In my town of Florence, Alabama, the newest place to eat and greet is Frostbite, a make-your-own-yogurt-extravaganza spot. I know that folks in Other Places That Aren’t Here have been enjoying yogurt like this for a couple of years and may be all blase and nonchalant about it, but even after several months of pumping yogurt and trying to decide between Butterfinger or Snicker sprinkles and can you mix hot fudge and caramel sauce, it’s still a thrill that’s not getting old. Here’s how it works: There are three machines with two flavors of soft-serve yogurt each that change daily. You can sample each flavor and then grab a cup and pump away. Then you add your own toppings, ranging from cereal to candy to fresh fruit as well as a couple of flavors of ice-cream sauce. When you’re done, you plop your creation on a scale and pay by the ounce — usually about $4-$6. There are several different approaches to designing your own dessert. Some people head straight for their favorites every time. Some people experiment with different combos every time. Others try to see how much they can cram into one cup — $15 yogurt, anyone? — while others are so frugal that they limit themselves to the toppings that weigh the least (puffed cereal tops that list). So far, my favorite yogurt flavors are Birthday Cake, Vanilla Bean and Espresso. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve tried to take a photo of my own creation but, honestly, I’m sort of embarrassed to let you all see how many crumbled-up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I can pile on a scoop of yogurt. Sad, really. I obviously need to go back today and try again. Check out Frostbite, which is locally and independently owned (whatever happened to TCBY, anyway?), on Facebook.
I think I was the only person around who’d never eaten at a P.F. Chang’s — but happily Younger Daughter took care of that when she chose the popular Chinese restaurant for her birthday lunch in Birmingham, Alabama. We by-passed the Sunday-lunch crowd by sitting at the bar, where we got great service and menu recommendations — such as The Best Dessert Ever: Banana Spring Rolls with coconut ice cream. Oh my goodness. I’m telling you, it tastes as good as it looks. And I also was impressed with the women’s restroom — no emperor statues or 11-feet-tall horses here, only sleek and modern Asian chic (or what I assume to be sleek and modern Asian chic, although since my decorating expertise comes mainly from Pier One, I may not be the best person to say.)