If you are what you eat, I?m a tall, lithe twirl of dairy, or something like dairy. I?m a mulatto of sorts, half white and half black, borne from thrice-weekly trips to TCBY throughout my pubescence.
But since then, I?ve been off the yo, having matured and discovered better ways to spend my money. Until now. Until Crackberry, the more common nickname for Pinkberry, the Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt phenomenon, brought fro yo back into the mainstream, right along with the rest of 1990, and encouraged a nationwide deluge of copycats, even in rainy Seattle.
Thank goodness we're smarter now than in 1990. Designers figured out that pegged pants would be easier to deal with if they just made our jeans skinnier permanently, and there?s finally frozen yogurt made from ? I know, it?s crazy ? real yogurt.
I still don?t own skinny jeans, but when Korean-based Red Mango, the self-proclaimed originator of the healthy frozen yogurt trend, opened last week in Bellevue Square, I decided I had to find a seat on Seattle?s fro yo train and see what all the buzz is about.
For the next week or so, I'll be searching for Seattle's Best Frozen Yogurt.
SBFY Part One: Red Mango
WHERE: Red Mango, Bellevue Square Mall
WHAT: Small ?original? swirl topped with strawberries and miniature chocolate morsels
WHEN: Yesterday, 2 p.m.
WOULD I GO AGAIN? Resounding YEP. Especially if my alternatives are Cinnabon or Orange Julius.
OFFICIAL TASTING NOTES:
Like many, Red Mango offers two yogurt flavors: Original (read: plain) and green tea. When I sampled each, I gravitated immediately toward the plain?s tart, clean flavor; the green tea begins with pure yogurt taste and melts to matcha in the mouth. I?d expected the gentle bitterness of the green tea flavor, but was surprised by a slight grittiness.
My ?original? was super creamy, and left a pleasant, bright aftertaste in my mouth, nothing like the corn syrup coating some frozen yogurts leave. I set my cup down in a stream of sunlight at a table next to a gaggle of Lululemon employees gushing over their own yogurts, meaning to take a photo and take the yo to go. But instead I sat, and savored it spoonful by lowfat spoonful, pausing much longer than I ever expected I would in the middle of a mall. I decided I?m not really comfortable even calling this product the same thing. Maybe I?ll ditch ?fro yo? in favor of ?Zen gurt.? No cute rhyme, but people, this is no TCBwhatever (is it really yogurt?).
Like most of these new yogurt joints, Red Mango offers a panoply of toppings. The rainbows of fresh fruit at the counter match the mood of a health-conscious ice cream shop filled with the Bellevue elite, arms loaded with shopping bags like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But where I?d hoped Red Mango could be different, more pure ? I?d fantasized that they?d skip the kids? cereal toppings other shops capitalize on ? they failed me. I don't get it - what's the point of seeking out frozen yogurt for dessert if you're going to load it up with Cap'n Crunch? But if you?re into making healthy food choices for the sake of lording them over your friends but secretly love your Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Red Mango won?t let you down. I hedged, and went with strawberries (fresh) and dark chocolate chips (isn't chocolate a health food now?).
Two more disappointments: 1) Topping serving size. Red Mango's website makes the fruit look so refreshing, but when I watched the person in front of me pay a buck for SIX carefully-placed raspberries, I cringed. 2) Where's the jingle? Seattle deserves a jingle.
Note: Red Mango?s hard opening is this Saturday, when you?ll be able to line up between 12 and 2 p.m. for free swag. It?s also opening stores in Alderwood Mall and Westfield Southcenter soon. And FYI, if you're seriously allergic to anything, skip Red Mango. I noticed a disclaimer on their website warning people with allergies to treenuts, peanut, eggs, soy, milk, and wheat. Sorry.
Red Mango, 1031 Bellevue Square, (425) 216-2304. BELLEVUE
Open Mon. - Sat. 9:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Coming up: Crazyberry, YoBerry, ce?fiore, and Shy Giant. Maybe Schnoo. Do you have a favorite?