I first heard of Pinkberry when I was perusing the LA Times last year and came upon the following headline:
My first thoughts before reading the entire article, "Hmmm, a new strip club? Why are they always sticking strip clubs near innocent neighborhoods? Why don't they ever put any strip clubs near my neighborhood?"
Turns out that Pinkberry was not the name of a new nudie bar. Pinkberry was a frozen yogurt joint that reportedly served the most bestest and tastiest frozen yogurt imaginable, frozen yogurt that was topped with everything from Cap'n Crunch to fresh berries.
My first thoughts after reading the article, "Dude, it's just frozen yogurt with toppings, how good can it be? That's definitely not Cuttino!"
[A quick aside. You're probably wondering what the hell "not Cuttino" is. You're not? Oh, well, I'll tell you anyways. My good buddy Matt happens to be a sports writer for the Riverside Press Enterprise. Sometime last year, Matt interviewed Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley about Lakers fans and Clippers fans. Mobley pretty much said Clippers fans were true sports fans and Lakers fans were a bunch of followers. Mobley then ended the interview by saying, "That's not Cuttino!" about the trendiness of Lakers fans. Ever since then, me and Matt refer to everything trendy as "Not Cuttino".]
That really wasn't a quick aside was it? I am a terribly slow storyteller!
Where was I? Oh, yes. Pinkberry. After that initial article, I didn't give much thought to the frozen yogurt eatery (froyogurtery?). But then the buzz hit Chow, and it hit other food blogs, and then I heard Pinkberry namedropped on The Hills (You brought my roses to Audrina at Pinkberry!!). Uh, not that I watch that show or anything. I'm a grown-ass man. Watching The Hills is NOT CUTTINO!
A Pinkberry Pandemic was spreading across the land as more and more of these "trendy" frozen yogurt shops were popping up across SoCal and even into New York. I had to try this stuff out. It had to be tasty right? Alas, no Pinkberries (or gentleman's clubs for that matter) were open near the Burnt Lumpia World Wide Headquarters in the Inland Empire. Until last week that is.
A shiny and new Pinkberry opened up at Victoria Gardens in The Kook, otherwise known as Rancho Cucamonga. My wife and I lovingly refer to Rancho Cucamonga as "The Kook" because it sounds a lot cooler than "The R.C." or "The Ranch" or "The Monga". Actually, "The Monga" does have a nice ring to it; I'll run it by the wife and see if it sticks.
Anyhoo, on Sunday the wife and I ventured to The Kook to have our Pinkberries popped. Inside Pinkberry, chic plastic tables and fancy plastic pendant lights gave off the aura of some kind of strange art space, or perhaps a futuristic furniture gallery. Besides my wife and I, and the four Pinkberry Worker Girls behind the counter, there was only one other customer at this new location. I was glad I didn't have to line up outside with a mass of people jonesing for frozen spoiled milk.
Pinkberry only serves two flavors of frozen yogurt: plain and green tea. And as I mentioned earlier, they have a plethora of toppings ranging from cereal to fresh fruit to chocolate chips. After reading so many articles and blog posts about Pinkberry, I already knew what I was going to order as I was privy to some inside information: Mochi!
Mochi are small, chewy, slightly sweet Japanese rice cakes that are made by pounding glutinous rice. Mochi can also be ordered as a topping to your frozen yogurt at Pinkberry, even though Mochi is not listed on the menu (it's kinda like ordering a double-double animal-style at In-N-Out, shhhhh!).
I ordered a small plain yogurt with fresh raspberries and Mochi. My wife ordered a small green tea yogurt with fresh kiwi slices. Pinkberry Worker Girl #1 prepared our order while Pinkberry Worker Girl #2 rang us up at the register. Nos. 3 and 4 got it on in the back room (not really, they just stood there doing nothing while #1 and #2 worked).
#1 then asked me if it was OK if she put my raspberries in a separate cup on the side because "It gets overflowy" (her words not mine). I thought that was weird, but what did I know, I was a Pinkberry virgin, who am I to question overflowyness? I also figured these Pinkberry Worker Girls were also learning as they went, so perhaps everything was not up to Pinkberry Protocol at this newest outpost just yet.
That's my Raspberry and Mochi with plain yogurt. If you're keeping score at home, the swirly thing in the middle is the yogurt, the red things are raspberries, and the white marshmallow-looking things are the Mochi. I had more raspberries than what is shown in the picture in a separate cup. The wife and her Kiwi and green tea yogurt are in the background.
Now, I haven't had frozen yogurt since I cuffed my jeans, and that was a long time ago. So after taking my first bite/lick off of that patented Pinkberry Peak of frozen yogurt, I was quite surprised. It was pretty freakin' good! It was tangy and sweet, but the thing that surprised me most was the texture. It was creamy, but still a bit icy - icy in a good way mind you. I guess I was expecting something more ice cream-like, but this yogurt was definitely delicious, especially with the Mochi and raspberries. I don't think I'd order other toppings again, I've decided I'm set on the raspberries and Mochi. That's how I roll.
My wife's green tea was also very tasty, but I think we both prefer the plain yogurt over the green tea.
After tasting Pinkberry for the first time, I do see what all the hype was about. Pinkberry frozen yogurt is pretty darn tasty. And who cares if it's trendy? Who cares if it's not Cuttino?
Will I go out of my way to drive out to The Kook for a Pinkberry fix? Probably not. But if I happen to be in the area, and if I'm in the mood for a cool and tangy treat, then yes, I'd pay Pinkberry a visit again.