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Jun 17, 2007 03:00 PM

Snowberry Turns Pinkberry Black & Blue

I was kicking around Koreatown today, and it was getting just a bit warm. Some nice cold frozen yogurt would be good. I saw the "Grand Opening" sign on the Snowberry storefront in the strip center on the northwest corner of Sixth and Western. So what the heck, right? It couldn't be worse than Pinkberry (which, of course, is the nine-hundred-ton fire-breathing ten-headed radioactive mutant gorilla of yogurt shops). Ah, not only was it not worse than Pinkberry, which doesn't say much, as I would categorize everything ranging from old steel-belted radials to whooping cough as "not worse" than Pinkberry; at least we have a vaccine to stop the spread of whooping cough. Yes, I would say Snowberry was indeed much, much better than Pinkberry.

The store has the standard Pinkberry-style set-up: soft-serve frozen yogurt machines, toppings, nothing else. And the standard plain and green tea flavors are there. But like Little Tokyo's CéFiore, Snowberry has branched out from those two flavors and offers an additional flavor - peach. The peach is subtle but distinct, blending nicely with the tartness of the yogurt, which, like all these new generation of yogurt places, is not too sweet. I didn't have the flavor fatigue I get with the plain or green tea yogurts, which was nice. It also has the creamier, more ice cream-like texture of CéFiore, as opposed to the more sorbet-like consistency of Pinkberry. At Snowberry, the cone of yogurt was not hollow à la Pinkberry. The server did not have to measure it on a scale to make sure she was properly bleeding me of every last dime in order to pay for the new branches in South Pasadena, Hermosa Beach, Walla Walla, the Forbidden City, and Tierra del Fuego. (If anyone doubts that Starbucks is Pinkberry's business model, just wait until the five-dollar cupcakes and Paul McCartney CDs start rolling in next year.) Snowberry had walnuts and mochi, an adequate trade for the Cap'n Crunch and Fruity Pebbles at the Pinkberry down Sixth at Serrano. And they piled the toppings high, too. There wasn't a bite of my large that didn't at least one piece of walnut or mochi or a blueberry in it. (It was mounded so that one of those little domes actually might have helped.)

I don't know if this was just a quirk of a generous server or not, but it made for a happy me, especially after too many encounters with Pinkberry's parsimony. (Not that it matters - I'm always sick of Pinkberry halfway through. It's more a matter of principle.) The store had just a trickle of people, unlike the mobs Pinkberry is always winning over with their high prices and hostile attitude. It seems like it should be the other way around, but hey, all those Alessi corkscrews and Design Within Reach lighting fixtures must mean Pinkberry's better, right?

A large plain is $5.50, $7.00 with three toppings; add a dollar more for either the green tea or peach. I don't remember the prices for the other sizes, but they can probably found on their website, which I somehow did remember:

Of course, I just opened the web page, and I'm hearing Starship's "We Built This City" streaming off the site. Pinkberry has committed many atrocities - if it was revealed they grind up live orphans to make their "chilly bliss," churning out some sort of frozen Soylent Green in two flavors with your choice of toppings, I wouldn't be shocked in the least - but they've never done anything as evil as play "We Built This City." Maybe I'm all turned around on this...

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  1. Well struck Woolsey!
    I especially love the marriage of pinkberry loathing with Starship loathing.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bodie

      Frylock! Master Shake is my idol. (That was totally off-topic, but your icon rocks. Um, Pinkberry is the devil.)

      1. re: Woolsey

        I really did not like Snowberry. It was too creamy like soft-serve ice cream with tart flavor thrown in as an after-thought. I think Ce Fiore is more like Pinkberry but with more citrus flavor and just a little creamier.

        1. re: misseatalot

          I think the ice cream-like quality is why I enjoyed it. The tartness in the peach, which I had, blends into the flavoring, so it's hard to distinguish how it fits into the product. It would be easier to judge off the plain or green tea, I'd imagine (Of course, as Pinkberry is not actual yogurt but a powdered artificial yogurt-flavored orphan-enhanced food-like substance, its tartness is also thrown after-the-fact.) I haven't been to CéFiore since it was plain old Fiore; it's had two names and two more flavors since that time. Perhaps my memory fails me a bit. I do recall its being better than Pinkberry, but then -- oh, let's not get into that again...

          1. re: Woolsey

            No, but what do you REALLY think about Pinkberry ? ;-)

            I kid -- I haven't yet been to Pinkberry, but have been to Yogurtland and there's that same "icy" quality that I didn't love. But Yogurtland has many different flavors and all sorts of great toppings, and it's self-serve. Sorry to hijack your thread. But since I've already done it, just wanted to mention that Tapioca Express is jumping on board the FY bandwagon. The TE in Irvine now has a machine and just one flavor, with limited toppings. I would have tried it but they were out of the "mix" (orphans ?) to make it.

            1. re: mikester

              Ditto on the Lollicup in the Nogales 99 Ranch!

              1. re: mikester

                Hijack away! I'm all about finding superior products to Stinkberry...

      2. I can't wait to check out Snowberry! But Woolsey, just so you know, Pinkberry too has mochi. It's just not displayed, you have to ask for it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: PlatypusJ

          I've read about there being mochi at Pinkberry, but I thought it was just at certain stores. But if it's hidden away under the counter or something, there's no way I'm going to request it, not with the attitude I've gotten from them in the past. The Koreatown Pinkberry has a terrible layout, and the long line snakes the opposite direction from the toppings counter, so one can't see what is offered until after one has ordered. (One can't even see what's offered WHILE one is ordering!) On my first visit, they had walnuts, but they didn't the second time. So, on my last regrettable visit, I asked, "Do you have walnuts?" "No, we have ALMONDS!", was the snotty reply. Sheesh. I don't need to be lorded over by a gang of Yogurt Nazis. I'll take my business somewhere that appreciates my money, especially when, clearly, quite a few of these places have a better product. I don't want to have to supplicate for four or five tiny cubes of rice cake meted out over my Soylent "chilly bliss." Forget that.

          1. re: Woolsey

            If you know what mochi should taste like, then pass on the PB stuff... if their froyo lists orphans as their main ingredient, then their "mochi" must be made of their eyeballs and preserved with formaldehyde... it's got a strange chemical taste to it... the mochi balls at Ce Fiore is more like mochi, and goes perfect with their azuki.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              The Snowberry mochi was like real mochi, quality stuff. Very nice, good slightly chewy texture, great subtle flavor.

              1. re: Woolsey

                You'd expect that, right? You'd think mochi was some sort of exotic concoction, the way that PB keeps it on its double-secret probation list...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  Hehe, a friend ordered mochi topping at Pinkberry and the owner stepped out and told the yogurt-tron in training "Don't put so much!" and swiped some off--in front of the customer. Wow. Just wow.

        2. Dropped by Snowberry today after a big lunch at Soot Bull Gui Rim. Noticed that Woolsey's post above was on display at the store :)

          I had a medium green tea with mochi, raspberries, and blackberries ($6.00). I tend to prefer a more creamy consistency, so I really liked their version. Their mochi as AWESOME. They are perfect bite-size pieces with great consistency. I thought it was a generous portion size for a medium.

          The only other 2 froyo places I've been to are CeFiore in Little Tokyo and Cantaloop. Cantaloop was a bit icy for my taste, but I liked the tartness. I liked CeFiore's variety of flavors.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lileor

            tried snowberry for the first time recently as well. i'm lovin' the peach flavor; the original is a bit TOO creamy for my taste, but maybe just something i'd need to get used to. the peach, however, was pitch perfect. pinkberry who?

            1. re: rameniac

              Why does flavored yogurt cost $1 more? Just pure gouging?

            2. re: lileor

              No. Freakin'. Way.

              I want some money!