Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Red Mango, Philadelphia Airport

Some might dread needing to eat their meals in airports.  Me?  I consider airports opportunities to try foods I don't normally have access to, or, I suppose, I don't normally seek out.

On a recent journey, I had a layover in Philadelphia, my first time ever.  I eagerly looked up all my choices.

I was overjoyed when I saw that every terminal there featured one of my favorite treats: froyo.  Terminal F even had one of my favorite frozen yogurt shops: Red Mango.  Back when Ojan lived in Palo Alto, there was a Red Mango near his house, and we visited ... frequently.  It was my favorite froyo at the time, and I have very fond memories.

The other terminals all also have froyo shops, but they have Pinkberry instead.  I like Pinkberry, but we have one in SF, so I have visited and reviewed many times.  Red Mango however is somewhere I don't get to visit anymore, so  I was even more excited when I found out my flight was landing in the F terminal.

But I had a dilemma.  My ongoing flight was in another terminal, and the places I wanted to get savory food were also in that terminal.  There was no way I had the time to go back and forth.  So, I had to either skip the froyo (ha!), or eat my froyo before my lunch.  You know what I choose.
10 Flavors Self Serve.
The model here is self serve, which is different from the Red Mango I had visited in the past.  That said, I'm a fan, and prefer self-serve, so I can mix and match, and, most importantly, load it up with ALL THE TOPPINGS!

There were 10 flavors, spread out on 5 machines, each with two flavors.  They didn't have any of my favorites, like peanut butter, but it was a decent selection.  The flavors of the day (listed as pairs that could be swirled) were:
  • Pomegranate & Original.
  • Vanilla Bean & Slam Dunk.
  • White Peach & Sonoma Strawberry.
  • Blueberry & Raspberry Sorbetto.
  • Coconut & Mango.   
 Unlike most self-serve locations, they do not have any sample cups, which makes sense given the airport location, but it meant I had to commit before tasting any.  How would I know which were any good?

The solution?  I made a massive creation, and got half of the flavors.  I skipped the Pomegranate, Original, Vanilla, and Sonoma Strawberry because they sounded the most boring, and the Raspberry Sorbetto, because, why pick sorbet?

The toppings lineup was impressive, but in my excitement, I failed to get a photo.  Whoops!

To start, there were assorted sauces (chocolate, caramel, etc), all in ridiculously sticky bottles.  To add some crunch, there were tons of different nut toppings, ranging from simple sliced almonds, to honey soaked walnuts, to sweet and spicy pecans.  For the healthy, some basic fruit toppings.  And of course tons of candy, including all the classics like Butterfinger, peanut butter cups, and sour gummy worms.  And sprinkles and popping boba in a multitude of colors.  And then all the good stuff like cookie dough, pieces of cake, and brownie bits..

I was like a kid in a candy shop.  I couldn't wait to create my cup.  This is why these places do well.

The price was a whopping 58 cents per ounce, almost 20 cents higher than I think is normal?  Yay, airports.
My Creation.  $4.50.
As I said, I picked half of the flavors.  And I added a slew of toppings, each targeted at different flavors.  My creation came out to about $4.50, not nearly as bad as I feared actually.  Good thing I picked the smallest cup size, I could have done some serious damage with a larger one!

And ... the froyo wasn't very good.  Almost all of it was too icy.

Flavors (from worst to best):
  • White Peach: This was way, way too sweet.  The peach flavor might have been nice, but it was just sweet overload.  And it was icy.
  • Coconut: Also very icy, slight coconut flavor.  Not awful, but not very good.
  • Blueberry: A bit creamier, decent blueberry flavor.
  • Mango: The best of the fruit flavors.  Still fairly icy, but the mango flavor was very nice.
  • Slam Dunk: This was basically Oreo flavor.  It was the only flavor I tried that was remotely creamy.  The Oreo flavor was good.  My hands down favorite, and the only one I'd get again.  Had I sampled the flavors before purchasing, I certainly would have only picked this one, perhaps with a little mango on the side.
The toppings however were much better, and I was satisfied with all my choices.  Maybe I really just wanted a bowl of candy?  In order of preference:
  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans: They weren't really spicy as promised, but the candied nuts added a great crunch.
  • Almond Toffee Bits: Who doesn't like sweet and sticky crunchy things?
  • Sour Gummy Worms: Standard, but I always love these things, and they weren't stale or hard.
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Sauce: yes, the bottle was a sticky mess, but the flavor of this was good, and it went really nicely with the mango.
  • Yogurt (or white chocolate?) Mini Chips: Also went nicely with the mango.
  • Honey Walnuts: These were great.  Walnuts soaked in a sweet sauce (honey? maple?).  They saved my lackluster coconut choice.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bits: And ... the winner.  Soft, buttery, perfect size bits.  Went great with the Slam Dunk.
Overall, I can't say this was a great success, but I did enjoy the Slam Dunk with cookie dough bits.
Red Mango Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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