Dub me as obsessed with the downfall of Pinkberry, but I’ve found my favorite replacement for the 50-store chain which previously called its product “all-natural.” And it’s not like I was exactly looking. Truth be known, I was merely looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth after returning some purchases at Target in West Hollywood, located in the same plaza, as I sauntered on in. (I think a Ben & Jerry’s was previously in this spot.) It’s called Ice Pan. Indeed, it really is the anti-Pinkberry, so I’d be lying if that weren’t right up my alley. But who can really argue with somebody who tries to “right” everything Pinkberry has “wronged?” Let’s start with the choices of toppings. No, actually, you get to pick which type of milk. Oh, wait - you pick your flavor first. Whether it’s mango, kiwi, green tea, chocolate, vanilla or strawberry - whatever it is - chopped up bits and pieces of it comprise its flavor. The flavor really is all-natural. After that, you choose from whole, skim, non-fat or soy milk to blend your flavor with. The nutrition facts of every single flavor and milk combination are there, plain as day, for you to see. Then comes the multitude of toppings. None of which are cereal.
I thought it interesting that the process in which the ice cream is made is performed right in front of you. It comes as a milk (yes, liquid form) which is freeze-dried right on a freezing-cold, teppan steel grill. It solidifies and is chipped and pressed into ice cream form by an employee. Also interesting was the fact that nutrition facts of each flavor and milk combination were right there in plain sight - on the wall and in the brochures - so there would be no mistake that no one was trying to pull a fast one on their customers. *ahem* *cough* Like some other establishments and customers out there who are more than willing to fool and be fooled… ;) I’m not saying that this will be the Pinkberry-killer. They only have two locations thus far, and according to my friend Roy, a poorly-located Ice Pan has already closed down in Costa Mesa. But I certainly wouldn’t mind if this delicious dessert became more easily accessible. It costs the same as Pinkberry and is certainly more worth that buck. Hello, all-natural? For real? P.S. - Green tea with soy milk topped by blueberries is a delicious and amazing combination. Apparently, the green tea flavor is ground directly from green tea leaves.