Friday, July 11, 2008
Great, Another Fro-yo Place...or Maybe Not?
3835 Main St,
Culver City, 90232
$2.75-6.25 + $1.50 for three toppings
As I see it, the frozen yogurt market is oversaturated. In Westwood alone, I can count six yogurt places off the top of my head. It's the new frozen treat that's low in fact and healthy because it's yogurt right? Well I don't know exactly how nutritious it really is, but then again, when is the food I eat about nutrition anyway? If, unlike me, you do care about nutrition, you might be interested in NutritionDegreeOnline.org. But just because a market is oversaturated, that doesn't mean there isn't room for a new competitor to dethrone a reigning yogurt king.
What I like most about Cantaloop, is the difference in yogurt texture. Too many of these fro-yo places are too similar to differentiate. They are highly elastic goods, almost pure substitutions to most people. Given the choice between Pinkberry and Red Mango, I would simply choose the cheaper. Due to this factor, the yogurt shops have been tinkering with formulas to achieve some sort of individuality in their flavors. Cantaloop realizes this and sells a yogurt skewed to the tart lovers. The texture is icy, not as creamy. It reminds me of frozen Yakult. While that flavor may not be that popular to the American palate, I know plenty of Asians that would enjoy it.
Cantaloop currently offers two other flavors of yogurt--mango and pomegrante. While the pomegrante lacked dimension, the mango definitely had a personality of its own. It may be a little tart, but swirled with the original, the two make a balanced taste.
When I get frozen dairy treats, whether off the marble slab, scooped from the tub, or dispensed by a shiny metal lever, I like gummy bears as a topping. While the fresh fruit is satisfying for tongue and piece of mind, nothing quite beats the chewy texture of a frozen gummy bear. However, I would gladly trade gummy bears for mochi topping. Both harden in the frozen treat and soften in your mouth, a sensation I long for in yogurt or ice cream. Therefore, I ordered the mango and original swirled with mochi and fresh mango topping.
Least phallic yogurt swirl picture
Besides the yogurt, Cantaloop is in a great location. Culver City seems to be the new dining central with restaurant openings all the time. In fact, La Rocco's Pizzeria, which serves delicious NY style pizzas, opened the same day next door to Cantaloop. I'm looking forward to trying Ford's Filling Station, Honey Kettle, Rush Street, Ugo, Bottle Rock, among others. Cantaloop offers free wi-fi, a big incentive for people to hang out at this new yogurt sensation. The interior is sleek and modern, though the color scheme looks vaguely familiar. Still, it looks like a pleasant place to spend an evening.
While the frozen yogurt market may be oversaturated, Cantaloop's yogurt flavors certainly are not. It is a welcome addition to the fiercely competitive market, and I'm confident in this one.