Today's the greatest day of the year around City of Ate headquarters, where most of us are decked out in costumes of varying degrees of good taste, reminding everyone else in the building why they're sorry to have us here on the seventh floor.
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Best of all, it means this: We're right in the thick of pumpkin frozen yogurt season. For years, I've wondered why they can't keep the flavor around all year, but if it's got to be a seasonal taste, this year's harvest-related time might be the best one yet for the fro-yo. There are more yogurt shops around this year than the last -- incredibly, they're still one of the best bets in a tough real estate market -- and more chains are sporting pumpkin now than in years past.
I may have grown up (overweight) on pumpkin ice cream, but even if it's a little less rich, the flavor translates well to the tart yogurt base most fro-yo shops use now. Yumilicious rolled out the pumpkin in Plano, then in Uptown early this month, and the Dallas-based chain's take on the holiday flavor may be the best in town, striking a good balance between the sweetness and the spice. Up on Northwest Highway at Yogurtland, you can self-serve a similar take on pumpkin pie, with just a little more spice. (Their recipe online lists ginger, cinnamon and cloves.) I Heart Yogurt at Inwood Village seems to be the lone anti-pumpkin holdout in town. (Natsumi on Henderson Avenue has a pumpkin gelato, but not a yogurt.)
You won't get the satisfaction of pouring your own -- do you pour a cup of yogurt? -- elsewhere around town, but locally based Red Mango reprised their pumpkin flavor this fall, and for the first time, Pinkberry ventured into the gourdy waters this year as well. Pinkberry's take comes across as oddly fruity, while Red Mango's brings some disarmingly strong spice.
I haven't tried it, but the one I'm looking forward to most is TCBY's pumpkin spice flavor, which is back for its third year -- but, according to folks at the shop at Abrams Road and Mockingbird Lane, it's in short supply. According to the manager there, it's the only TCBY flavor they only get one shot at ordering for the whole season. They hope to keep the flavor around through Thanksgiving (when eggnog season rolls around), but they already ran out once last weekend. More's on the way this afternoon or tomorrow he says, for "as long as we can keep the product coming in."