Pink Berry versus Red Mango

This weekend in NYC, I was made part of a fierce and heated debate: Which is the better low-cal, yogurt-flavored, of-vaguely-Asian-origin frozen yogurt? Started in 2005, Pink Berry had the first-in-market advantage in the states, and quickly became the stuff of celebrities and obsessions. Red Mango, on the other hand, was founded in 2002, came late to the scene in the United States, and seems relegated to second-class status.

Both are yogurt-flavored frozen yogurt, served with mostly fresh fruit toppings and other not-so-sweet toppings (Captain Crunch is available, but heath bar is not). The styles of each store are a similar style—clean, hip, and happy. Each has its converts and its faithful contingents who swear, “It’s so much better than [other brand].”

Add me to that list. After a weekend in the city, I can now be counted among the Red Mango enthusiasts. While so much is similar between the two franchises, there’s one thing that’s quite different; the taste. Red Mango’s servings do a better job of capturing that tangy sour-sweetness of real yogurt, meaning that the fruit it’s so often served with works to (I love it with mangos) complement it instead of serving as a distraction.

I went back for seconds in the same evening, just because it was so delicious. Thank you to Claire and Kyra for the introduction to my new favorite obsession.

Sounds crazy, no?

No one I know thinks Manischewitz is good for anything except filling Elijah’s cup at Passover. But I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for it. I mean, it tastes like grape juice, but so what? Grape juice is nice. Especially if you dip a piece of challah in it, right?

But since Manischewitz is so cloyingly sweet, it really can’t be consumed like wine. Which means there is almost always some left over. So when Kerry over at Serious Eats proposed making Manischewitz into a granita, I immediately went for the half-drunk bottle that’s been sitting in the back of my parents’ kitchen cabinet.

Because we had half a bottle, we used a smaller pan, but we otherwise followed the (very basic) instructions to the letter. (Essentially, pour and freeze.) Thankfully, the smaller quantity also meant that it froze faster, so we didn’t have to wait nearly as long to taste the concoction. The results were delicious—cold, tasty grape-flavored ice with a litle kick. Martini glasses are absolutely the right thing to serve it in, as it looks very pretty against the glass.

Yes, in the end it’s just frozen Manischewitz, but somehow the formation of ice crystals dress up this overly sweet “wine” into a fun and impressive dessert.