Tuttimelon puts a health-savvy spin on traditional frozen delicacies by starting each customizable concoction with tangy, nonfat, probiotic-rich yogurt containing a measly 30 calories per ounce. Choose a burr-inducing base, such as original tart, pomegranate, green tea, or sugarless chocolate ($0.42/oz.), before sprinkling it with a polar peppering of fruit (such as strawberry, peach, pineapple, or blackberry) or dry toppings (such as mochi, yogurt chips, Fruity Pebbles, or Cap'n Crunch). Tang-averse guests can opt to paint their tongue palates with one of more than 40 flavors of gelato and sorbet, available in kids' ($2.29), small ($3.49), or regular ($4.49) sizes, or use them to paint a house and finally unmask the elusive neighborhood brick licker.
When couple Jenna Harvey and Ryan Woods graduated from UC Davis, they decided to create their own jobs. "It's not in our character to throw up our hands and say, 'Well, we tried,'" Harvey says as she remembers doggedly planning a 400-square-foot shaved-ice shack with Woods and their friend Steffen Haro. Their dream quickly evolved into a shop nearly three times as large, complete with an espresso bar, a kettle-corn popper, and a drive-up window. Named Pura Vida for the Costa Rican phrase that captivated Harvey during a charitable trip in 2007—"Locals say to them it means 'live pure,' and we like that"—the affable staff douses fluffy curls of ice with sweet fruits, puckery sours, and an array of sugar-free flavors accented with ice cream or marshmallows. Hot and iced coffees, which Pura Vida hopes to someday source directly from Costa Rica, enliven palates in between bites of kettle corn, which Woods pops from whole-grain kernels. As soft music floats through the red-walled storefront, free WiFi ricochets across the hand-built bamboo counter and onto patio tables perched beneath a shady pitched awning.
TCBY (a.k.a. The Country's Best Yogurt) serves 98% fat-free yogurt, which contains benevolent bacterial cultures that assist the body with digestion and nutrient absorption. The menu touts silky soft serve in flavors such as cake batter and white chocolate mousse ($2.79–$3.99). Top your probiotic-packed treat with strawberries, gummy bears, candy bar bits, or a host of other toppings ($0.49–$0.89). TCBY's Beriyo smoothies—potent potions such as Strawberry Bananza and Berrylicious—contain frozen yogurt blended with bushels of fresh fruit ($3.99–$4.99).
Family owned and operated, Oodles Frozen Yogurt offers a variety of yogurts ($0.39/oz.) made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and packed with a plethora of nutritional niceties. In addition to perennial palate-pleasers such as chocolate, vanilla, and original tart, internationally inspired flavorites include fancy french vanilla or Irish mint; Ty Cobb impersonators can slide tongue-first into the sweetly southern Georgia peach. Eight flavor options are available each week to satiate ever-evolving taste buds, in addition to no-sugar-added and nondairy sorbet alternatives. Top your twist with choices from more than 40 different toppings, or sidle up to the hot chocolate bar during Earth’s cooler months and order an espresso shot ($2) or a whipped-cream-covered cocoa beverage ($3 for small, $3.50 for tall).
At YogoMania, you can skip the middleman and head straight toward self-serve stations to load up on refreshing frozen yogurt. Its Stolting machines swirl 12 featured flavors into cups, cones, and waffle bowls. Flavors change frequently, but on a typical day you can mix up classic flavors such as vanilla bean with exotic café-inspired treats such as cocoa'ccino and milk-chocolate mocha. Or instead, they offer smoothies in flavors such as strawberry and orange-tangerine, which draw their sweetness from real fruit. The smoothies also are free of dairy products, lactose, and gluten. To add an energizing crunch to your treats, add toppings such as graham crackers, Kit-Kats, or toasted almonds, or feel free to bring ice cubes from home.
Saunter into Velvet's world of flavors to savor breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a relaxed, informal dining environment. The venue's menu is made of much-loved entrees such as chicken-fried steak ($10.99), specialty sandwiches that include tuna melts ($8.99) and vegetarian croissants ($9.99), and a complete breakfast club of omelettes, pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal (view the three-part morning menu here, here, and here). In accordance with its name, the creamery is also responsible for a delicious caboodle of premium ice creams and sorbets, which are called into existence right before your eyes. Try a dollop of roasted butternut squash, or busy your licker with the restaurant's cult classic, a triple Belgian chocolate flavor infused with D'Art port wine.
The modest size of Cheesecake Kitchen’s bakery stands at odds with its extensive menu of cheesecakes and cheesecake-flavored desserts, many of which include copious toppings of peanut butter, candy bars, and fruit. The 5-, 7-, and 10-inch cheesecakes nestle side-by-side within a display case that proudly exhibits more than 25 concoctions laced with flavors such as chocolate mocha and eggnog rum. In addition to traditional cake slices, the expert staff bakes their signature cheesecake tastes into brownies, cannoli, cupcakes, and elegant pillbox hats. Cheesecake Kitchen’s freezable cakes can also be slathered in customized decorations to celebrate a birthday party.