I only ever begin to settle into a new city once I have found a regular spot. With that I mean "my" spot: Some place that will reliably get me through intense study sessions, early morning hangovers, caffeine cravings, or the need to catch up with friends. While you are reading this, you probably imagine a cute little café like the ones you'd find in movies and TV shows, where girls hang out to discuss their love lives and old men read their newspapers. Yeah... My go-to places have never looked like that.
I used to frequent Dutch beach bars, Mexican Burger Kings, Australian ice cream parlors and Arabic shisha restaurants. Here in DC, it's the new FroZenYo that opened around the corner from my apartment complex a few weeks ago. Since I moved here I kept walking past a small sign in the window of an empty storefront, with the words "Coming Soon" and the FroZenYo logo on it. The anticipation was killing me!
I admittedly don't know that much about frozen yogurt (yet), and how the different chains compare to each other, but what fascinates me about this one are the flavors and the fact that they change regularly. Since FroZenYo offers a self-serve concept, you get to mix and match to your heart's content and then spend ages in front of the toppings bar, because it is just too difficult to determine what might go well with the funky combination of flavors in your cup.
All flavors are either fat free or 98% fat free, with many non-dairy options. My favorites - so far - are red velvet (which really, really tastes like red velvet cake), peanut butter, and banana cream. The fruity varieties are always a safe bet because they are just so refreshing when it's humid and hot outside. I was disappointed by the cake batter and cheesecake flavors, both of which didn't live up to their names, and the sugar-free vanilla. Just because it's sugar-free doesn't mean it should taste like air.
The fact that all cups are large in size is a bit tricky, as it encourages customers to pile on the froyo and toppings irrespective of how much they are actually capable of eating. After all, the cup looks so much more attractive when it is full. So, while I always order a small portion at Pinkberry to stay on budget, I ended up paying almost $6 the first time I went to FroZenYo. I did enjoy this mountain of cheesecake, blueberry, and mango froyo with pieces of fruit, pound cake and cookie crumbs. But I also became more cautious on my next visits.
Toppings include fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, really good brownies, graham crackers, M&M's, Oreos, granola, crushed waffle cones, whipped cream and several colorful sauces. Hot fudge and caramel sauce are offered for free, so customers drizzle it on top of their creations after having weighed and paid for them.
FroZenYo is a Washington DC-based franchise with 13 locations across DC, Virginia and Maryland. It is rapidly expanding, with new stores planned for Boston and even Puerto Rico. Apart from a wide variety of frozen yogurt flavors (the list can be found here), it also serves locally roasted Zombie coffee.
Each location has a different kind of atmosphere. I recently discovered one in Ballston which looked bright and friendly and inviting, with families and couples sitting outside and enjoying a social evening out. In Rosslyn, FroZenYo mostly caters to people working in the nearby offices, who move in and out rather quickly. This, combined with a lack of coziness inside as well as seating outside, means that it is a lot less busy in the evenings. The same can be said about the Metro Center location.
Brownie Points for the red velvet, banana cream and peanut butter: 3 out of 3
Brownie Points for the blueberry, mango and snickerdoodle: 2 out of 3
Brownie Points for the cake batter and cheesecake: 1 out of 3Brownie Points for the fat-free vanilla: 0 out of 3