The Frozen Yogurt “Culture” — Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!

photo courtesy of (click picture to reach article)

The frozen yogurt phenomenon has finally reached my doorstep.  Within six months, three frozen yogurt places have cropped up in my neck of the woods and one more will open up soon. Red Mango is at the Flatirons Mall in Broomfield, Smart Cow in Westminster, Colorado, and the Golden Spoon in Arvada, and Broomfield, Colorado (with many other locations nationwide).  Additionally, Yogurtland will be opening soon in Arvada, Colorado, as well.  Of all of these, Smart Cow is the one with only one location thus far and they give to local schools and the community which is great!

So, what is this craze with frozen yogurt in Colorado and why now?  For about 3 to 4 years now, the frozen yogurt craze has been sweeping the east coast and west coast in cities like New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Finally, the craze has spread to the Rocky Mountain Region! I have to say, I cannot complain – I am completely addicted, and from the lines I have stood in at Smart Cow, I think others are too!  It is so easy to get sucked in with forty-two cents an ounce, but it adds up quite quick!  The flavors are very good and it is hard to believe most of the flavors are non-fat or reduced-fat –flashback: remember the Seinfeld episode when they thought they were eating non-fat but it was not? Hmmm…. I hope I do not have to get anyone of the flavors fat-tested but keep in mind and like the article I linked to the picture above discusses, yogurt is not always healthier than ice cream – it just depends on quantity, type of flavor, and calories.  Some yogurts are also just reduced fat and others are just downright deceiving so check a nutrition chart- here is a sample from Smart Cow’s website and one from Yogurtland can be opened here.  Here is a nutrition chart for Golden Spoon (this is just for the the flavors not toppings) and this is the Red Mango nutrition chart.  Now, keep in mind the delusion of fat-free especially if you are going to add a bunch of unhealthy or non-fruit toppings.  I think what gets most people is the toppings.  So while you are actually eating non-fat yogurt with 110 calories (per serving), when you top it with a bunch of sugary-good toppings, you are basically done and you can watch those 8 to 10 ounces of yogurt at 42+ cents an ounce add up quick – on your wallet and on your waist!

Not all yogurt places are self-serve or yogurt bar concept. Smart Cow, Red Mango, and Yogurtland are similar in that there is a yogurt bar where you grab a cup, get flavors that you want, followed by a toppings bar or station where you can really load on the flavors. You then get to the register where you weigh your creation and pay up! Yum! Golden Spoon is completely different and you order set flavors and top the cup or cone almost like Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone but of course, not as thick and creamy (yuk- after having frozen yogurt -it is hard to eat that creamy stuff).  I prefer the build-your-own yogurt bars because you can get away with smaller portions and different flavors, different toppings for different members of the family, and lower prices (or not).

At a time when we are all trying to stay healthy, I love the yogurt bar concept but be careful of toppings and check out the nutritional charts – not all flavors are fat free and calories are… well, calories!  You still have to burn them somehow to stay healthy. Colorado is the only state with less than 20% obesity for now and I hope it stays that way despite these addictive yogurt dives.  Grab a spoon, grab a cup…and woh!  Watch out – this yogurt “culture” can be quite addictive!

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The Adjustment Bureau – movie review


poster courtesy of Universal Pictures- all rights reserved and attributed

The Adjustment Bureau is out on DVD and we got to watch it this week. I was initially annoyed by this movie because it was frustrating to watch as someone else tried to control the main character’s (played by Matt Damon) every move.

But soon, I started getting deeper into it and it reminded me a little of the movie Inception but without all the cool special effects.  I loved Inception, and just like that movie, in The Adjustment Bureau there are deeper meanings, spiritual and religious undertones, and it’s an overall good movie.  Of course, it helps that Matt Damon is in the movie- he is a great actor and always delivers a great performance, and this movie is no different.  The concept or theme is simple and yet quite complex, and eventually, you begin to understand the entire story as it begin to unfolds.  I do not want to spoil it for you so you will have to watch it for yourself but it is worth the 1 hr 45 minutes and whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or atheist, this movie will leave you thinking about what it is that is truly your … plan, and the bigger question: Are YOU in control of it?

Have you seen the movie?  If so, what did you think?

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Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill- A Vegetarian Delite & Healthy for all!


We stumbled upon a little café that was simply fabulous in Colorado Springs.  But, I quickly and pleasantly learned later that Garbanzo is a chain (limited to Colorado only so far) and there are several locations both in Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area. All I can say is about Garbanzo is, you must give this place a try to believe it!

Garbanzo is a Mediterranean Grill with very reasonable prices and amazing tasting food and if you are vegetarian or vegan, talk about choice! This is the place for you!  If you are not, well there is plenty on the menu for you too – talk about options!

Their menu is extensive and the selections are fresh. You can get the half soup/half sandwich combo and for a little over $6.00, you get a stuffed pita sandwich, choice of soup and pita wedge for your soup- it’s great for lunch or dinner and the portions are perfect. My first experience was amazing – at the Broadmoor Colorado Springs location and I must say, I am very impressed.  It was such a great experience that I went twice in the same weekend but different locations.  I also visited the Powers Blvd and North Carefree Circle location and took my whole office with me.  This time though, I got the salad and topped it with felafel and it was great.  Overall, I have to say both locations were great and the food is very healthy.  Also, from the get-go, when you walk into any of the locations, you are greeted by very friendly staff, and offerred free samples of falefal and their awesome chips which you simply must try!

Garbanzo is truly tasty and perfect for a quick bite to eat when you want something healthy and inexpensive. And how about your kids? Your kids will love it too!  There is a reasonable kids’ menu with traditional kid choices twisted into the Mediterranean taste I am confident they will love. Great place, great service and at the right price, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is a place you do not want to miss!

Don’t miss Garbanzo — on facebook and on twitter too!

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Hacienda Colorado- Mexican food with a twist!

I had heard great things about Hacienda Colorado from a friend of mine and the opportunity presented itself this weekend for us to finally go to the Westminster location. I just have one word to say regarding the food and the flavors- WOW!  The waiter informed us that all their items are made fresh, right there on site, and all their flavors were their own.  He was right.  The tortillas are made right there and you can view them being made.  It’s fun for the kids.   Let me say, these tortillas are like nothing I have ever head- they are so thin, so flavorful, and yet… it’s a tortilla!  From the start, our chips and salsa were quite yummy.  This salsa with 1 pepper rating (pictured) is very good and not so spicy that kids cannot eat it.  It is perfect!  Hacienda has a lot of different sauces- some vegetarian, others are not.  Look for the number of the peppers.  The more the peppers, the spicier the salsa.  All of the food was fabulous from the refried beans, the charro beans, black beans, guacamole, to the fajitas, quesadillas, and enchilada platter, all their food is remarkably flavorful and each item made with care.  I have to say, when the tastes linger for hours after the dining experience is over, you know this is place you want to return to!

Any negatives?  Well, for us, this was our first time there and the service, frankly, with two kids was very slow- too slow!  You can read my other reviews on Mexican restaurants like Jack N Grill and Three Margaritas (Westminster) on YELP which boasted very quick and friendly service.  Then, you will understand why I prefer faster, more efficient service.  It is hard enough to eat with two toddlers and then, if the service is long and not good, it is even harder.  We were there for Sunday lunch and it took 90 minutes from start to finish and frankly, for people with kids, that is too long.  If we wanted a long, quiet siesta with our meals (without kids of course), then I can see it taking so long and being all romantic but alas, I am an American with kids who have a short attention span and yes, sadly, I want our service to be fast, efficient, and friendly.  In the past three months, we have eaten at about 5-6 other places and the service has been a lot better than we got at this location.  So, while we loved, loved the food, we are hoping Hacienda Colorado in Westminster improves the speed of its service especially for those of us with kids who want quicker and more efficient service.

I highly recommend Hacienda Colorado for the flavorful food, the different salsas, and the amazing tortillas.  As to leftovers we had, there was not a drop of anything wasted- it was all finished to the last bean.

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