MENCHIE'S, I owe you.
You were there when I needed you; when my six-year-old was petrifying into a small boy-plus-iPad statue, the only signs of life the whistles and crashes of the game he was playing. Although I was prepared to order him out to the park with me, I was hoping he'd come of his own free will. The mention of frozen yogurt did the trick. (It's true: I'm not above the occasional bribe.)
A couple of years behind the Pinkberry phenomenon, Menchie's opened its first store in Valley Village, a suburban community of Los Angeles, California in 2007.
It's a similar concept: quality frozen yogurt, inviting store design, and a tempting selection of frozen yogurt and fresh toppings. It's now franchised in more than 230 locations around the world, including the United States, Canada, India, China, Japan, and Australia.
We got our own Menchie's on Feb. 2 in North Vancouver, at the corner of Lonsdale Avenue and Second Street, in a location that has housed a series of short-lived restaurant concepts. I have a feeling this place will stick.
Once through the door we were greeted by owner Terry Shein, who explained the way it works.
Unlike that other froyo place, Menchie's is self-serve. There are more than 100 rotating fat-free yogurt flavours. Our picks included pineapple, key lime, vanilla, chocolate, cake batter, red velvet cupcake, blueberry cheesecake, green tea, peach sorbet and strawberry sorbet.
Sampling is encouraged, then you can pick one, several, or a twist of flavours. A waffle cone can be added, and then it's over to the topping bar, where there are more than 70 rotating toppings including fresh fruits, granolas, nuts, assorted candies and sauces.
Short Stuff directed me as I made him a twist of strawberry and peach sorbets, then topped it with a gummy egg, sour keys, coke bottle candies, "popping bobas" (juice filled balls), and crumbled peanut butter cups. Whew. Since Menchie's prices by weight, his was more expensive, ringing in at $4.27 pre-tax.
For my own creation I took it a little easier: pineapple and key lime twist, studded with strawberry, mango and passionfruit popping bobas. Mine was cheaper: $2.43. As for flavour: we both liked it. It's sweet and creamy, without the distinctive tang of Pinkberry.
No doubt about it, we'll be back; sooner rather than later, actually, since my older son is already planning his own Menchie's creation.
Menchie's is at 100 East Second St., North Vancouver. Call 604-980-8081, or visit menchies.com.
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If you only go out for dinner once this year, make it count and go tomorrow night. Twelve North Shore restaurants will open their doors March 7 to celebrate Dining Out For Life.
From Horseshoe Bay to Lynn Valley to the top of Grouse Mountain, North Shore restaurants are among the almost 200 in the Lower Mainland coming together to help raise funds for A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life.
They will all contribute 25 per cent of their food sales to people living with HIV/AIDS through A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life.
North Shore restaurants participating tomorrow are: Troll's, Mangia E Bevi, Amici, Fraiche, Altitudes and The Observatory at Grouse Mountain, Burgoo, Fishworks, Pier 7 restaurant + bar, Lobby Lounge & Restaurant at Pinnacle at the Pier, The Black Bear Pub and The Queens Cross Pub. Find out more at diningoutforlife.ca.
Deana Lancaster has been writing about food and wine for 12 years, and worked in restaurants for more than a decade before that. She is passionate about good food. Contact: email@example.com.