Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Man cannot live on chicken biscuits alone...no matter how hard he tries

So I might've been pretty close to getting scurvy. I figured I should balance things out with a few fruits or vegetables or something. Well, I used pickle brine on my chicken (will post about that tomorrow/later today) so that's technically a vegetable right? Figured I should eat some fruit. What better way to eat fruit than with frozen yogurt?

This whole frozen yogurt insanity actually started in 2002 with Korea's Red Mango. Pinkberry is a filthy knockoff, though many people give it credit for starting the craze. These must be the same people that think General Tso's chicken is an ancient Chinese secret, and that the Star Wars prequels were awesome.

The first time I had Red Mango in Korea I was blown away. I had no idea it was supposedly healthy at the time, but it didn't matter. The yogurt was unbelievably smooth, rich, and instead of artificial vanilla sweetness, was tart and well...yogurty. The fresh fruit toppings reminded me of my other favorite yogurt spot in the Dayton's basement in Minneapolis (now a Macy's...I wonder if that yogurt place is still there...) A subsequent trip to Korea was Red Mango-less, and therefore a disappointment.

A couple years later, when rumors started emerging from Southern California of a Red Mango-like yogurt shop, I started to get excited...but also suspicious. "What a ripoff of my beloved Red Mango!" I thought to myself...but mostly I was pissed that someone had stolen MY idea to rip off Red Mango and make a billion dollars by opening up in the states. Still...when I saw those American Express Plum Card commercials and saw those Korean people had opened up Pinkberry, I was like "maybe they're affiliated...maybe they renamed Red Mango to Pink Berry for the states...because those names are way too similar." But nope...no affiliation...just a straight rip off.

Oh well...maybe it'll be just as good and it won't matter. I tried Pinkberry though...AND IT WAS FUCKING TERRIBLE! Why are people going crazy over this shit?! How could those Korean American guys in that American Express commercial take something so good and fuck it up so bad? I understand if someone decides to pawn off the crap that Korea deems unsuitable for domestic use on other countries to make a few bucks (see "Winter Sonata" and "The Lake House"), but Red Mango was something from Korea to be proud of! I henceforth label you Pinkberry people TRAITORS TO KOREA (though to be fair, I too may have earned that label after the infamous Buford Highway Karaoke incident of 2008...but that was mostly Topel's fault).

It was bland, overly sweet, and icy as hell. It was like spoiled milk mixed with corn syrup and poured over hospital ice chips. There was no way you could call this shit yogurt...and the California FDA agreed with me:
Only 69,000 bacterial cultures per gram? That's well short of the 10 million required to be called frozen yogurt.
To borrow a joke from Aziz Ansari...if Pinkberry was a drug dealer I would've shot him in the face. Did you think I wasn't gonna count that shit?! Also, you guys at Pinkberry are TOTAL DICKS for claiming you could cure colon cancer.
Perhaps it's gotten better now that they've changed their recipe to be actual yogurt, but they still make their yogurt from powder, and now that Red Mango has formally opened in the states, there's no need to ever go to Pinkberry again. I'm pleased to say that Red Mango is just as good here as it was in Korea. It didn't suffer the pitfalls of a famous institution from abroad opening up in the states and not being nearly as good (talking about you GROM...it's not our fault that you didn't look into the fact that you wouldn't be able to get all your fancypants ingredients here. Geographically, Torino:The Rest of Italy::Upper West Side:Staten Island and New Jersey...I'm sure the Sicilian almonds are coming in nicely on top of Fresh Kills right about now).

Ah Red Mango...thank god you're in...Walnut Creek. Damn, I'm in Atlanta. Enter Yoforia...another Red Mango knockoff, but this one has some pretty bold claims on its website (which looks exactly like Red Mango/Pinkberry's sites). Organic milk and yogurt? Could this place finally live up to Red Mango?

In a word: no.
In two words: Definitely no.
In more than two: What the fuck is this shit?

First they make a huge pile up the middle then try to squeeze the fruit around the sides...they then squish it down with the lid, but all this leads to not that much fruit. Red Mango builds the base layer, puts the fruit on in a layer, then puts more yogurt on top.

Next you'll notice the grittiness. It was just as disappointing as Pinkberry. Completely bland, aggressively cold, and grittily icy. When it melted, it melted down to grit...I have a feeling that all those claims of organic milk and yogurt are complete crap, and that this yogurt too is made from a powder, possibly supplied by IFDPrep (italian freeze dried prep), cielo, only8, or any of the other knockoff suppliers, evidenced by the sign:

If that's too small to read, it says "Italian frozen yogurt," which is a bit bizarre. You can tell if it's a knockoff if they don't carry the Live and Active Culture seal from the National Yogurt Association (yeah it really exists and Red Mango was the first to get it). If these guys were large enough to be on the radar, they'd probably get into trouble for calling themselves "yogurt." Sorry Atlanta, nothing but cheap pretenders here. Guess I'll have to wait until another trip home to Korea or California.

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