Review: The Fix Frozen Yogurt Bar

What? You’re doing yet another food review, Jenn? Why, yes! Thank you for noticing! I have really pushed myself into trying new restaurants recently since so many new ones have sprung up in Lethbridge in the last little while. I felt that it would be a shame to let all the photos of food I have on my phone go to waste! So, yes, here’s another food review (and if I suck at them, just say so!)

It took me two years until I finally stepped into The Fix Frozen Yogurt Bar. I had heard rave reviews about it when it first opened in 2012, but was never able to get my butt over there for some reason. I had never actually been to a self-serve frozen yogurt bar before, so my reason might have been fear of the unknown, but I just couldn’t admit that to myself. Then suddenly, the local frozen yogurt scene seemed to just explode, and I felt overwhelmed by all the choices. Yet everyone I talked to still swore by The Fix, so this summer I finally had to check them out.

Of course, when me and my husband did decide to check them out, it was ten minutes before they closed on a Saturday night. We apologized for coming in so late, but the ladies on staff that night really didn’t seem to mind. As a former smoothie bar employee, I know all too well the frustration of last-minute customers.

The first thing we noticed was how clean it was, but that was kind of a given since the store was about to close and the chairs had been stacked on top of the counters and tables. But, as my recent repeat visits have shown, it is clean pretty much any time that I’ve gone in. The frozen yogurt machines clearly display the flavours available, and whether they are sugar free, dairy free, or fat free. They also provide a tray of sample cups so that you can try a flavour before you fill your bowl with one. I decided on the fat-free New York cheesecake flavour. Knowing that the price of my creation would depend on it’s weight in the end, I was careful how much I swirled in since they only have one bowl size.

Next, we moved on to the toppings. I love the layout of the line because they shove all the healthy stuff to the front so the toppings become more and more decadent the further down the line you go. One of the ingredients that caught my eye were the strawberry popping bobas, which are little balls of liquid flavouring encased in a thin, gelatin-like shell, and when you bite down on them, they pop open. I put a heaping spoonful of those in my bowl, along with some blueberries and kiwi fruit. A little further down the line, I added yogurt-covered raisins (something I haven’t had since I was a kid) and chocolate rocks, but among them were things like Reese’s cup chunks and Skor bits. Heading down a bit further, I added some candy-coated chocolate bits, but I could have also added sprinkles, marshmallows, and Nerds. I was blown away by everything they had! They even have a few shelves behind the counter that have more sweets and special treats to add, but I thought I would stick to what they had set out on the bar for the time being. I also decided against putting a drizzle of caramel or Saskatoon berry sauce on my creation (regret!), and brought it up to the till.

My creation came to $6.60, which is okay by me because the quality of the ingredients and the overall “yum” factor made it worth every penny. My husband gobbled his creation, remarking afterwards that it was like heroin. I think that means he’s addicted, and so am I! I’ve made three more visits since August, and am excited every time I go in to see what new flavours and toppings they put out. I still load up on the strawberry popping bobas, though.

I will be like many of the people who recommended The Fix to me and say that you must give them a try! Just don’t wait two years like I did. Silly, silly me.

The Fix Frozen Yogurt Bar is located at 1283 3rd Avenue South, and if you can’t find parking on the street, turn right into the alley and use the parking in the back. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter so you know what new flavours and toppings they have in store.

Have you tried The Fix yet? If so, what did you think?

I’m in a toppings rut because I always get the same things. What are your favourite toppings for frozen yogurt?

Did you enjoy my extensive use of exclamation marks? I know I did!!!

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Review: Piggyback Poutinerie

I’ve decided to try my hand at writing a restaurant review for the blog, just to do something different. Now, I am not saying that I am a proper food critic and my word is the be-all, end-all, but I know what I like and what I don’t. So, if you need a little extra push to try a new restaurant in the city, I hope my insights will help you with your decision.

The first restaurant I’ve decided to review is the Piggyback Poutinerie, located at 303 – 6 Street South.

I know, easy peasy. It’s POUTINE! A beloved Canadian favourite! How can you make a bad poutine? Oh, my dear friend, I have seen many versions, impostors, and abominations of this delicious dish, but a poutine from Piggyback truly is what a poutine should be.

When you first walk in, you will notice that they don’t have a menu board on the back wall behind the counter. Instead, they provide you with printed menus you can pick up and look through from their front counter. This is because there are A LOT of poutines to choose from besides the usual fries-cheese curds-gravy combination. The poutines on the menu are split up by type of meat, including pork, duck, beef, steak, and chicken (there are meatless options as well).

My husband decided to get the Maple Porky (bacon, maple sausage, cheese curds, and brown gravy), and I ordered the Smokin’ Montreal (Montreal smoked meat, cheese curds, and brown gravy with a dill pickle on top). We also ordered a couple of deep fried dill pickle spears since I’d never had them before.

Our verdict after the first bite? YUM! No wonder they currently have a 100% rating on Urbanspoon! One thing that can turn me off of a poutine is if the gravy is too salty, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. Good gravy, nicely done fries, and the deep fried pickle spears were delicious (but I have yet to encounter a deep fried food that tasted bad). My husband felt that “the gravy was definitely a step-up from the usual ‘hot and brown’, and the fries were desirably crisp on the outside with a tender, soft inside, even under the weight of cheese curds and gravy”.

We ordered our poutines to go, but there are a few seats in the restaurant and outside in front of the restaurant, but not a lot. We would have stayed, but all the tables were taken up outside, and the seating inside is a little cramped. If business continues to do well, I hope the owners will look at moving into a larger location with more indoor seating. Otherwise, I really have no complaints, and wish Dylan and the staff continued success!

Have you tried the Piggyback Poutinerie yet? If so, what did you think?

What restaurant would you like me to try and review before you give it a shot?

Am I any good at these food reviews? (Haha! You don’t have to answer that, but you can if you want!)

Comedic portion

I couldn’t help but laugh. Actually, I had to stifle my laugh since our server was still within earshot.

My husband and I were out for our bi-weekly dinner date night at a local restaurant (which shall remain nameless to avoid trouble), and our meals had just arrived. I had ordered the special of the night, spaghetti and meatballs made with fresh, local ingredients (and a hint of mint, if I’m not mistaken). My husband, however, ordered steak, though I must note that there appeared to be more plate than meal.

Now, my husband has a rather large frame. He has broad shoulders, thick, muscular legs, and is 6-foot-3. His meal, on the other hand, consisted of two small, peeled carrots, one long-stemmed broccoli floret, and a handful of baby potatoes that were roasted (quite nicely, since he offered me to try one) along with his steak that was a little smaller than the size of my palm, not his. For my husband, this meal was comparable to dropping a Saskatoon berry into a large bucket.

I felt bad. Not just because I could finally laugh fully, but because my meal was considerably larger. It was placed inside a bowl with sides that were higher on two opposite ends, with a generous portion of noodles and sauce along with three or four meatballs.

“Would you like some of my spaghetti?” I asked, just as he was finishing his famine.

“No, it’s okay.” he replied.

“What else have you eaten today?”

“Aside from this?” He stared off for a second, thoughtfully. “A can of Coke, I think. That’s it.”

I rolled my eyes internally. I would have been on his case for not eating enough, but I too tend to not eat a lot throughout the day since I find myself so busy taking care of our daughter. Food slips my mind, and in turn, he scolds me.

“Well, you should eat something when we get home.”

“No doubt, I will.” He replied.

Though I had finished my entire bowl of pasta and was feeling rather full, I checked the restaurant’s display case of desserts and decided to order a slice of cinnamon bun cheesecake to share in an effort to sneak some more calories into my husband’s stomach.

We both agreed that our next date night dinner will be at restaurant that we knew served bigger portions.

(Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts)

Here’s a tip: give better service!

Photo courtesy of: passiveaggressivenotes.com

A friend of mine posted the following joke on his Facebook status recently:

“What’s the difference between a canoe and a Canadian? A canoe will tip.”

He went on to say that he finds American customers tip better than resident Canadians.
 
Tips (or gratuities) are an amount of money given voluntarily in addition to the total amount billed for a service before taxes. Most common service industry where tips are given is the restaurant industry.
 
In giving tips, a certain level of service is expected. If achieved or surpassed, North American custom is to tip 15-20%. If not achieved, it is the right of the customer to give as much as 10%, or nothing at all to make a point of being unhappy with the service they received.
 
In recent years I have found that the level of service received, especially from sit down and fast food restaurants alike, to be mediocre at best. It is very hard to find a waiter or waitress (especially in Lethbridge) that really goes above and beyond the expectations of a regular worker in the industry.
 

I’ve gone through long waits before a waiter/waitress comes around to receive drink orders, and even longer waits (or not receiving at all) for refills on those drinks. When they notice their mistake or have it pointed out to them, they just don’t seem to care and don’t apologize for it.

If these people want us to give them extra money on top of our meals (which are already expensive no matter where you go), we need to start seeing some effort put into their hospitality. Even if the job is part-time, minimum wage and something you need to do for an income, still put some care into your position. Don’t just do a half-assed job and expect to still receive tips “just because”.

You earn your tips by the type of service you provide. You don’t provide good service, you don’t get good tips. Now I’m not saying my friend mentioned above doesn’t provide good service (I’ve only been attended to by him once at his workplace and I had no complaints), but if you are finding that you are lacking in tips, it could be due to your customer service skills.