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Yogurt Craze hits South Beach

Porthos Jan 12, 2008 09:50 AM

Blissberry (obvious Pinkberry knockoff) hits the beach. Flavors include original and green tea. As far as I could tell, the original flavor tasted the same as Pinkberry. My friend said the green tea was pretty subpar.

Toppings include lots of fruit, nuts, cereal, etc. They said the mochi balls would be coming.

Corner of Alton and Lincoln, couple of stores down from Epicure.

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  1. c
    csiandhouse Jan 12, 2008 10:06 AM

    Thanks for posting about this!!
    I was just there last saturday and looking all over for a frozen yogurt place, and just decided on tasti-d-lite because I couldn't find anything.

    One question, is the yogurt fat free?

    7 Replies
    1. re: csiandhouse
      m
      mialebven Jan 13, 2008 07:21 PM

      Maybe for a healthier option, you should just stick with the gelato. As far as the gelato-craze goes, the rest of the country is still 5 or 10 years behind Miami.

      1. re: mialebven
        Porthos Jan 13, 2008 08:30 PM

        Mia. I know you love everything Miami, and that's admirable, but you have to try to be somewhat objective. How do you figure the rest of the country is 5-10 years behind Miami with regards to gelato?

        NYC has been churning out good gelato for a while now. See Il Laboratorio del Gelato (http://www.laboratoriodelgelato.com/) and previously Ciao Bella, not to mention Batali's olive oil gelato which I have yet to see in Miami. In southern california, I had excellent sicilian pistachio gelato in a shopping mall that tasted awfully close in texture and flavor to the gelato I've had in Rome...certainly better than anything I've had at Parmalat or Dulce (not to imply that either are the best in Miami).

        We could go down the number of Italians and transplants from Italy route again, but empirically, there's no evidence that the rest of the country is behind Miami for gelato.

        Finally, gelato is far from being "healthy". Maybe healthier than some ice cream, but certainly not healthier than this brand of frozen yogurt that we're talking about.

        A serving of Pinkberry yogurt (1/2 cup) is 98 calories and 0 grams fat compared to let's say, Ciao Bella vanilla gelato for reference: 210 calories and 108 calories from fat. Dryer's Grand French Vanilla ice cream (1/2 cup): 160 calories, 80 from fat.

        Rumors of gelato being "healthy" are greatly exaggerated.

        1. re: Porthos
          m
          mialebven Jan 13, 2008 09:45 PM

          I'm not putting down any other city when it comes to gelato, as most cities nowadays have them, thanks to growing chains the likes of Paciugo's (we even have this Dallas-based chain in Miami) and Piccomolo. But the truth is, Miami has always been ahead of other cities when it comes to gelato, and that's a bit indisputable, at least when one's counting by quantity, if not quality. I don't think anyone can argue that on a per capita basis, we have more gelateria than any other city in the United States, even including New York. We've had/had Bari (good), Coco (not good), Dolce Vita (good), Parmalat (good), Bacio (good), and numerous outposts of each (except for Bari, an Argentine branch that was on Lincoln Road, which went out of business). And then we have others like Roma, San Gelato (not good), Paciugo's (good), and others. In fact, can you think of any other city where you can get gelato in about half of our malls? I'm not saying they'll wow people, but we definitely have local people embracing gelato more so than in other cities.

          Il laboratorio in NYC is a wonderful gelateria, I've been there. But the rest I've tried in NYC were not very good, not even by Miami's standards. I've tried some small shops in Little Italy (I believe Ciao Bella is one of those gelaterias) - and even locals and knowledgeable tourists in New York would tell you to avoid them. I haven't heard of any other decent gelateria in New York. I've even tried Batali's olive oil gelato, in his restaurant (not a gelateria), and I'm not in a rush to try it again - it was overpriced, underwhelming, and if you enjoy the flavor of olive oil, then it's also oily (flavorwise). But it's not my thing and I can see why that flavor has never really caught on. It was a noble attempt at least.

          I'm not sure how gelato compares with frozen yogurt, but my understanding was that yogurt typically has more fat. But I may be wrong, and the general convention regarding gelato came about because of its comparison with ice cream. If the yogurt is healthier than the gelato, then I stand corrected.

          And no, I won't pull the Italian card. In fact, I read an article, back in the late 90's, that mentioned Miami as the gelato capital of the United States, and they've contributed the "craze" at the time (there's no really such craze anymore - as it has become a norm) to the influx of South Americans, who, frankly, eat gelato (aka helado) and not ice cream. It also explains why most of the people inside gelaterias would be speaking Spanish across South Florida.

          And if I remembered right, a big city like Houston had one gelateria (actually it was a Parmalat) that went out of business, and was bought over by Marble Slab (hence, none for several years) during the 90s while Miami had over 10 well established locations to get gelato. In fact, during that time, relatives of mine from Texas coming over from other parts of the country would make getting gelato in Miami one of the tasks in the to-do list.

          I thought most gelaterias in Miami had that pistachio flavor. But some people who have gone to Italy thinks the gelato in Miami compares closely. Perhaps they've been eating the Parmalat gelateria in Italy (after all, it's an Italian company).

          1. re: mialebven
            Porthos Jan 14, 2008 05:15 AM

            So a more accurate statement would be that Miami has more gelaterias/capita than other cities (if that is true). Saying that Miami is 5-10 years ahead of everyone else implies higher quality and/or more innovative flavors and that's definitely not the case.

            I think gelato in general in the US doesn't taste much like what I've had in Rome and or even compared to what I had at the Amorino chains in Paris. It's either too soft (Parmalat, Dolce) or too hard (Ciao Bella). That southern california gelateria was the closest in flavor and texture and Batali's olive oil gelato (specifically the ones at Otto and Osteria Mozza) are the closest in texture that I've had so far.

            1. re: Porthos
              t
              tpigeon Jan 14, 2008 12:15 PM

              I wish we could get oo gelato down here. That would be awesome.

              1. re: tpigeon
                lax2mia Jan 14, 2008 01:23 PM

                I'd give up every gelato shop in town for a Graeter's from Cincy.

          2. re: Porthos
            m
            mialebven Jan 13, 2008 09:54 PM

            Actually, let me correct myself. For pistachio flavored gelato, I've heard some good things coming out of Roma Organic Gelato. Try it out, it's in Brickell.

      2. Frodnesor Jan 12, 2008 12:04 PM

        Yogurt? What is it, 1985? Next you'll tell me that leg-warmers are making a comeback.

        20 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor
          netmover Jan 12, 2008 12:42 PM

          LOL!

          This craze came and went back in the 80's and 90's here on South Beach. This must be the second wave of this not highly revered dessert thing they call frozen yogurt. What was it TY?? on 10th and Ocean and Yogunfruz or some such garbage on 16th and Alton. I know there was another one somewhere else on South Beach too. They all came and went just like the tide...could it be that much better? I wonder if they got a Plum Card?

          1. re: netmover
            Porthos Jan 12, 2008 01:34 PM

            This second wave is of the korean version. It's a bit on the tart side and supposed to be healthy. It started with the Pinkberry phenom in LA which has subsequently lead to countless knockoffs. Pinkberry itself supposedly, is a knock off of a korean version.

            Interesting reads:

            http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033688/index.htm

            http://www.latimes.com/features/lifes...

            1. re: Porthos
              Frodnesor Jan 12, 2008 04:58 PM

              Is this stuff actually chow-worthy or is its popularity just the result of Far East / LA herd mentality?

              I've never had a bubble tea that didn't taste like ass and after several tries never could get what all the fuss was about. Suspect I'm going to feel the same about this stuff.

              1. re: Frodnesor
                Porthos Jan 13, 2008 07:00 AM

                It's about as chow-worthy as Jamba Juice. Lighter, cool snack. Not really a far east thing. Just tart yogurt with your choice of fruit toppings. I'm not sure anyone would know it started in Korea if they didn't already know the story behind it.

                You've had some nasty bubble tea Frod. Sorry. It's supposed to taste like coffee and chewy tapioca. Next time you're in LA, pick some up.

                Location correction: right next door to Epicure.

                1. re: Frodnesor
                  m
                  mialebven Jan 13, 2008 07:17 PM

                  This might sound weird, Frod, but try the (fresh) kiwi bubble tea with a dollup of vanilla ice cream. That's my favorite, and I've had it several times whenever I visit Houston (and I'm not Asian).

                  1. re: mialebven
                    Frodnesor Jan 13, 2008 07:47 PM

                    I've had too many bad expeirences - though I'll acknowledge that most have not involved fresh fruit but rather some fruit-flavored artificial concoctions probably better suited to covering the smells of public lavatories.

                    1. re: mialebven
                      karmalaw Jan 13, 2008 09:24 PM

                      Lan Cafe in Dadeland Center puts out a mean bubble tea.. many flavors to choose from (and they even have a walk-up tea window). I get the thai iced tea bubble tea.. quite tasty!

                  2. re: Porthos
                    netmover Jan 13, 2008 06:24 AM

                    Holy Sh*t!!! That CNN story is hard to beleive...maybe it will fly?

                    $350 Phillip Starck chairs did the trick for the Delano. Pulsating electronica music has worked at Space for years! And a ten dollar green tea yogurt with three toppings has got to be good for their bottom line!

                    Maybe they're on to something LAX...seems they are! They got that amex ad running for the Plum Card. They caught the eye of the Starbucks guy, they got immitators...40k upfront and 7% royalties ought to put a damper on anyone who takes the franchise local here...is Miami ready for Green Tea Yogurt? 250k per month is nothing to sneeze about, seeing how the grand Daddy TCBY's stores only average 200k per month. Perhaps they do fly in spite of everything? Again, we'll have to wait and see! As for Miami being 3 - 4 years behind...not so much now as back in the 80's and 90's. We'll undoubtedly get a Stinkberry before the rest of the country, NY and LA excluded.

                    The MIA is consistently mentioned in the same breath as NY and LA, Vegas being the other hot city...the rest have all sunk to second tier cities.

                2. re: Frodnesor
                  lax2mia Jan 12, 2008 04:28 PM

                  Frod, buddy, where have you been? This yogurt thing's been going on in L.A. for a while. So long now that there are a number of Pinkberry knockoffs.

                  There's even been some controversy that Pinkberry isn't even really yogurt. As usual, Miami's about 3 to 4 year behind everyone else.

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/400504

                  1. re: lax2mia
                    netmover Jan 12, 2008 04:54 PM

                    Pleeeease....we've been there done that lax...maybe not this exact brand of korean krap, but plenty of yogurterias have come and gone already. Anyone who's going to invest in a yogurt store on South Beach, or Miami for that matter, should think twice considering our history. And if it's an Asian thing, let's just say we don't really have the populace to support such ethnic delicacies. Again, time will tell...big splash or flash in the pan?

                    1. re: netmover
                      lax2mia Jan 13, 2008 06:44 AM

                      Yes net, we did it before. And guess what, we'll do it again, just like the rest of the country. Oh, according the the OP, we already are.

                      1. re: lax2mia
                        2top Jan 13, 2008 07:02 AM

                        I lost all interest when Ben & Jerry discontinued, Coffee Almond Fudge Low Fat Frozen Yogurt. That was years ago.

                        1. re: lax2mia
                          netmover Jan 13, 2008 07:07 AM

                          I give it a year...and BAM buhbye!

                          Haagan Daaz went out of business right next to the cinema for Pete's Sake and that's got to better than some Green Tea Yogurt, no?

                          1. re: netmover
                            b
                            Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 13, 2008 08:05 PM

                            I realize Cold Stone Creamery has finally hit South Florida, but I considered opening a franchise all the way back in 2000, before they made it that far south. If there are two things South Floridians love, they are ice cream and overpaying.

                            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                              karmalaw Jan 13, 2008 09:22 PM

                              I made the mistake of going into Cold Stone exactly once.. the ice cream was mediocre.. and most of the junk they want to squish into it isn't anything I'd want in my body.

                              1. re: karmalaw
                                t
                                tpigeon Jan 13, 2008 09:27 PM

                                Cold Stone: concept is good, excecution is a waste of precious calories.

                              2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                m
                                mialebven Jan 13, 2008 09:49 PM

                                I do love Cold Stone - I love the Berry Berry Berry Good! Maybe it's one berry too many!

                                1. re: mialebven
                                  t
                                  tpigeon Jan 13, 2008 09:55 PM

                                  Everyone has guilty pleasures, not going to begrudge you that :).

                              3. re: netmover
                                t
                                tpigeon Jan 13, 2008 09:26 PM

                                Re Haagen Datz: I wouldn't say out of business, they opened a new location in the middle of lincoln about a month before they closed by the cinema.

                                1. re: netmover
                                  t
                                  tpigeon Jan 13, 2008 09:30 PM

                                  I am generally against the concept of frozen yogurt. I believe if you are going to have a treat, have a real treat, not some watered down imitation.

                        2. lax2mia Jan 14, 2008 05:47 AM

                          Took one for the team. It's definitely a Pinkberry knockoff. As usual in Miami when a concept either comes here or is copied, the store looks unfinished and bare, like it opened before it was ready. There's nothing on the walls except a tiny menu with options (plain, green tea, toppings). The toppings area was woeful. The fruit looked like it had been out a while and the cut fruit was looking pretty bad.

                          The taste was like Pinkberry but seemed icier. One thing they do have going for them is they'll probably have a much larger male clientele than Pinkberry. Check out the uniforms and they free calendar they're handing out to see why.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lax2mia
                            Frodnesor Jan 14, 2008 06:00 AM

                            They're going to have a fight over website rights though - currently blissberry.com links to a site for breeding of nubian dairy goats!

                            http://www.blissberry.com/

                            1. re: Frodnesor
                              Porthos Jan 14, 2008 06:08 AM

                              "What's nubian mean?"

                              Too funny Frod.

                              As for lax's reference, it's standard South Beach operating procedure right? Copy it. Increase the price. Add cleavage.

                              1. re: Porthos
                                Frodnesor Jan 14, 2008 08:42 AM

                                Believe it or not, I actually stayed on a farm in Maine once that had a herd of nubian goats that it kept for cheese and other products. Unfortunately they've not gotten rid of the goats.

                          2. Frodnesor Mar 3, 2008 03:22 PM

                            OK - so I tried Blissberry this weekend. Having done so, I can now happily write this off as "One of those goofy food-fad things I can happily ignore," along with bubble tea.

                            "Original" Blissberry flavor tasted like frozen ass. Just tart, frozen ... stuff. There were maybe a half-dozen fruit options (fresh strawberry, mango, kiwi, papaya, canned pineapple and mandarin oranges) and perhaps a dozen different crunchies (chocolate chips, almonds, rice kispies, cap'n crunch, cocoa krispies, etc.). I put papaya and slivered almonds on mine, which wasn't completely bad (the papaya was actually in reasonably good shape). Also tried the green tea yogurt which I thought was marginally better. They also had a chocolate and something else.

                            If this stuff is supposed to be healthy, any nutritional information was being kept a deeply shrouded mystery. Couldn't find anything in the entire store.

                            I mean, what's the fuss about? $4 for a small cup plus $1/topping? For frozen ass and a tablespoon of breakfast cereal?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Frodnesor
                              t
                              tpigeon Mar 3, 2008 04:38 PM

                              Thank you for this post. You have never been better.

                              1. re: Frodnesor
                                Porthos Mar 3, 2008 05:18 PM

                                Ass can be quite delicious if prepared properly...

                                You're screwed Frod. More frozen yogurt is coming this way:

                                http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/27/din...

                                1. re: Frodnesor
                                  m
                                  mialebven Mar 3, 2008 06:59 PM

                                  Oy. I applaud for getting it out of the system - I still need to try the frozen yogurt here in Miami. But Frod, I wouldn't have tried Blissberry for my first impression as other frozen yogurt places seem to have garnered better reviews. It seems to be that the general consensus about Blissberry is that it is inferior to Pinkberry, a standard Chowhounders seem to have adopted. I'll be satisfied when someone in Miami says something like Red Kiwi or YogurBella isn't simply all that. But not Blissberry.

                                  1. re: mialebven
                                    RickL Apr 26, 2008 10:43 AM

                                    I swear this was an episode of Seinfeld - from Wednesday's NYT "The All-Natural Taste That Wasn’t" www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/dining/23y...

                                2. l
                                  laurenn.sierra Nov 11, 2009 10:27 AM

                                  the yogurt is exceptional and tart, with a large varierty of toppings. they also offer smoothies, teas, and juices and i believe will start sandwiches and salads soon. a totally healthy and delicious place to stop by for a small bite. the atmosphere is fun too! =)

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