On Black Friday, YaYa will officially open in Bishop Arts, joining Azucar Miami-style ice cream and the upcoming joint operation of Melt Ice Creams out of Eno’s side-hustle to-go spot (soon to open across the street).
Ralph Isenberg, after retiring from 40 years in real estate, has registered Tex-Mex yogurt with the Library of Congress, and is bringing Tex-Mex soft-serve frozen yogurt. I admit I was skeptical at first, suspiciously ogling the sign in the window that looks onto Bishop Avenue. What would Tex-Mex yogurt mean? Swirls topped with candied jalapeño? It sounded like a marketing scheme in a saturated market. Not a bit.
I stopped in over the weekend during the shop’s soft opening, as they introduced wanderers-in to their Veracruz vanilla, infused delicately with lavender and a hint of cinnamon; Abuelita chocolate ice cream, rich and spiced; and a faintly blushing strawberry-hibiscus. Coffee has a flavor like cafe de olla, and there’s a lovely yogurt tang to tamarind. A vegan concoction of coconut milk is flavored gently with rose and lychee.
All are light and delicate in their flavorings, which Isenberg has been developing for months. In the works for Friday were the promise of elotes, jalapeño, and others to fill out the 12 machines he’s bought from a company in Wisconsin that monitors their temperatures and status and can make remote alterations and trouble-shoots. They are high-performance machines for a shop that’s quaint and simply furnished, with light streaming in big windows that Isenberg doesn’t want to obscure with signage—just views of the Bishop Avenue trees and in the evenings, sunset streaks.
Toppings will include fruits and a tapioca pudding with the flavors of Mexican rice pudding. A freezer will bear pints of frozen yogurt to take home or to have swirled to order with syrups for flavors like pink guava (Morin for now, but Isenberg wants to make his own house syrups). The rest of the frozen yogurt is sold by weight.
The shop opens at 12:01 a.m. on Friday. I know I’ll stop in for a light, refreshing treat post-Thanksgiving.