I like dessert a lot. I blame (but really am grateful to) my mother, a woman who craved sugar so often during her pregnancy that she nearly gave herself gestational diabetes. Am I saying the sugar cravings of the mother are the sugar cravings of the unborn child? It’s a gray area, but yes.
Cake is the dessert I remember loving first. As a kid, I would demand a corner piece on birthdays, Father’s Days, the day Mr. Clancy retired from Butler Jr. High, et al. for what I assume are obvious reasons, but maybe middle school you didn’t think about cake as much as middle school me (corner pieces have three times as much frosting as any other piece ). Over the years, my dessert palate has, of course, expanded—cookies now reign supreme in my personal hierarchy, but one particular dessert I’ve come to love, appreciate, and rank just below cookies and cake is frozen yogurt. And it’s all thanks to L.A.
FroYo’s notoriety in Los Angeles is comparable to the idea of celebrity: Everyone’s heard of it; it’s everywhere, but sometimes you have to look really hard for the good ones; Paparazzi often photograph real celebrities holding it. We recently ranked the 51 best sweets in Los Angeles, and the list is void of what I consider to be our dessert mascot. Am I saying the list is lacking? It’s a tough one to call, but definitely.
To understand why FroYo feels so distinctly L.A., we must travel back to 2005, when the country’s first ever Pinkberry opened its doors right here on Huntley Drive. Hye Kyung Hwang and Young Lee’s simple, supertart recipe reignited our country’s fascination with the idea of “healthy ice cream” (the craze first swept the nation in the ’80s, aka the era of TCBY). Angelenos are nothing if not weight conscious, and so we flocked to WeHo for a sugar fix we could all feel OK about the next day.
Pinkberry set off a FroYo blitzkrieg, paving the way for chains like Yogurtland (whose first store opened in Fullerton in 2006), Tutti Frutti (started in SoCal in 2008), and Menchie’s (whose first store opened in the San Fernando Valley in 2010). And while those chains have some redeeming qualities, the fact is there are a few old stalwarts and newer single-store operations that contribute to L.A.’s overall FroYo landscape, which is just one of many lenses through which you can become intimate with our vast metropolis. So how well do you know this town based on its pumpable frozen offerings? Let’s go down the FroYo rabbit hole.