The frozen yogurt craze started on the West Coast and has been growing in South Florida. Sister and brother Lin and Kian Wong opened a cool new place a few months ago in North Beach named Mimi Frozen Yogurt. Their uncle added an artistic touch: a wall of hand-sculpted white compound with colored lights that resembles swirls of frozen yogurt.
The pair came to America as children from Fujian in South China and grew up in the Chinese restaurants their parents ran in New York, New Jersey and Virginia. The family relocated 11 years ago to Miami, where Kian studied international marketing at FIU.
Lin, whose nickname is Mimi, had the idea for the yogurt business and hired an architect to create the mod design. Six machines in the back of the shop dispense two flavors of frozen yogurt each. Grab a 16-ounce cup and take your pick. Then add dry toppings from bulk holders and fruit from a bar near the register.
The live-culture yogurt is made by Honey Hill Farms in Texas. There are 18 rotating flavors including espresso, caramel sea salt, California tart (super tangy), strawberry cheesecake, orange and chocolate hazelnut, and most are kosher certified. There are always two dairy-free sorbets and at least one sugar-free yogurt.
Real fruits and nonfat or low-fat milk keep the yogurt on the healthy side unless you add tons of gummy bears, sprinkles, mini marshmallows and crushed Oreos. Other toppings include pecans, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, peaches, loquats, strawberries, pineapple and boba bubbles — a kind of tapioca pearl filled with juice that bursts in the mouth. This is a welcome newcomer as summer heats up.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.