It started at approximately 8:10 pm last Friday night. My friends had just arrived at the theatre where we would be viewing a free screening of the somewhat egregious, but mildly amusing My Life in Ruins with Nia Vardalos, and they were all abuzz about their pre-movie outing at Pinkberry.
“Oh my gosh, the coconut was so good!” Katie gushes, as her fro-yo partners in crime nod in agreement. They all arrived early to get free Pinkberry samples of the latest flavors being debuted that day – passion fruit and coconut.
I raise my eyebrows in interest. “Really? What did you get with it?”
“Mochi!” Katie says proudly, a rapturous smile stretching across her normally cherubic face.
My lower lip starts to jut out into the specific pouty face that I reserve for moments of food deprivation. I love mochi. And I didn’t have time to eat dessert after my quick dinner of Amy’s frozen spinach pizza.
“How was the passion fruit?” I ask. “When Tara Met Blog really liked the passion fruit.”
“It’s gooood! I got it swirled with the coconut.” Amanda brags.
I glance at my watch – it’s 8:15. Not enough time to run across the street to get one before the movie starts at 8:30.
A scowl accosts my face. I’m going to have to wait.
The next two hours are torture. Not because the movie is painfully bad (Though it is rife with sophomoric humor that does not tickle my particular fancy. At all.), but because in almost every scene someone is eating an ice cream cone. It is a primary theme in the movie – the ice cream is symbolic of enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
For me, it is symbolic of only one thing – my desperate Pinkberry craving.
I don’t crack a smile during the entire film. All I can think about is how much I want – nay need – Pinkberry with mochi.
As soon as the movie lets out, I start texting my friend Hank to see if he will accompany me.
“I want froyo.” I type frantically.
“They sell it at a variety of establishments." He responds a second later.
“Do you want to come with me?”
“I think I’ll pass.”
I grunt in disapproval. “They don’t have froyo in Africa…” I remind him. (He is leaving for a three-week trip to the Congo this Saturday.)
He still isn’t convinced.
A second later, I’m dialing my roommate, hoping that she will be game for an innocent break to her diet, but she is similarly disinterested in consuming the tart, unfathomably addicting yogurt with me.
“No matter,” I think. Despite my typical policy of never getting ice cream/cupcakes/cookies sans someone who will make me feel less guilty about it, I decide that tonight I will indulge with or without assistance. I'm a big girl, I can eat crap if I want to!
I pull into the location on Melrose and La Brea, and request samples of both the passion fruit and pomegranate flavors. Despite the allure of its newness, the passion fruit doesn’t do much for me, and I instead opt for a medium pomegranate with my standard accompaniments – strawberries, mochi and blueberries.
“$6.95.” The cashier says.
I gawk in disbelief. “Uhhh… uhhh…”
“Pomegranate is $1 more than the other flavors.” She explains.
I nod, still shocked that I am spending $7 on yogurt that contains indecipherable ingredients, but am too anxious to begin cramming my face to give it more intelligible thought. I hand her the cash and high tail it back to my vehicle in the back parking lot.
Five minutes later I am reveling in a pink sea of red, white and blue deliciousness.
“Mmmm mochi….” I text Hank to inform him that his decision to forgo the fro-yo was ill-conceived.
Two minutes later my cup is empty – the yogurt is gone without a trace, like it was never even there at all.
In my eagerness to consume the rapidly melting dessert before it turned into Pinkberry soup, I’d raced through the treat, hardly allowing the flavors to register on my tongue. Despite the size of my cup and pleasurable taste sensations left on my tongue, I still feel unsatisfied.
I still want more.
I go to bed shortly after, already thinking about going back for another round the next day.
This is what Pinkberry does. This is why Pinkberry is successful. It turns completely rational (err sometimes) people into greedy gobblers. Obsessive compulsive eaters who cannot rest until their cravings have been scratched – no matter the cost or lengths it requires to secure them.
I resist the temptation when I drive down Melrose the next evening, but I know that someday soon I will be hit with another Pinkberry craving again. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be contained. And I cannot fight the lush combination of that infamous tart yogurt with my favorite mochi, strawberry and blueberry toppings.