By Kevin Williams
So, after a hike with the girls we were all ready for some ice cream. There wasn't really an ice cream store nearby. Well, there would have been. I had my eye on Friendly's, a chain of ice cream stores in the eastern USA. There used to be one in my hometown, but it shut its doors probably 30 years ago. Still, there was one nearby in Kettering, Ohio for a long time ago but it closed for good in 2014. Kettering was near where we did our hike, so Friendly's would have been perfect. But it's building sits sadly shuttered.
So, that left us with one nearby option: Orange Leaf.
Orange Leaf is one of these places that have become trendy in recent years. The format is the same everywhere: a few frozen yogurt dispensing machines, a serve-yourself"buffet bar" of colorful toppings ranging from M&Ms, gummy bears, Reeses cup pieces, butterscotch chips, etc. The business model is based on you seeing all this stuff that you can't wait to top your yogurt with and hope that you pile it on. Then you weight your treat at the end and you are charged on weight.
I was determined not to get burned this time. Usually, I fall for the trap and just start piling toppings on my yogurt, so much that I have to dig to find my yogurt sometimes. I got the "spoon-in-the-jar good peanut butter" and topped it with some Reese's cup pieces and some peanut butter sauce and that was about it.
SIGH, sometimes I think as I am getting older my taste buds are dulling....but maybe, in this case, it's not that....the problem, I think, comes with yogurt vs. ice cream. When I order something with peanut butter, I want to be knocked out by the peanut butter. I want it so peanut buttery that I start sweating peanut butter. But, no, even smothered in peanut butter sauce that I got at the bar, it still tasted kind of bland. So my conclusion is that if I am going to take a frozen treat, I just want real ice cream that uses the freshest ingredients and be done with it. I just don't think you can replicate flavor richness in frozen yogurt like you can in ice cream.
Now, on the plus side, my girls liked it. My wife liked hers. The cheery, orange chairs and decor made it festive and fun. So, yeah, it was a win, but I'd like Dairy Queen or Graeters (a local chain), any day. Or Friendly's. Please come back to Ohio, Friendly's.