Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Frozen yogurt

Hello Kitty and the Sanrio gang are coming to Yogurtland

Sanrio characters Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, TuxedoSam and Badtz-Maru are all coming to a Yogurtland near you

Sanrio characters Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, TuxedoSam and Badtz-Maru are all coming to a Yogurtland near you. The popular make-your-own-dessert chain has announced that it has partnered with Sanrio Inc. for a second year to launch a special line of limited edition, co-branded merchandise.

Character-themed products are set to show up at participating Yogurtland locations beginning July 10 through Labor Day weekend.  

Each character will be featured on a spoon and a biodegradable yogurt cup with a depiction of a U.S. city. The Hello Kitty spoon and cup, featuring Hollywood, is scheduled to roll out July 10. The TuxedoSam spoon and cup is set to launch July 24 and showcase an illustration of the art deco-inspired city of Miami. The Little Twin Stars spoon and cup, featuring the city of San Francisco, is to launch on Aug. 7. The last spoon and cup release is to feature Badtz-Maru and the beaches of Honolulu, on Aug. 21.

In addition to the free Yogurtland spoons and cups, a Hello Kitty plush toy (dressed in a Yogurtland uniform), key chains, buttons, tote bags and money coin purses featuring all four characters are to be available for purchase ($2.50 - $13.50).

If having your very own Hello Kitty Yougurtland plush toy isn't enough Sanrio lovin', Hello Kitty, Badtz-Maru and TuxedoSam are to make appearances at the Yogurtland Universal City location on July 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can enjoy free frozen yogurt and take photos with their favorite characters. Launch events are also set for Miami on July 24, San Francisco on Aug. 7 and Honolulu on Aug. 21. 

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-- Jenn Harris
twitter.com/jenn_harris

Photos: From left, a Hello Kitty biodegradable cup, a Hello Kitty plush toy and the Sanrio for Yogurtland spoons. Credit: Yogurtland and Sanrio

Yogurtland celebrates with free fro-yo

Yogurt

With a frozen yogurt shop on almost every corner, the creamy sweet treat has practically become its own food group -- well, at least for Angelenos. So it makes sense (to marketers, anyway) to have a day devoted to the stuff.

Today marks the first National Frozen Yogurt Day. To celebrate, Yogurtland -- the popular chain that lets patrons build their own creations -- is offering free frozen yogurt and toppings from 4 to 7 p.m. at participating locations.

Yogurt fans can choose from 16 sweet and tart flavors, including the new, limited Yo Frappe, a mix of caramel, mocha and java, or the Mango Mixer Tart, with fresh mango, passion fruit, green apple and pineapple. Fans can then finish their masterpieces with more than 35 toppings including nuts, candy and fresh fruit.

Yogurtland has also created special commemorative cups and collectible biodegradable spoons that will be available only from 4 to 7 p.m.

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-- Jenn Harris
twitter.com/jenn_harris

Photo: Yogurtland celebrates National Frozen Yogurt Day on Feb. 6. Credit: Business Wire.

Small Bites: 50% off at the Smoke House; Pinkberry introduces chocolate yogurt; Stone Fire Pizza reborn as Oak Fire

Smoke House Burbank Half off at the Smoke House: If you're not utterly sick of food by the day after Thanksgiving, old-school steakhouse Smoke House will be offering 50% off its entire menu Friday from 3 to 11 p.m. Slip into a red leather booth, order a basket of its famous cheese bread and sip a martini while soaking up the ambiance of this classic restaurant, which celebrated its 63rd birthday in October. Reservations recommended. 4420 W. Lakeside Drive, Burbank. (818) 845-3731, www.smokehouse1946.com.

Pinkberry goes brown: The fro-yo purveyor will make its newest flavor, chocolate, available in California on Friday.

The name game: It didn't happen in summer as Greg Morris had planned, but Stone Fire Pizza has finally and officially rechristened itself as Oak Fire Pizzeria & Pub. Morris, the man behind the Spanish Kitchen, the Belmont, the upcoming Olive and most recently the Oaks gourmet market, made the change to eliminate any brand confusion with a similarly named L.A. chain (cough, cough, Pitfire Pizza). In addition to thin-crust and deep-dish Chicago-style pies, it boasts a full bar with artisanal liquors and a rotating selection of microbrews. 829 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-8848, www.oakfirepizza.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo credit: Jill Connelly / For The Times

Sampler Platter: Agura sushi soft-opens, absinthe in Rome, Halloween cupcakes

It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, one of two

A cupcake so cute it's scary, a Roman milk bar and a new sushi restaurant on La Cienega lead our food news roundup.
-- Teetotalers may be more depressed than drinkers. Time
-- Absinthe in a chocolate shake? Welcome to Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome that’s patterned after "Clockwork Orange's" Korova. Los Angeles Times
-- Agura sushi on La Cienega soft-opens. Blackburn + Sweetzer
-- Figs, cupcakes, Guy Fieri and seven more things David Chang and Anthony Bourdain hate. Grub Street LA
-- San Diego Meat Co. recalls 925 pounds of beef products due to E. coli threat. Los Angeles Times
-- Red Mango has a new seasonal flavor: pumpkin spice.
-- Most adorable Halloween cupcake ever? We Love You So
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome. Credit: Baxter Holmes / For The Times

Good news for traveling froyo lovers: a Pinkberry at LAX

Pinkberry Terminal 1 at LAX: You know it for those long, long security lines for Southwest Airlines. But now it is also home to a Pinkberry, one of the frozen yogurt chain's more than 40 outlets in California. You still have to make it to the passenger gate level, but for froyo fans, knowing a cold, creamy one awaits might make the lines a little more tolerable.

Read more at the Travel blog; click here

Photo: PRNewsFoto / Pinkberry

'90210's' Shenae Grimes loves her Pinkberry

Pinkberry

Actress Shenae Grimes has been away from her native Toronto for only a year, but she's quickly getting up to speed on all things SoCal. She's starring in the CW's Beverly Hills-based series "90210," which begins its second season Sept. 8, and she now calls West Hollywood home. Here's how she spends an ideal weekend in L.A. (Hint: It involves a mochi-mango.)

Freebie Alert: Pinkberry and the passion of the fro-yo

Pinkberry There probably will never be a fro-yo summer quite as ecstatic as that of 2006, just as MySpace probably will never again be the hottest social networking site. But that doesn't mean we can't engage in a bit of fro-yo passion every now and then.

And according to the Digest at Los Angeles Magazine, June 26 would be the ideal time to do it. That's when Pinkberry launches two new flavors (although the company won't say what they are yet) and prepares to drop the green tea flavor entirely. The yogurt will flow freely from 5 to 11 p.m. Ready your spoons.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Pinkberry's green-tea-flavored yogurt. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Lard is the new olive oil, food writing cliches, speakeasies return and the house that Pinkberry built

The scene inside Varnish, a bar inside Cole's restaurant in downtown L.A. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

A small town beats government bureaucracy, Anthony Bourdain's bucket list, the worst cliches of food writing, lard's moment in the sun (will it melt?) and more in this jam-packed midweek food news roundup.

  • Anthony Bourdain lists "13 Places to Eat Before You Die" in the June issue of Men's Health: Salumi (Seattle), Hot Doug’s (Chicago), Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue (Kansas City, Kans.), elBulli (Girona, Spain), the French Laundry (Napa Valley), Russ & Daughters (New York City) and more.
  • A remote New Hampshire town fights to save its French bakery -- and wins! New York Times
  • Epicurious' list of the top 5 most annoying food-writing clichés -- "decadent dessert," "cozy interior," "yummy," "wash it down with" and "save room for" -- sparks a flurry of comments.
  • Today, Slate celebrates food with a special issue featuring six food-themed stories. Everything from lard ("its moment is finally here") to the Federal Writers Project funding foodies.
  • From the Top 10 Creepiest Fast Food Mascots to the Top 10 Most Disgusting Candies to the Top 10 Anthony Bourdain Insults on Food TV, Endless Simmer compiles the Top 10 food-themed Top 10 lists.
  • Baristas lose as court reverses ruling on Starbucks tip lawsuit. Seattle Post Intelligencer
  • Speakeasies are still popular, according to the New York Times. Wait... When a speakeasy is mentioned in a major newspaper, doesn't that defeat the underground nature of the bar? Not if  a speakeasy is just a decorating theme and not a survival strategy.
  • The house that Pinkberry built is a glossy Malibu manse filled with Philippe Starck ghost chairs, Le Klint lamps, Alessi kitchen gadgets and $4,000 Hermès suits. Wall Street Journal

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The scene at Varnish, a bar-speakeasy inside Cole's restaurant in downtown L.A. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

The Pinkberry debate

Pinkberry

Yeah, we know. Pinkberry has been on your mind because it has been unusually hot in L.A. these last couple days. We also know that many readers feel strongly about Pinkberry -- people either love it or hate it. Check out the debate going on over on the Health blog, Daily Dish, where the question was posed:
Is Pinkberry really good for you?

-- Lori Kozlowski

Photo: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.