Fro-yo war: Fru-Lala vs. DIY

The ultimate battle for frozen yogurt domination wages on.

by Kara Nesvig

There have been many enduring rivalries in history: the Hatfields and McCoys , the Montagues and Capulets (who cares if theyâÄôre made up?), Leno and Letterman , Pepsi and Coke âĦ the list goes on and on. And now, in this episode of âÄúA&E DIY,âÄù weâÄôre about to pit new Dinkytown resident Fru-LalaâÄôs tangy frozen yogurt against that which weâÄôve whipped up in our own kitchens. Who will emerge victorious? The swipe of our credit card versus our own blood, sweat and muscle-building fro-yo churning? See for yourself. Fru-Lala Because frozen yogurt has taken over the country, landing spots on âÄúThe HillsâÄù and âÄúGossip Girl ,âÄù itâÄôs kind of weird that East Coast/West Coast craze Pinkberry hasnâÄôt landed in the Twin Cities yet. The frozen yogurt chain, famous for its sweet-tart yogurt, has a cult-like following in Los Angeles and New York City, probably because all the chicks who are fanatical about it are also obsessed with watching their weight. Either way, it must be good, because frozen yogurt is a dining trend thatâÄôs on the up and up. Fru-Lala just opened a few doors down from Mesa Pizza. Sisters Susan and Gloria Kang were inspired by the Hong Kong fro-yo craze and nabbed the space recently vacated by The Hot Spot. Having peeked in the windows to admire the Philippe Starck-esque plastic chairs (maybe a nod to Pinkberry) and magenta damask-print wall, I was intrigued. Is Fru-Lala legit? Can it hold its own in the swamped Dinkytown dining scene? After all, the last ice cream-centric venture on campus, gelato-vending Cereal World, failed miserably. With my roommates in tow, I stopped in on a sunny Saturday afternoon after being lured by the promise of puppy chow toppings for our French Vanilla frozen yogurt. Fru-Lala offers a rotating selection of base flavors, like the original tart and green tea, to which you can add up to three toppings for a concoction all your own. My pomegranate frozen yogurt was fruity but not cloyingly sweet, and the blackberries and chocolate chips I added to it only enhanced the flavor. Sure, the toppings could be fresher and more varied, but itâÄôs still finding its footings. IâÄôm pretty sure the lines at Fru-Lala will be as long as MesaâÄôs once the temperature rises. DIY Can my culinary talent (or lack thereof) beat the $3.49 happiness in a cup from Fru-Lala? HereâÄôs what I did, but keep in mind the recipe can be fiddled with. Three 7-oz. cups of strained Greek yogurt 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp. lemon juice Handful frozen strawberries (You can use anything you want. Next time IâÄôm going to try honey.) Because I donâÄôt have an ice cream machine, I blended everything up in my blender until smooth and refrigerated the mix for an hour. After an hour, I stirred it briskly and put it in the freezer, keeping the mixture in the blender. (I would recommend transferring it to a large, covered bowl, because the blender was a bit difficult to stir after a while.) Every 30 minutes, remove it and stir âÄî youâÄôve really got to get it all mixed up, so use your muscles. The whole process took me about five hours, and I ended up with a mixture that was just a bit heavier and more yogurt-flavored than what ignited my passion at Fru-Lala. However, IâÄôm eager to keep channeling my inner Martha Stewart and perfect the recipe.