Frozen yogurt is a fairly low calorie treat that can be consumed by pretty much anyone, even the dairy-free. It's been altered in so many ways to meet dietary restrictions that we're not even sure if some variations can still be considered froyo. But even in cold weather (does 50 degrees count?) you can spot Bigg Chill, in a strip mall on the corner of Westwood and Olympic Boulevards, by its long lines and frantic customers fighting over spots in the dinky parking lot. The 20-year-old shop is a favorite for locals, but there's a newbie in town, Frost, which opened a few months ago down the street. Frost has more flavors, toppings and gelato than the West L.A. staple, but does the yogurt match up?
There are places such as Menchies and Yogurtland, where you decide with what to fill your cup, and then there are old-timers like Penguins, Frost, and Bigg Chill, where you pay someone to do it for you. The DIY places usually have more selection, but often sacrifice taste with products compromised by the type of machines and thickeners used.
Bigg Chill is one of those unassuming places in L.A. that serves quality product every time you go. And as is with most places, it can be scene-y. You'll see skinny women ordering massive pints of frozen yogurt (most likely their meal for the day) and large men with baby-sized cups, nibbling away. The long lines are usually filled with squinting customers trying to see the hand-written flavors on the white board. There's a handful of them, including Wow Cow; carbolite; and low-fat and non-fat options.
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Frost and Bigg Chill both have flavor hotlines, in case you're jonesing for nutty coffee or chocolate mousse and want to be sure it's worth the wait, though Frost typically is not busy. If you're into carbolite, Frost has a better selection with a more creamy consistency. Chocolate's your best bet. Bigg Chill, on the other hand, specializes in low-fat and non-fat varieties: they're more ice cream-like, thicker, less sugary and more fulfilling. You don't need to pack it with toppings; it holds its own. Once you've had all the flavors several times over and need some variation, add on vegan cookie dough (a bit grainy, but better than most) and fruity boba balls. They also carry "chill berry," but that's what Pinkberry's for.
We recommend the vanilla custard and cake batter at Bigg Chill. The red velvet, coconut cookie, dulce de leche and peanut butter are also mouth-watering. If you're too lazy to stand in line for a richer, more decadent dessert, then drive down the street to Frost. If you want to be dissuaded altogether from the outing (belated Lent?), check out Penguins' website. The theme song tells us: "Ice cream tastes great, but it makes you fat. There's not too much good sense in that.." Sadly, there's more.