Now that Pinkberrys and Red Mangoes are staking their territory and sprouting up throughout the city, there appears to also be a mini-trend of self serve fro-yo places. After my varenyky fest on Sunday, I decided to check out Yogurtland on Bleeker Street to see what swirl your own fro-yo is like...
(I should have angled the camera from the doorway into the shop!)
I'll admit that a small part of me does kind of enjoy scanning my own groceries. Of course the glow self empowerment swiftly vanishes when the electronic checkout helper loudly accuses you of shoplifting because you misbagged your box of Skinny Cow Fudge Bars and then a store manager has to come over and 1) listen to your sob story about the mistaken bagging of aforementioned Fudge Bars, 2) clear your error, and 3) pretend they aren't closely monitoring your every self checking maneuver thereafter. Ok, maybe self checkout isn't all that's cracked up to be, but it's a good idea in theory, right? And so is self serve yogurt...
Yogurtland operates under the premises that people like yogurt, people like choice, and people will always serve themselves way more than they need. At 39 cents an ounce for both yogurt and/or toppings it's not a bad deal as far as fro-yo goes. 4 ounces of frozen yogurt with 2 ounces of toppings would come out to $2.34 plus tax. But anyone who has ever visited a by the pound buffet knows that most people are terrible at estimating weight, so unless you are committed to getting just the right amount of fro-yo, you will probably pay more than you expect.
On my visit to Yogurtland, I entered the store and marveled at their shiny machines. I wasn't actually hungry post varenyky--potato dumplings and sauerkraut making for a good and filling meal--but I was intrigued, so I was delighted when the store owner seeing my glassy stare offered me a couple little sample cups that I could fill. Hmmm. Swirl your own yogurt for free. I could get behind this.
The problem started when I attempted to pump my own yogurt. The machine was slow to respond. Much churning and grinding ensued. Some yogurty wetness spouted out. Not necessarily the most appetizing introduction. Eventually the yogurt came out. I imagine that they probably have the machines set to average idiot mode so the that the yogurt doesn't come gushing out and people who lack yogurt swirling experience can swirl without fear of making a mess, but I like to think that I could have handled a wee bit more speed.
Noticing this sign, I had to ask the management what the difference was between the Strawberry and the Strawberry Tart. I was imagining the Strawberry Tart might have like little pieces of crust or something like a well, Strawberry Tart, but apparently Strawberry is your typical Strawberry Yogurt and Strawberry Tart has less sugar, less calories, and a hint of lemon. Ah.
I filled my first cup with the "Plain Tart" and my second with the "Mango Tart." Both were a bit watery and icy to my liking and not nearly and creamy and smooth as the ultimate in fro-yo: Frogurt from Forty Carrots at Bloomingdales, you are still the champion in my heart.
267 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Seven of the eight Yogurtland Self Serve Machines