Try Chobani Creations

Hi, friends!  Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and Monday. Don't forget, Practical Paleo hits shelves TODAY!  Read my review here.  Even with generally paleo-inspired eating, one thing I, personally, have not given up is my Greek yogurt.

I've already gabbed about how much I loved my first visit to the new Chobani Soho store in New York City, so it's no surprise that I went back for more. ...and more. 


I'm going to storytell for a bit before getting to the flavor reviews, so if you're here to learn about ChobaniSoho's Creations, you can either first read all the wonderful things I have to say about Pilates, a blogging buddy, and my second visit, or you can scroll down and miss out on the fun. Your choice.

First, on Sunday, I was lucky to have a fit-foodie date with Caitlin, who was in town for the BlogHer '12 Conference.  We met up for a 9:00 am Pilates class at YogaWorks, to which we both had free passes from the FITNESS Blogger Meet & Tweet.

Matching SweatyBands headbands!

The YogaWorks studio was very nice.  The entrance and front desk area was a yogi's dream shop.  Mats, towels, clothing, books about yoga.  Everything you could want.  After the class, Caitlin and I went back to admire the soft and comfy-chic clothing.  But I'm skipping ahead.  The studio itself has shelves of personal yoga mats, saved for members.  How convenient to not have to bring it back and forth!

I also really liked the locker room, strangely enough.  The lockers all have an electronic lock, where YOU set the password, like hotel safes.  Really easy to use, and--again--saves you from having to bring yet another thing.  YogaWorks makes it easy for you.

Caitlin and I attended a Pilates class, which turned out to be a Level 1 class.  We learned this only after taking it, and it definitely made sense that it was for beginners.

We used lots of equipment for our class...


My favorite was the Thera-Band.  This was like using weights machines, targeting specific muscles, but without any big equipment. The band and your body do it all!  I enjoyed using the band in class.


The class itself was good, if a bit slow. As I said, it was Level 1, so the moves were all fairly basic and not too challenging for someone who does Pilates or Yoga regularly.  That's not to say that I didn't feel "it" in the right places, but it was quite manageable.  It was at a great speed for someone new to Pilates!  Although she didn't come around correcting anyone's form (which, in a Level 1 class, is strange), the instructor was very skilled at describing the movements, which isn't always easy.  She was very clear and easy to follow.

I would go back to try other classes at YogaWorks; I did like the environment of the studio and the staff, and I bet the yoga classes and Pilates reformer classes are even better.  As I learned with hot yoga, there is such a difference between yoga or Pilates in a gym vs. in a studio.

----

After the class, we were ready to eat.  Down to Soho we went to the new Chobani Soho store.


You can read my initial description and reaction of the store, itself, from my first visit here.  These next visits--yes, plural--were all about the flavorful creations.


READ MORE for full reviews and flavor photos!

Once again, the staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating.  They discussed flavors with us and took our orders very efficiently with their portable payment machines. Teeny tiny. Right where we're standing.

"We believe yogurt was meant to be simple.
Just milk and cultures paired with only the freshest, natural ingredients."
So Caitlin and I peeked through the window at the Creations in action, with all the fresh ingredients...


and we picked four "Creations" to sample between the two of us.  Perfect lunch!

Hi Cait!

They came, of course, in the adorable little bowls with the Chobani top.


The four we chose were...

Pistachio + Chocolate
Fig + Walnut
Toasted Coconut + Pineapple
Plain Chobani, Olive Oil, + Cucumbers

Caitlin really loved the savory Olive Oil, Mint, and Cucumber combination, but I was still a bigger fan of the sweeter varieties.  Worked out well for sharing!  The Pistachio + Chocolate really surprised me. Delish!  I'll give my full reviews of specific flavors below.

But once again, Fig + Walnut was my favorite!


So Caitlin & I chatted about bloggy things and "real world" things, restaurant things and fitness things.  It was really fun to spend time in person with my otherwise virtual friend.  We fitbloggers often have much in common; it's great to be around another FitFluential friend.  Fortunately, I'll get to see her again in just two weeks!

But wait, there's more...

Last night, I was kindly invited to return to Chobani Soho for an evening of mingling and sampling.  As if I hadn't sampled enough ;)   ... just kidding! Yes, please!


It was a nice, intimate evening in the little storefront. Just the media and the creators.  My friend Dara came with me, and I was excited to see that Cassandra (Cat) of Breakfast to Bed was there, too!  She's always fun to hang out with.  Just as hilarious in person as she is on her blog!


To kick off the evening, Emily explained the shop's purpose and foundations, so we learned about the Creations, the Turkish inspiration (see the market bags below), and the flavor combinations.


The wall on the left is based on a Mediterranean pantry.  Here, you can buy the Turkish Ingredients and make these same Chobani Creations in your own kitchen!

Turkish shopping bags

They also sell water!  10% of Chobani's proceeds and 100% of the net profit from the Chobani water line go to the Shepherd's Gift Foundation, funding clean drinking water projects.  I drank some water when I first arrived in out of the summer heat, and it tasted very good!  (Yes, when all you drink is water, you notice differences in taste. And this tasted good.)



And then the tasting began!


Creators at work!
Doling out the goods

Flavor "Creations" reviews:

----
Pistachio + Chocolate
Pistachios, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Oranges, and Mint Leaves
This one, as Caitlin and I discovered on Sunday, I love. 
The texture--all the crunch--is perfect against the soft yogurt.
And the flavors?  Who thought of these combinations!? 
This one's pretty genius and not something I'd have considered to put together on my own.
Really delicious. 

-----
Blueberry + Power
Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Hemp, Walnuts, and Light Agave
Well, this is like a regular breakfast for me.  
Really enjoyed the crunchy texture and blueberry flavor!

-----
Plain Chobani + Cucumber
Cucumbers, Mint, Olive Oil, and Salt
Served with Pita Chips
The savory combinations are definitely something that I never thought to make at home.
Cat said she's used Greek yogurt to make spinach dip, which sounds like a fabulous idea!
As I mentioned above, this one I thought was just alright.  
I do like it as a dip, but my sweet tooth was already turned on.

-----
Seasonal Fruit + Granola
Seasonal Fruit (here, strawberries), Granola, and Honey
Fresh fruit is always good.
Granola adds the perfect crunch.
"This is my breakfast," says Cat. 

Cat eating her breakfast yogurt and granola.
With a silly face, of course.

-----
 Toasted Coconut + Pineapple
Pineapple, Toasted Coconut, Hazelnuts, and Light Agave
Cat arranged the napkin and spoon. Isn't she a pro?
I wasn't supposed to like this one.  I'm not a big coconut OR pineapple person.
But I loved it.
Probably because it was super sweet.
Cat, Dara, and I were trying to guess what made the fresh pineapple so sweet.  
The shaved, toasted coconut was divine. Really.
Toasted Coconut + Pineapple

-----
 Plain Chobani + Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper,
Served with Pita Chips
Simple enough. Another savory dip!
Definitely healthier than most store-bought varieties.
This might take some getting used to for me, but the more I tasted, the more I liked. 

-----
Peanut Butter + Jelly
Peanut Butter, Jelly, Grapes, and Peanuts
 Ah, the American classic.
I don't eat peanuts, so I can't vouch for this one,
but Cat and Dara were both underwhelmed with something so promising. 
Try it for yourself?
----

And the grand finale, which I knew would be my favorite from Day One...

Fig + Walnut
Turkish Figs, Walnuts, and Honey
 As I said before, this is incredible.
"Figs should go in everything," Cat correctly asserted.
I whole-heartedly agree.
This combination is so simple and perfect. 
Excellent choice to conclude the evening!


So that's my review!  Cat, Dara, and I all agreed on the winning Creations: Fig + Walnut, Toasted Coconut + Pineapple, and Pistachio + Chocolate.  Everything else came in at a close second ;) 

But don't take my word for it!  Go taste for yourself.  YOU can visit ChobaniSoho at 150 Prince Street, NYC, open 7 days / week from 9am - 8pm.  Follow @ChobaniSoho to stay up to date!

Chobani Creations also serve as great inspiration to design your own Greek-yogurt-based recipes at home!  They were even kind enough to send us home with some Turkish pistachios and hazelnuts to help us get started creating in our own kitchens.



Can't wait to get crackin'!

What ingredients do you add to your Greek yogurt?  Which "Creation" do you think you'd like best?
If you've been to the store -- what do you think?!

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