When you go through a really bad relationship breakup, you need three things (four, if you smoke weed): Netflix, booze and frozen yogurt from Pinkberry. Netflix is for watching horrible movies with Jason Momoa (hopefully he'll be wearing eyeliner), the booze is so you can drink away the memories of all the nice things that your ex did, and the fro-yo from Pinkberry is simply to eat, with the added bonus of it theoretically being less bad for you than ice cream.
Or your ex.
Pinkberry was started in 2005, in West Hollywood, California, by Shelly Hwang and Young Lee -- a former interior design student who was arrested in January 2012 and charged with beating a homeless man with a tire iron over a tattoo, after which Pinkberry dumped his ass. Talk about a bad breakup!
Pinkberry has three locations in this state: in Colorado Springs, Glendale and on the 16th Street Mall, at 1600 Glenarm Place #130. I visited that mall store four times in one week during my last breakup, and I returned this past week to see if the frozen narcotic was just as satisfying when I wasn't experiencing severe emotional trauma.
I fought my way through mall tourists who reeked of expendable income and strawberry daiquiris, and entered Pinkberry, as convinced as I had been on my first visit that the interior of the shop looked an awful lot like an Easter display room at IKEA. Pastel blue walls, pastel green and eggshell white chairs, and tables and lamps made out of curly paper so they look like shower loofahs -- not my favorite choice of décor by any stretch, but it's worth it to get at the loot. And the music was a lot of '80s synth-pop classics. Bands like New Order make lousy breakups feel like something to brag about.
Ordering at Pinkberry is easy, with the assistance of a menu board that breaks the options down into categories and lists the ordering process step by step -- like "Fro-Yo for Dummies." First you choose the serving cup size -- or waffle cone option -- and then go for one of the five featured flavors. The latest choices are original, watermelon, peanut butter, pomegranate and strawberry. The original Pinkberry frozen yogurt is uniquely-flavored, with a tangy flavor and a silky, dense, soft-serve texture almost like yogurty-gelato.
Next up: toppings. Pinkberry has a modest but high-quality selection of sprinkles, chunks, bits and sauces. There are real fruit finishers like whole blueberries and raspberries; sliced strawberries and kiwis; and chunks of fresh-cut watermelon, pineapple and mango. There are also textural toppers, including flaked coconut, milk chocolate shavings and cubes of mochi, as well as additions that seem Denver-inspired, such as yogurt chips, low-fat honey almond granola and organic fruity bears. and, of course, there are also plenty of indulgent add-ons for the broken-hearted palate: chocolate-covered pretzels, brownie chunks, cheesecake bites, chocolate chips and Almond Rocha.
The beauty part of Pinkberry is that it charges by the cup size, so toppings aren't extra, and you can order as many as you want.
Except for the super-special toppings that cost a bit extra: three tubs of thick, goopy sauces -- one chocolate with crispy rice, one peanut butter with crispy rice, and a lemon goop with bits of white cookies. The goops looked delicious -- so hang the cost, I say.
I can never decide between getting something chocolatey or something fruity...but when I'm newly singled and convinced that no one will ever love me again, I usually get both. This trip I decided to split my tastes and order a small cup with chocolate frozen yogurt and peanut butter goop, and another small cup of the featured "Summer Strawberry" creation of strawberry frozen yogurt, sliced strawberries and a balsamic vinegar sauce.
This was the point when I remembered, yet again, how truly satisfying goop-topped frozen yogurt can be -- even when I wasn't using it to fill a hole left by the demise of yet another relationship.The chocolate yogurt was dark, rich and nearly indistinguishable from ice cream, except for the characteristic, mild yogurt tang. The peanut butter goop was thick like luscious, sweet and salty quicksand, and the rice crispies made for a textural mash-up that not only worked, but worked well.
My flipping the script with the cup of strawberry was like having an after dessert...dessert. The strawberries accentuated the tangy taste of the yogurt, and the balsamic vinegar sauce was sweet and grapey with just a hint of tang.
This stuff doesn't heal broken hearts -- only time, self-care and restraining orders can do that. But Pinkberry will patch up your emo-spot long enough for you to update your profile on OkCupid, and that's just long enough.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.