights, celebrations, mood-boosters. And, every time, it brings me back to that first night in CA–a time when we were traveling together for the first time, meeting each other’s families, and just falling in love. Every time I remember again how that felt, and how lucky I am that three summers later, we’re still enjoying that creamy delicacy together.