As we said earlier this month in Side Dish, last year's crepe craze has been replaced by this year's self-serve frozen yogurt fad. In addition to iTopIt and YoYogurt, which are featured here this week, Lulu's Frozen Yogurt will open in mid-May at 9475 Briar Village Point, #152 (lulusyogurt.com), and SummerSweet Frozen Yogurt Cafe should open by early July at 7142 N. Academy Blvd. (summersweetyogurt.com, coming soon).
Our guess: This swirly movement will continue, as evidenced by an even more explosive self-serve frogurt trend in areas like Phoenix and Southern California, which inspired these outfits.
While on the theme of frozen dessert, we dispatched Bryce to check out a highly rated Colorado ice cream franchise that hit our scene last summer. Ever the contrarian, wouldn't you know he got sorbet and gelato instead.
1610 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-8748, itopit.com
I love the free sampling feature, and shamelessly try around half of the 24 options (16 single flavors and eight swirls) before selecting cake batter, strawberry and coffee. The scarily true-to-flavor cake batter is a guilty treat, and from the 70-plus toppings, we add walnuts and almond slivers. The not-as-synthetic strawberry gets mochi (rice cubes), chocolate almond pebbles and glazed "chocolate rocks," and the mild coffee gets Andes mint chips and peanuts.
Ingredients blend into a mess whose sugar content likely outweighs the promoted probiotic benefit (see yocream.com). Also, the corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors inherent to most selections aren't ideal. But hey, this is a satisfying and fun dessert, at a totally doable 39 cents an ounce. More bright walls, sparkle tiles and sparkling candies will come soon to 2912 N. Powers Blvd. — Matthew Schniper
5885 Stetson Hills Blvd., 302-6093, yoyogurtusa.com
At YoYogurt, catch more pearly walls and 18 options (12 individual flavors and six swirls) that, like iTopIt's, are procured from YoCream. So, expect the same artificial action and basic set-up: taste test, pick your flavor(s), choose between some 40 toppings, and pay 37 cents per ounce.
Now, Matthew's a big boy, and can control his portioning; with kids, you'll find over-serving is easy, and if you pump it, you pay it. We managed to limit our 20-ounce cup to three flavors and 11.8 ounces (amounting to $4.35). The truly concentrated pistachio packed more of a punch than the creamy strawberry cheesecake, and the tart and tangy strawberry kiwi, topped with mango and nuts, was our unanimous top pick. A second location's coming soon to 8816 N. Union Blvd. — Monika Mitchell Randall
Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato
5166 N. Nevada Ave., #100, 599-9800, coloradospringsicecream.com
Michael Van Schooneveld's creamery franchise expanded from Boulder and has enjoyed success so far, locking up a dessert contract with Concept Restaurants and winning bronze in our annual Best Of competition after only two months in operation.
No argument from me, after pushing a thick and creamy, puce-colored raspberry and lemon gelato ($3.32/small) against the top of my mouth. Flavors pop, as all items are made at the store — a combination coffee-house-and-ice-cream-shop featuring Ümpire Estate beans, and Artemis Fowl books on the shelves — with locally sourced fruit when available.
A blood orange sorbet ($3.32/small) is equally luscious, the lack of dairy letting the natural tart and bitter flavors in the fruit carry the dessert, which is frozen to minus-32 degrees before serving. — Bryce Crawford