Sometimes a Monday demands a mid-day pick-me-up. I was coming off of a rare dud of a weekend: Phillip was stricken with tonsillitis, I was too lazy and slept too much, not much of note got accomplished or enjoyed. So this dreary, cold, crabby start to the work-week was in need of a dramatic facelift. Yes — it needed: Yogurt Lab.
For those who haven’t noticed it yet, the frozen yogurt craze has officially made its way into Minneapolis, in the form of several cleverly-monikered establishments — Freeziac? Tutti Fruity? TruBerry? — that have been popping up on trendy corners throughout the metro. Yogurt Lab first made its appearance near Lake Calhoun and has now expanded to four Minneapolis locations. The downtown skyway one has been running since August. Despite hearing raves from a few coworkers and friends, I had yet to make it to the IDS Center for a fro-yo fix of my own.
I met my friend Josh on our lunch breaks and we entered the lab.
Josh had been before, so he played the part of the lab partner who does all of the work while the other person sits back and shares in the “A.” That was usually me in school! What a refreshing change.
He instructed me to grab a few condiment-sized sample cups and get to taste-testing.
We tested a healthy cross-section of the available flavors: Nutella, Salted Caramel, Green Apple, Greek Yogurt, Pumpkin, Pear, Birthday Cake, and Dark Chocolate. I didn’t like a few of them: the birthday cake wasn’t as tangy as I would like, and the green apple was candy sweet. There were some standout great flavors though: the greek yogurt was decadent, so tart and creamy; the pear yogurt tasted exactly like biting into a perfectly ripe pear.
Yogurt Lab’s website lays out the steps from there:
I knew from my taste-testing that the dark chocolate and salted caramel would make a great combination and had an idea in my head of a frozen yogurt version of my favorite candy bar: the Take 5. It’s a heavenly conglomeration of chocolate, caramel, pretzels, peanut butter, and peanuts. The muscle memory of years behind the counter at my hometown Dairy Queen came right back to me as I dispensed the dark chocolate and caramel yogurts into my dish.
From there, I headed straight for the dry goods wall and ground some pretzels onto my concoction with a few twists of the lever. I then made my way to the candy buffet in the middle and added the peanut butter element: Reeses. Yum.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I find myself in a “make it yourself” situation, I have a tendency to add too much, resulting in a disgusting jumble of flavors. One particular terrible experience at Khan’s Mongolian Barbecue stands out as a beacon of warning in my mind. Shrimp, pork, pineapple, corn, and peanuts, ack! Does anyone else make this mistake?
In this case, I knew I needed a nut to complete my Take 5 mix, but couldn’t remember what form it took in the candy bar. Peanuts? Almonds? Cashews? There were so many options to choose from, and I was beginning to feel overwhelmed — on the brink of another Khan’s incident, I was sure! Instead I just added a couple of grinds of sea salt and called it complete. I was pretty proud of my restraint in sticking to the theme.
Josh went a little wild, adding to his pear and salted caramel base a mixture of coconut, Snickers, and some mysterious strawberry gummy candies.
Note that we didn’t even come close to filling up our cups. Josh had warned me that they make the dishes one-size-only and the options numerous so that you’ll get carried away and end up with way more dessert than you intended. Being a person who prefers my sweets in smaller quantities, I had no qualms about filling only half of the bottom of my pint-sized dish.
My frugality paid off at the register, where the price you pay is measured by the ounce. My 2.9 ounces only cost me $1.37! Josh’s clocked in a little higher, at $2.50.
We took the escalator down to the sunny main-level atrium and snagged a bench by the waterfall to enjoy our treats in the pleasant faux-outdoors setting.
My “Take 5, Take 2″ tasted even better than I had hoped. The flavors blended beautifully. Josh was a little worried about his crazy combination, but ended up actually very happy with his choices — dubious strawberry gummies and all.
We had just the right portions for a post-lunch snack, and for less than an afternoon soda might have cost!
Quirky, nerdy “science-y” decor, but somehow also streamlined and grown-up feeling.
We were happy that the lone worker left us to our own devices even though we were the only people in the store — we may or may not have over-extended our “sampling” privileges?
All of the colorful ingredients laid out make for a tasty and tempting scene.
Depends on your mixology skills. There was a lot of potential for crazy-amazing or unbelievable disaster. Think: olive oil, oatmeal, gummy candies, bacon bits, thin mints, cayenne pepper…
Value for Dollars
Worth a splurge if you feel like indulging, but fitting for a surprisingly affordable low-fat frozen snack if you have the discipline to limit the toppings!
But don’t take my word for it!
IDS Tower – Crystal Court
80 8th Street South Suite 226
Minneapolis MN 55402
Skyway level next door to Godiva & Starbucks
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm; Sat 11am-5pm; Sun 12pm-4pm
Yogurt Lab on Facebook
Yogurt Lab on Twitter
Yogurt Lab on Pinterest
Yogurt Lab on Yelp
Go forth and fro-yo!