In the season when everyone screams for ice cream, it is particularly important to make sure you stay hydrated - and under your calorie count.
So, an excellent alternative to ice cream is frozen yogurt joints like Red Mango that are propping up all over the city.
Their slogan - rethink yogurt - is appropriately named, and their justifier - not all yogurts are created equal - is quite fitting for their yogurt.
I was a little confused as to where to start, because the menu didn't have any selections other than broad categories like smoothie or shakes. Then I turned my head around the corner and saw the self-serve station.
It was like a yogurt buffet with ten different flavors to choose from, like pina colada to peach to pineapple. I grabbed their smallest cup size because I knew I would go overboard otherwise.
I got a thick serving of lemon, peach and pineapple. The lemon and peach were white, and the pineapple was yellow.
Then you head over to the serving station and get some toppings. Everything is priced by weight, so if you're not looking to break the bank go low on the toppings.
I got the basic toppings of mango, granola and some blueberries. All of them were pretty healthy in my opinion, in keeping with the frozen yogurt tradition of slimness (versus traditional high-calorie ice cream).
And man was it good! I really enjoyed the creamy, acidically sweet taste of pineapple, which kind of overpowered the mild lemony scent. While the taste of the peach was somewhere in the middle, I really enjoyed its aromatic scent which reminded me of peach cobblers in Georgia.
The mango topping the best amongst all of them. It was sweetly soft and melted into the rest of the flavors. The blueberries tasted pretty fresh and healthy, and provided a nice contrast against the yogurt icebergs. The granolas was unfortunately my least favorite, as it was too nutty and crunchy in a weird kind of way that didn't go well against the yogurt.
I sat down on one of their bar stool tops and watched other people pick out their ice cream - I mean yogurt - while slowly enjoying mine. The cashier was having a hard time explaining to a customer that yes, all of their ice cream is fat-free, calorie-free, antibiotics-free, ice cream-free....
It was a great way to enjoy the hot afternoon, and just as their cup slogan chants - treat yourself well.
$$ (for ice cream/yogurt standards it's average, but compared to grocery store ice cream, it's pretty expensive)
**** (4/5 - how can I give anything lower than a 4 to ice cream?)