Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yogurtland - Irvine

The Irvine Yogurtland finally opened today and it's much too cute -- as if Hello Kitty threw up on a Jamba Juice. Designed with a chic feminine aesthetic, it is crisply painted in muted pastels and incorporates over-sized, softly-focused glamour shots of fruit.

The furnishings are by IKEA, and in the middle of the room, vertical panes of stenciled glass grow out of the floor and into the ceiling. They separate the space in two and await some poor sap with fro-yo tunnel vision to run right into the see-through surface like a disoriented bird into a window. This is a decorative element full of slapstick-comedy potential; but one that makes this Yogurtland the prettiest, little frozen yogurt shop in Orange County.

Evidently, with the money so well-spent on the interior designer, none was left over for a proofreader. On a large plate glass plaque etched with verbiage extolling the virtues of yogurt, spelling slip-ups, grammatical gaffes, and embarrassing "Engrish" run rampant. A copy editor would be reduced to tears, but we were more than slightly amused as we saw it on our way to the yogurt machines.

There are eight machines in all, located at the back of the store, inset behind a green tiled wall, and invisible save for their spouts, which output sixteen different flavors. And as this is essentially a yogurt buffet, our journey begins at the first one with a styrofoam or plastic cup.

But before dispensing, we start by surveying the options first. The reason? A more enticing flavor will be inevitably found further down the line, and we want plenty of vacant space in our cup to allow for it.

Like many post-Pinkberry yogurt stands, fresh fruit, nuts, and cereal await at the next stop after pouring: the topping station. I choose chopped mango and strawberry to crown my self-styled plain yogurt/blueberry/mango frozen treat.

It is my opinion that fresh fruit is a better complement to yogurt than those macerated, syrupy preserves found at fro-yo joints established in the pre-Pinkberry era. In fact, it's not a stretch to say that it is one of the reasons for Pinkberry's success.

Finally, when I'm good and ready, the last stop is the weighing station and payment, where I will be charged $0.30 for every ounce of yogurt and topping.

I average between $2 to $3 for a serving of dessert that more than satisfies, and with less hype than Pinkberry. Close to home, this Yogurtland will be my go-to frogurt stand; girly-decor and bad grammar notwithstanding.

To read my post on the Fullerton Yogurtland:
--->>> CLICK HERE <<<---

Yogurtland
14775 Jeffrey Road, Suite J
Irvine, CA 92618

60 Comments:

At 6:14 AM, Blogger jenjen said...

I love your line about the place looking like Hello Kitty threw up on Jamba Juice. Aside from the ever so shiny decor the place sounds pretty all right.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Just the Sous Chef said...

I had no idea they were opening one in Irvine. I told my hubby I wanted to go to Fullerton just to try it. I love yogurt ... and guess what, I ADORE Hello Kitty, LOL! The discription of Hello Kitty throwing up on Jamba Juice doesn't scare me one bit. LOL!!!! I am going to go soon. BTW, been to Taco Rosa twice now ... LOVE it!!!

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger cindy said...

Not only is this a great review, but a indispensible froyo primer.

I'll remember to wear my sunglasses :-)

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger KirkK said...

Wow, talk about some colors...makes me feel like I need to check my testosterone at the door!

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Deb said...

I love the "Hello Kitty threw up on Jomba Juice" line to! I was cracking up! Pinkberry has a little legal issue right now. Something about the lack of yogurt (or yogurt cultures) in their products?? Someone out there is suing to force them to 'properly' market their goods. I'll take my boys to check this one out!

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger Arisu said...

Wow, it's definitely more spacious than the Fullerton one. Can't wait to go tomorrow during my lunch hour!

 
At 11:29 PM, Anonymous eaterdeltustin said...

The biggest difference, to me, was that the Irvine location had Mochi topping available.

They also had the "Yogurtland Rules" on one of the glass panels that no one will ever notice. I also like the "bananas are good for the bowels" writing on the wall. (sorry, I just notice weird things)

 
At 7:58 AM, Anonymous klee said...

Went there on Saturday. The yogurt had a icy texture that wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. And the matcha flavor seemed weak. However, it's an awesome deal relative to the other new yogurt places. No more counting blackberries!

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Marvin said...

The frozen yogurt madness continues! I like Yogurtland's idea of weighing out the yogurt and toppings.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Faye said...

"...as if Hello Kitty threw up on a Jamba Juice."
best. line. EVER.

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger ChaiTea said...

I always love your descriptions of places elmomonster. You're pretty fast too, this place just opened like 2 days ago. =P

Yay for my new favorite yogurt place! MOCHI TOPPINGS!!!

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Hehe, i wish they would replace the kiwiberri in claremont with yogurtland...I bet I could amuse myself for hours trying to think up of good yogurt combos! :)

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

jenjen,

It's a visual assault to your rods and cones. But it's actually a great place to hang out. If only I were fifteen years younger!

just the sous chef,

Now you don't have to drive to Fullerton! And neither do I! I'm glad you liked Taco Rosa. I'm craving that bisque right about now.

cindy,

And also maybe some sunscreen SPF 50. I kid! I kid!

kirk,

LOL! Get in touch with your feminine side and have some fro-yo! Kudos to the designer for creating such a trendy, yet emasculating space!

deb,

Ain't that a crazy story?! It seems that the Pinkberry backlash is in full swing. I'm glad that Yogurtland has no "berry" in it's name.

arisu,

I think you will be as frequent a customer as I will be. When you see someone vainly trying to put every flavor into his cup, that will be me.

eaterdeltustin,

Mochi! How did I miss that! Mental note for next time: save room for the mochi topping.

klee,

I personally favor the mango yogurt. The plain yogurt is too tart for my tastes, but I actually like the matcha.

marvin,

I think this business model is genius as most people's eyes are bigger than their stomachs.

Faye,

Yours is the Best. Comment. EVER. Thanks!

ChaiTea,

I couldn't wait to try it and I couldn't wait to write on it. Besides since I got the picture taking out of the way, the next time, I can just nosh.

kathy,

I'm with you. I usually end up hesitating too long. I feel for the unlucky and more decisive person behind me in line.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous yogurtmonster said...

this is the best thing that can happen to irvine... pinkberry is way over rated!

 
At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Froyomind said...

Wow your review came fast! I wonder if the yogurt was as icy as the one I tried in the Fullerton shop.

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

yogurtmonster,

Overrated is the right word for Pinkberry. Except I'd never know since it's still not open in OC.

froyomind,

The early bird gets the scoop (or in this case, the soft serve)!

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger P-chan said...

And here I thought Genki Living was a Hello Kitty-esque color overload. O_o

Must see once I am in Irvine again.

 
At 6:00 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

I like the Hello Kitty decor. hehe But I am a girly-girl, after all. Not that I would decorate our home that way, of course...though it would be amusing to see Dave's face if I did. :-p
I'm with you on the frsh fruit being better than goopy syrups. I also don't like the fruit swimming in syrup.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger jules said...

i love me some yogurtland!

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Haha and it's right next to a store selling Hello Kitty stuff! Even for a new place, it gets crowded fast. I went Friday night and right after i paid for my yogurt the line was going out the door! But with it being cheap and convenient, i guess that's expected.

 
At 6:55 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

P-chan,

If Genki Living is a 8 on it's level of cuteness, I'd say Yogurtland is a 9.

Juliet,

I guess yogurt dessert=girly. There's probably no way around it. I suppose it would not be as appetizing to eat froyo if the place looked like the Home Depot or Kragen Auto Parts.

Jules,

As do I!

Jan,

I was there last night and it was a madhouse. No seats left. And the brand new floor was already gunked up with dried up yogurt and dirt.

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous rouge said...

oh man. i seriously heart yogurtland. it kicks golden spoon's behind all the way up Jeffrey and then back down again. While I do love the texture of Golden Spoon's chilly yogurt lovin', you just can't beat the fact that Yogurtland offers sugarfree options and also fruit toppings that are fresh as opposed to suspended something akin to (if not actually) high fructose corn syrup.

i really hope it actually is yogurt and has all the healthy properties of fro-yo and it's active cultures. every time i eat it, i get this nagging feeling like it is just too darn good to be true.

*crosses fingers*

 
At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the heads up! Btw, a couple of friends and I had lunch at Marche Moderne last week (it was great!)and your name came up. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised considering that we all love food. They read your blog religiously as do I. They are fellow Northparkers as well. Maybe we'll see you at Yougurtland sometime!

 
At 1:50 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Rouge,

Doesn't this remind you of that Seinfeld episode?! Well, healthy or not, it's damn good. And anything with fresh fruit is going to be automatically a better proxy than those goopy toppings they put on the yogurt at Golden Spoon.

Anon,

That's so cool that my blog was the topic of conversation! And chances are you've already seen me at Yogurtland, as I was there three times in three days last weekend. You'll know who I am. I'm the Asian guy with the black hair and glasses! ;-)

 
At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been there many times before the review and must say that this is a rocking place for frozen yogurt!

It's got lots of yummy flavors - strawberry to green tea. Lots of yummy fruit toppings from mango to blackberries, and same with the dry toppings - nuts to gummy bears.

You can't resist but walking out with a huge yogurt cup filled to the top - and not much more than $4 or so most of the time (unless you've got a huge appetite)!

rockign, highly recommended, esp after eating at AJ nearby (that taiwanese shop down a few stores with lots of yummy bowls of noodles, pot stickers, etc.)!

oh, I'm so hungry now! gotta go and get some...! ^o^

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

I think I was there the same night you were, although at a different time. I even kept my eye out for you, since I know how much you love this chain.

I tried it with Cat last night and while it isn't bad, I still think I prefer the Plain Tart at Beach Cities Yogurt in Huntington. They do it in the Vietnamese Da Ua style. However, I really dig the Green Tea and the Taro flavors at Yogurtland. I just wish the calories per serving wasn't so high there. Mebbe I'm just getting too much in my container.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, people! stop sticking fingers under the nozzle and licking a taste you've just slicked off!

brrrrrrrr!....

saw that at YogurtLand yesterday, and complained to the manager. hope they get a sign up for people who are cruder than a rock and think that fingering a taste is sanitary!

>.<

also, avoid too many blackberries - they sometimes leave the icky rotten ones in there and there's no way to tell. had more than enough icky ones =P

Otherwise, still da bomb!

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous van said...

i had been going to the yogurtland in fullerton for the past couple months and was so excited there was one opening in irvine - i started going a couple times a week since they opened and for the past week, the machines have been a mess, the yogurt has been runny and melts very quickly (i don't think the yogurt is processing in the machines long enough). i will not be returning to this location.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Anon 1 and 2,

You're both right. It's great! And yep...c'mon peeps, stop tasting with your fingers. That's just disgusting!

CP,

I probably just missed you. I'm there almost three times a week.

Van,

Hmm. Odd. I haven't seen a difference in quality yet. Although I do prefer the sweet flavors over the tart nowadays.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger midnightblu said...

Hi!

A few days ago, my friend said he wanted to take me to Yogurtland-Irvine (we're going next week and I can't wait!) and sent me a link to your blog as a primer. This was the first entry I read but I gotta say, I was sucked in.

Your pictures are divine and make me hungry (even the ones without actual food in them)! In addition, your writing is so frank and vivid that I'm very much inspired to go out and try lots of new restaurants (my parents always stick to the same ones after they find some good ones).

I have to express my regret that I found your blog mere weeks before my family moves from Irvine (to Klamath Falls,OR). Klamath Falls is such a tiny place, I won't venture to ask if you know of any good food bloggers from the area, but I go to school in Seattle and perhaps you could recommend a Seattle blogger? That would be much appreciated!

In the meantime, I continue to devour your reviews as your newest fan.

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger susan said...

you guys have so many cool novelty chain food places in america. I am jealous, although you would think they would have someone standing by the nozzles for quality control purposes...

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

midnightblu,

Welcome! Or since you were an ex-Irvinite, I should say, "Welcome back!" I hope you like Yogurtland. It's one of my favorites. But really, just like Pinkberry in LA, it's still just yogurt, but then who wouldn't love dessert.

I found this blog for the Seattle area:
http://seattlebonvivant.typepad.com/

But I'm sure there are dozens more!

Susan,

I wish there were some yogurt police stationed at the spouts. There have been reports of finger-tasting. And that's just not kosher.

 
At 4:50 PM, Anonymous tabitha said...

I'm late in commenting but I read this when you posted. I was immediately intrigued since i'm one of your neighbors (i've deducted from your mentions of local restaurants). My roommates and I tried it not long after this post and we've been addicted ever since. Much better than Yogurtland and from what my roommate says, better than the one in Fullerton. So far my favorite flavor is the Georgia Peach. Oh such peachy goodness. And I love the mochi topping. The chewy mochi with the creamy fro-yo is too good to be true. Although nowadays you'll have to wait in a very long line I seem to forget my frustration as soon as I reach those machines and giggle like a schoolgirl at any new flavors. My first container full looked like hello kitty threw up in it with all the different colors of pastel in each corner of the cup! But nowadays unless there's a new flavor i need to taste I stick to one or two flavors with some yummy fruit. I love that they have fresh mango there too! YUMMY! Thanks as always for sharing.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

tabitha,

I too like that mochi topping. It seems Yogurtland is epicenter of Yogurt-ness in Irvine. Let's see how that shifts when Pinkberry opens here.

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger the Envoy said...

do you know when it closes?
cuz, it's 10:50pm right now, and my friend wants to go:

xdragon 028 (10:46:44 PM): LETS GO TO YOGURTLAND
a redo twice (10:49:02 PM): when?
xdragon 028 (10:49:07 PM): now
a redo twice (10:49:15 PM): OK!!
xdragon 028 (10:49:24 PM): can hiep drive?
xdragon 028 (10:49:25 PM): ill go
a redo twice (10:49:33 PM): isn't it closed
xdragon 028 (10:49:58 PM): i dont think so
xdragon 028 (10:50:36 PM): LETS GO
xdragon 028 (10:50:37 PM): DUDE
xdragon 028 (10:50:39 PM): I NEED YOGURTLAND
a redo twice (10:50:42 PM): lol
xdragon 028 (10:50:49 PM): im going into withdrawals
a redo twice (10:51:07 PM): what does that mean
xdragon 028 (10:51:12 PM): IM DYING
xdragon 028 (10:52:17 PM): DUDE
xdragon 028 (10:52:18 PM): YOGURTLAND

 
At 5:55 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

The Envoy,

Sorry for the late reply. Yogurtland in Irvine closes at 12:30 A.M. (thirty minutes past midnight) to satisfy all those post dinner cravings.

 
At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should start Yogurtland in Dallas and Austin, Tx!!! It's so delicious!

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Genesi said...

Do they have one in San Diego?? =] I wan't to go!!. " Hello Kitty threw up on Jamba Juice." That was a good one!

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Genesi said...

Sorry, I meant do they have one in San Diego!! Sorry for late reply's my friend just showedd this to me, and I have heard of peopel talking about it and I really didn't care until NOW. Thank you for showing me this!!!@#(!@#

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Krizia said...

Hey EM!

I just tried this place two days ago. The yogurt is indeed a bit icy, but it's SO REFRESHING in this weather. Don't you think? Had the mango, chocolate mint (w/ caramel & cookie dough toppings), green tea, and taro w/ their amazingly soft mochi for $3.36. SUCH A GOOD PRICE for what I got. I read this review when you first published it, and so I was prepared for everything that you mentioned in your post, which was hilarious for me since I probably wouldn't have noticed these quirks otherwise. Thanks for enhancing the experience! :D I think your blog fills a lot of my "things to do" list everytime I'm back in socal. Yogurtland? Check!

Krizia

 
At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Mommy Roni said...

Did anyone notice that the large board extolling the virtues of yogurt boasted that it is "inoculated" (obviously the wrong word---remember your comment about the lack of a proofreader) with lactobacillus and streptoccocus? Can that be accurate? Could it be that strep is indeed the "secret ingredient" everyone tried to find in Pinkberry??????? What next? E coli? Well, we can't say they didn't warn us...right up there on the board for everyone to see.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Anon,

Franchise opportunities are available I hear!

Genesi,

I think there's a Yogurtworld in San Diego somewhere. But of course, no affliation with Yogurtland. Probably just as good though.

Krizia,

So glad you enjoyed it! You're absolutely right: It's perfect refreshment in this weather. Ice cream is too rich and a boba drink is too starchy. A tart yogurt with fruit, perfect!

Mommy Roni,

Hilarious indeed! You'd think that they could've paid a college student $40 to do some proof reading and a little fact checking. I think it would've saved some embarrasment, but then we wouldn't have had as much fun making fun!

 
At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Beeren said...

I love Yogurtland, Irvine - EXCEPT that unless you time your outing just right, you'll arrive to find a line that is not only out the door, but past three stores. BOO.

I've waited 30 mins once for Yogurt. ONCE.

Other than that - I loooooove this place!

 
At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Kati said...

The first time I was at Yogurtland, I filled my cup with fresh blueberries...yummy, my favorite topping, mochi is my other favorite. But then, the last 3 times I was there, fresh blueberries were no longer available as a topping. =( I still like Yogurtland but I'd go more often if fresh blueberries were available.

Btw, loved the hello kitty line, cute!!!

kati
(' `v` ')
`* .,.*`

 
At 8:26 PM, Anonymous mai said...

My first time at Yogurtland was with my friend Kati. I'm hooked on it but the sad part of it there's no Yogurtland in Nevada.
:( Oh well at least I get to hang out with my friend Kati.

 
At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yogurtland has gone cheap. Bring back the styrofoam and clear plastic cups. The pink and drab gray paper cups kill the mood. The syrupy kiwi, strawberries, have replaced the fresh fruit. It must weigh more with sugar water or syrup doused all over it. And the logo napkins are gone. But a sign appeared saying to conserve napkins and to take only what you need. Maybe they're more worried about franchising than quaility.

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to Yogurtland today and won't go there again. It was a sea of disgusting humanity! The "serve yourself" model opens up the yogurt and toppings to everyone's germs! I saw a young guy sticking his fingers into his yogurt to taste each flavor and then using those same fingers to use the next handle. I saw a woman park her toddler (in diapers) in the vanilla/chocolate dispenser opening. I saw people coughing into the toppings area. Just gross! Ugh. The froyo was good, but I couldn't enjoy it.

 
At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the last two posts were done by the same person trying to get customers to go to frucci, I love how he capitalizes the location of the store and keywords such as cheap. Ive tried frucci, honestly the taste of the yogurt is far worse than yogurtland, its more like golden spoon than anything else.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

You're right about that Frucci guy. I've deleted his comment.

 
At 8:13 PM, Blogger Terrence said...

they are open now in hollywood!!!!! yes... don't have to go to irvine

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger pomi said...

hey, elmomonster,

i'm a senior at high school, and i want to work at the yogurtland opening in artesia, near my house. thanks for the post! it was quite enlightening to get a review! the nasty people w/ nozzles seems like a problem, but nothing i won't be able to handle (providing i get hired :/ ). the review was good, and good luck on your future ones! :D

pomizzle

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous angela said...

That's one bedazzling review. Loved your word choice. I've never been to Pinkberry, so I wouldn't understand if people said Yogurtland was a wannabe replica of Pinkberry, but yeah, the interior design was outstanding... more so than the taste of the froyo.

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone wants frozen yogurt, not just a hip-looking store, then they would go to Golden Spoons or I Heart Yogurt,instead of Yogurtland, whose yogurt tastes like water and its not even creamy...

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yogurtland is HEAVEN ON EARTH! When I first heard about it I was hesitant to put it up against PInkberry & Golden Spoon~but after coming across it and experiencing it in all its glory at the grand opening of it's store in Tokyo Town (L.A.), I FELL IN LOVE! I get exhilerated everytime I am within a ten mile radius of this place...my heart rate increases and I start shaking..its like an addiction, I can't live without it! I feel in total control when I get to choose exaclty how much and what flavors I get, and the toppings, I pile that on like WHITE ON RICE!Yogurt land is a DREAM COME TRUE!

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who is trying to discourage Yogurtland future cliente can FUCK OFF! Fuck off damnit! FUCK YOU! Yogurtland OWNS Pinkberry, Fiore, "Tropics", GOlden Spoon, your mom, etc etc

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous ZO420 said...

I have been going to the Yogurtland in Tustin for the past week after I heard my friend Cass rave about this place. I was tired of going to Juice it up and Jamba juice and getting a juice that was full of sugar. I am hooked on yogurtland now.

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous breeb said...

anyone know the calorie count?

we have gone three times this week (its only thursday!)

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger megan burns said...

This is my favorite place! Pinkberry sucks, Golden Spoon sucks, etc. I have to respect any place that has TARO flavored yogurt - yum!

 
At 2:54 AM, Anonymous Red Ribbon Bakeshop said...

Sounds YUMMY.
Let me try that.
Thanks for the information. Your post/article really helped.

Arrielle Green

 

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