Froots has some of the marks of fast food—the quick service, the expanding franchising—but there's one glaring difference: the healthiness of the menu. The eatery's smoothies mix 100% juice with fat-free vanilla yogurt, and each 16-ounce cup contains three servings of fruit. The eats are nutritious, too, forgoing greasy burgers in favor of albacore tuna salads and wasabi chicken paninis. But all that isn't to say the menu lacks ways to treat yourself. Indulgent shakes blend together ingredients such as chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas, and Energize smoothies work Red Bull into the mix so that diners have the stamina they need to back-flip a marathon.
At Yogurt Lounge, stainless-steel soft-serve machines dispense frozen yogurt in 15 flavors. Above each machine, a placard denotes the flavor, be it chocolate cheesecake, fruit punch, or ham hock. The rotating lineup includes nonfat, low-fat, and nondairy options that swirl into cups at the touch of a lever. After dishing up a portion of frozen yogurt, customers can accessorize it with more than 40 toppings such as gummies, cereal, and fresh fruit. Although Yogurt Lounge is primarily a self-serve operation, staffers can blend smoothies, steep green and thai teas, and dispense batches of shaved ice. True to its name, Yogurt Lounge opens up to a seating area with overstuffed brown couches and a flat-screen TV.
Skinny Minny’s invites customers to control their own dessert destiny with self-service stations to fill cups with non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added, and sorbet swirls sprinkled with as many toppings as they see fit. A full hour of unlimited yogurt throws the doors wide for an onslaught of creations that combine pistachio and chocolate under a blanket of toffee or cheesecake mountains studded with a forest of blueberries, kiwi, and strawberries. Cap’n Crunch can scale to the frosty apex of premium low-fat peanut butter fro-yo or slide down the fudge-drenched slopes of non-fat Georgia peach yogurt. Yogurt’s natural colonies of beneficial active cultures make it a healthy alternative to soft-serve ice cream, and, much like colonies on Roanoke Island, mysteriously disappear after exposure to the elements.
Since 1910, Mikawaya has satiated sweet teeth with myriad mouthwatering Japanese pastries, including mochi, a rich dollop of ice cream swaddled in a sweet-rice dough cocoon. Tickle your taste buds with seven mochi ice cream flavors ($6 for five mochi balls), including tangy mango and soothing green tea, a zenful dessert experience akin to splitting a hot-fudge sundae with an enlightened butterfly. Indulge cocoa cravings with chewy chocolate mochi mouthfuls, nibble on scrumptious strawberry spheres, or bestow boxes upon friends or passersby, a perfect treat to win over the meter maid whose only weakness is rice dough.
Lox of Bagels is breaking the bagel out of breakfast-food prison. While they still serve up bagels loaded with egg and cheese, or bright slices of fresh lox, come midday they build out all sorts of lunch-time delights. In fact, customers might find that the density of bagels better for supporting the hearty slices of ham and generous dollops of mayo than the alternative—wheat bread or their bare hands. To wash it all down, customers grab a bottled drink from the cooler or fill up with hot coffee from the urns lining the wall.
When your army of Easy-Bake Ovens has been deactivated by Y2010K, a tragic pastry-sized void may consume your days. Today's Groupon plays dental assistant to your sweet tooth with $20 worth of cakes and pastries from Torrance Bakery for $10. Locations in Torrance and Gardena, the former housing its own sandwich shop as well, are eager to pack your cheeks with baked and hand-prepared delicacies more pristine than sculpted hedges sculpted by the lasers used for eye surgery.