"They had me at hello", was the first thing I thought as I entered the not yet opened Pinkberry in Highland Village. The design and layout were something special, and I initially couldn't pinpoint its luring factor. Was it the floor to ceiling windows that allowed the perfect amount of sun to shine it's rays at an almost perfect angle, or maybe it was the color scheme that blended blues, yellows, and oranges at just the right amounts...how about the mix of solids, circles, and stripes that along with the trendy furniture, gave it an almost whimsical 70's hipster vibe. I may never know the exact reason, but I did feel as though Pinkberry was destined to become my personal dessert haven. I'm not saying that Pinkberry wouldn't welcome a slew of children for an afternoon snack, but I really felt like this was a place where us grown folks came to have grown folks ice cream!
Meredith and Matthew Emory are the owners of the Pinkberry's here in Houston. Just a few weeks ago, Pinkberry celebrated the grand opening of their second location in the Houston area. Given the location of the first Pinkberry (very far from me), I am sure I was not the only one who jumped for joy when they announced they were coming inside the loop. This second location is located on Westheimer, directly across the street from Central Market (great spot). Focusing on "tart frozen yogurt", Pinkberry takes a different approach than the norm and are really changing the way we think about ice cream. All ingredients used are 100% fresh and never frozen (100% free of trans fats, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup) and the frozen yogurt itself is made from non-fat yogurt, hormone free non-fat milk, and natural flavoring. I loved the fact that all the frozen yogurt flavors, like the Chocolate Hazelnut, Peanut Butter and Pomegranate were not overly sweet and didn't seem "fake" like it had been doused with some artificial extract.
For those that are not into trying something new, Pinkberry does offer suggested "pairings". It's like selecting a wine to go with the fish you are preparing for the evening. The combinations are endless and range from fresh fruit, to crushed hazelnut wafer rolls, to yogurt chips, and even honey. And if you want to get a little fancy, you can pay a small price to add some toppings from their "luxe" line like that amazing Nutella (OMG)! I have sampled a few variations and I will say I really enjoy the Coconut (made with real coconut puree) and the Pomegranate (made with 100% California pomegranate juice). Being the chocolate freak that I am, I was even surprised by this. The Pomegranatete goes great with their mochi balls and the Coconut is perfect with fresh fruit or just by itself. Another honorable mention goes out to the Chocolate Hazelnut paired with banana slices and Nutella. Okay, I take that back...maybe this one is my favorite (smile). With so many favorites and pairing options, I will have my work cut out for me in my mission to try them all!
If you get the chance to catch Meredith or Matthew at the store, you are surely in for a treat. Not only do they have a passion for their Pinkberry stores, they have a true passion for what the brand represents. As a matter of fact, here is a funny story (paraphrasing)...
Meredith is down in New Orleans visiting Matthew while he is on a job assignment. Before leaving the city, Meredith is craving Pinkberry. Being a fan of Pinkberry from her experience with their California locations, Meredith knew exactly what to expect. They enjoy their frozen yogurt and prepare to leave. Before they can bid farewell, they are stopped by a gentlemen who they mistakenly thought was a regular customer. This gentleman asks if they enjoyed their Pinkberry. They chat for a second and Meredith shares her opinions including the fact that the bananas were cut way to thick and she felt she shouldn't have to struggle to pierce those slices of banana as she enjoyed her cup of frozen yogurt. The gentlemen nods, hands Meredith his card, and they go their separate ways. As Meredith and Matthew hit the parking lot, she looks down at the card and is in complete shock that all that time she had been speaking to the CEO of Pinkberry! Hilarious!
When I think of Pinkberry, I don't think of a typical frozen yogurt shop. I think of an after dinner getaway, or a place I can go on a Saturday to take a break from the weekend ripping and running. As Matthew told me, Pinkberry is for the people who prefer to look at the back of the box versus the front. I mostly definitely agree. There is a frozen yogurt pairing that is just perfect for you at Pinkberry. And if you are in the mood to try something different, Pinkberry has you covered with alternatives like their Pinkberry Smoothies, Pinkberry Fruit Parfaits, or Pinkberry Fresh Fruit Bowls. You know the Chuck E. Cheese slogan, "Where A Kid Can Be A Kid"? Well, Pinkberry is the place where a "Grown Up Can Be A Grown Up". You always have time to enjoy a little guiltless pleasure! Enjoy!
Highland Village - 3838 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77027
Baybrook Passage - 19325 Gulf Freeway, Suite 7, Webster, TX 77598
~ Shanna "Urban Girl" Jones, Urban Swank
Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions represented are our own.