Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RESTAURANT: Pinkberry


So I finally tried this famous (infamous?) yogurt shop that has begun the conquest of Los Angeles. The yogurt that is called "crackberry" by many. What the L.A. Times calls "the yogurt that launched a thousand parking tickets" due to the notoriously bad parking situation in its original location and its customers tendency to wait in lines for hours. It's the newest thing, taking the place of cupcakes, it seems. It's a rebirth of the frozen yogurt fad of the late '80s, but this time it's different. This yogurt is different.

So, my lazy ass might be persuaded to go there, even though it's outside my 2 mile radius of things around my apartment. If it's really that good, I would go the extra .1 mile. But I would not go the extra .1 mile, AND have to go crazy trying to find parking AND then have to wait in life until my hairs turn grey. Nothing is that good.

But now there's one I can walk to, and the line is not that long, so we decided to try it now after dinner tonight. Unfortunately, I was kind of underwhelmed. It's not Pinkberry's fault. It's the fault of the people who talk about it. I have often heard Pinkberry described as "sour yogurt" or "it tastes like real yogurt that's been frozen." And so I thought it was going to be really tangy--that it would taste like REAL yogurt that had been frozen. And when I say real yogurt, I mean like a Stonyfield Farm plain yogurt ... but frozen. Instead, what I got was frozen Yoplait.

I had heard that it wasn't sweet, but it definitely tasted sweet to me. I think it's my old lady palate that seems to like sweet things less and less with each passing day. The yogurt tasted not only sweet but artificial. Maybe because most people eat flavored and sweetened yogurts, this really does taste like real yogurt to them?

I really would like to know what's in this, because I have read conflicting things: it has active cultures in it, it has no active cultures and is made from yogurt powder, it has no fat and no sugar, it has full fat and real sugar, and on and on. The makers claim it has around 20 calories per ounce, which is not very much. But then I see people getting a medium or large with graham crackers, chocolate chips and Cap'n Crunch on top and I wonder how healthy that is after you pack all of the toppings on. And I also wonder, looking at the gigantic sizes people are getting, whether people are replacing meals with this ... because if they are then "healthy" is not the word for that.

Anyway, Pinkberry, much like the Yoplait it reminds me of, is not a place I will be craving daily or going out of my way to eat at. But at the same time, I didn't think it was bad or gross ... it was still pretty good and if I happen to be say, eating at M de Chaya , or with a friend who is craving it, then I won't refuse to go in.

10 comments:

It seems to me, yogurt is yogurt... ya can't get yogurt without bacteria. ergo, bacteria is bacteria, powdered or not. in the long run, yogurt is one of those delicious food stuffs that is best not knowing 'how it came to be'.
especially when the govt sez:

'Yogurt must by law contain at least 10 million bacteria per gram at the time it is marketed.'

which is probably less than the potato salad at the local buffett.

what's better than a bowl full of bacteria sprinkled with M&M's???

said by Sooslo at 9:37 AM Delete

oops... I meant buffet...

(I loves me some jimmy buffett though)

said by Sooslo at 9:39 AM Delete

glad you'd be willing to go the extra mile for my cravings! i don't know what it is, but i think it tastes great w/o toppings and i could eat it everyday. if there aren't any healthy properties, like the active cultures, then, i'll probably have to cut back my consumption. just like the frozen yogurt of the 80s and early 90s i'm sure plenty of future anorexics will be eating a large pinkberry instead of lunch and dinner thinking they are losing weight, the 'healthy' way.

said by French Toastie at 3:19 PM Delete

Any time, babe. I don't think it's really bad to eat this ... I just question the fact that it's any healthier than normal frozen yogurt. As long as you're just getting it as your regular dessert, and especially if you're just getting it plain or with fruit, I think this is a fine thing to have and is not especially bad for you.

I believe it's basically just yogurt and sugar. I don't believe it's JUST yogurt, frozen. And of course, when people start throwing Cap'n Crunch and chocolate chips and stuff on there, they have to realize they're throwing all talk of "healthy" out the window.

Plus, soft serve yogurts are notorious for having more calories than they are claimed to, so I wouldn't be surprised if this does too.

But hey, it's a dessert. Dessert is supposed to be kind of sugary and bad for you. So I think as long as you realize what you're eating, it's fine.

Where it's bad is, like you say, with the eating disorder kids who eat this stuff for lunch and dinner. We had plenty of those with fro-yo when I was in high school--watch for it to start again.

said by KT at 3:29 PM Delete

I thought it lived up to the hype. And now? There's one in Westwood, by the Baja Fresh. Happy day for westsiders

said by Vaguely Urban at 4:47 PM Delete

Well, I'm a sourpuss ... I like drinks with bitters and campari, and in my cooking class, I was chomping down my broccoli rabe while everyone else was pushing it to the side of their plate.

I'm not saying I didn't like it. It was good. But it's been a couple days and I haven't yet experienced the overwhelming need to go back.

I attribute it to the fact that I refrained from getting the "Fruity Pebbles" topping, which IS my personal crack and if I had eaten them, I would probably be back there at this minute.

said by KT at 5:16 PM Delete

bacteria counts as deep end dining. maybe i should review pinkberry like everyone else!

said by Eddie Lin at 10:19 AM Delete

Okay, I'm late to this post, but I have to chime in here.

Pinkberry = yuckko!!!

Sour, funky, long lines, parking hell. Nope. Nothing fun here.

said by Acme Instant Food at 3:11 PM Delete

Well, at least with all the new Pinkberries, the long lines don't seem to be such an issue anymore .... anyway, if everyone is waiting in line at Pinkberry, that means more gelato for me!

said by KT at 3:15 PM Delete

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