Orange Leaf

by admin on September 4, 2010

in Tyler Businesses

Orange Leaf Self Serve Frozen Yogurt 3985 Old Jacksonville Rd. Tyler, TX. 75701 (903) 939-0510 Hours: Monday thru Sunday from 11:00am till 11:00pm

I am an ice cream fanatic but not an ice cream connoisseur, which means that I’m not too picky about the ice cream that I eat. I just live to eat ice cream. Don’t get me wrong. I do notice the difference in taste, creaminess, and quality between a good ice cream and a not-so-good ice cream. But there are very few ice creams that I will turn my nose up at and refuse to eat. I have to admit that when companies first started making low-fat, no-fat, and sugar-free ice cream, they were to disgusting for even me to enjoy. But they have come a long way since then, especially in the frozen yogurt industry. Now, I know that frozen yogurt isn’t officially ice cream, but I am not an ice cream purist either. For me, a product doesn’t need to be organic, absurdly expensive, homemade, or even actual ice cream, for that matter. If it is frozen, creamy, and tastes good, I am happy.

I recently visited the Orange Leaf a couple of times with my wife and found it to be a pleasant and refreshing change from the normal ice cream shop visit. Orange Leaf really puts you in the driver’s seat. You are in complete control of how much and how many kinds of frozen yogurt you get. That’s because the whole thing is completely self-serve. First you grab yourself a bowl. There are two kinds of bowls available at the Orange Leaf: big and bigger. Then you go get your frozen yogurt. One of the walls of the Orange Leaf is lined with a variety of flavors of frozen yogurt. Each flavor has its own station where you hold your bowl and pull the self-serve lever until you get the amount you want. Heads up, though, the frozen yogurt comes out fairly fast.

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Don’t get distracted or you might end up with a mountain of frozen yogurt oozing out of your bowl and dripping onto your shoe. If you’re not sure what kind of flavor will like, pick two, pick ten, pick as many as you want. My wife and I sampled several flavors on both of our visits. Once you have your yogurt go to the toppings bar and pick out whatever looks good to you. There is a good variety to choose from. Finally, you go to the cash register and see what the damage is. You do this by weighing your bowl of frozen yogurt. At Orange Leaf they charge you by weight – $0.45 an ounce to be exact. And they count the weight of the bowl too, of course. My wife and I weighed the smaller big bowl by itself and it weighed less than an ounce (0.7 ounces, to be precise).

The official Orange Leaf website, says they offer the following flavors: Original Plain Tart, Mountain Ripe Strawberry, New York Cheesecake, Pomegranate Blueberry, Death by Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, Pistachio Almond, Cherry Blossom, Peanut Butter, Kona Coffee, Green Apple, Oreo Cookie, Green Tea, Snickers, Red Lime, Mango, Peach, and Taro. My wife and I noticed, however, that not all the flavors were at the store in Tyler, such as Death by Chocolate and Green Apple (I would really have liked to try that kind). We also saw that the Tyler location has some other flavors there that weren’t listed on the website, such as White Chocolate. So I guess they don’t carry all the flavors in the store at the same time. Also they bring in new flavors to the stores faster than they update their website. The Orange Leaf website lists the following toppings: kiwi, pear, pecan, peach, honey, walnut, peanut, mango, banana, granola, coconut, almonds, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, honey-dew, jelly bellies, dried grape (we call this a raisin where I come from), cranberries, watermelon, Oreo cookies, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, fudgy brownie, gummy bears, dark chocolate, Captain Crunch, sunflower seeds, dried cranberry, dried blueberry, graham crackers, M&M chocolate, dried mixed fruits, rainbow sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, crushed Butterfinger, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cup bits. They also had sauces (chocolate, caramel etc.) that you could drizzle over your frozen yogurt. We saw most of these toppings at the Orange Leaf in Tyler, as well as some others not listed above such as cheesecake bites and Snicker bar pieces. My first time at the Orange Leaf I got three flavors. I got chocolate and peanut butter because I love that taste combo. And I got a little of the coffee flavor on the side. I didn’t get any toppings. I enjoyed my frozen yogurt. It was tasty and refreshing. I was a little disappointed, though, because the flavors the chocolate and peanut butter flavors were not as powerful as I would have liked them to be. The coffee flavor was good to but not amazing.

My wife got Original Plain Tart, Mango Tango, Pomegranate, New York Cheesecake, and Vanilla on her first visit. She is more adventurous than I am. For toppings she got raspberries. We shared our frozen yogurt, so I got to taste some of hers as well. The Original Plain Tart tastes like regular plain yogurt. I liked the Pomegranate the best. The flavor really pops on your tongue. My wife particularly liked the Vanilla. She kept talking about how rich and creamy it was. She said the Mango Tango was also excellent. It’s not creamy like the Vanilla, though. It’s more like a Sherbet.

The second time we went we shared a bowl. It is more economical (by a few cents) and more romantic. We got the Vanilla and New York Cheesecake again because she really like them. And we got Pomegranate again because I enjoyed it so much the first time. This time we also tried the White Chocolate flavor. I loved it. It really tasted like exactly like white chocolate. Even my wife who doesn’t like the taste of white chocolate enjoyed it at first. She liked it less and less the more she ate of it, but that is because she doesn’t like white chocolate in the first place, of course. For topping we got Snickers, raspberries, and brownie bites. We were going to get cheesecake bites but they were out of them. We had just seen them there the day before so they ran out of them pretty quickly. I am curious as to how often they change up the items in their toppings bar.

I like the decor at Orange Leaf. It’s very minimalist and modern looking with bright colored walls and furniture. Some of the stools are sort of wobbly and some of the chairs at the tables looks a bit like large plastic children’s chairs which can get knocked over fairly easy. Still, the place looks quite nice. One of the things I love most about Orange Leaf, besides the delicious taste of the frozen yogurt is the fact that so many of their flavors are either low-fat or no-fat. On their website it says, “Orange Leaf’s all-natural frozen yogurt is low in calories and fat, high in calcium and protein, and it aids digestion. For someone like me that is trying to lose weight and eat healthy, that is good news. Still, I question their commitment to health, because they give you such large bowls, and the frozen yogurt comes out so fast. That combination seems like an easy way to get people to load up far too large a portion. It’s a good way to make money, but not such a good way to help people watch their waistlines.

My wife and I really enjoyed both of our visits to the Orange Leaf. It can be a little pricey, but it is also a lot of fun and the frozen yogurt is really good. We can’t wait to try it again. I highly recommend the Orange Leaf, and the Pomegranate and White Chocolate flavors (that is, if you like white chocolate).

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