Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Cereal Bowl

Depending on your feelings about cereal, this post will either make you run to Cleveland Park or roll your eyes. The Cereal Bowl in Cleveland Park is the latest installment in a mini-chain of restaurants that seeks to lure in those people (like me) that love cereal and can eat it any time of the day or night.

The concept is pretty basic: take about two dozen popular cereal varieties, mix with a wide selection of toppings from wheat germ to gummy worms, and add a splash of milk from the milk bar (available in skim, 2%, whole, lactose free, and soy). Also on the menu are a variety of oatmeal combinations if you want to turn up the heat on your breakfast or smoothies if you like your meals through a straw.

Pajama-clad employees can assist you in coming up with your own funky combination or you can choose from a list of mixes. What five year old wouldn't look longingly at the "Dirt Bowl" featuring Cookie Crisp, Oreos, chocolate syrup, and gummy worms? Clearly, cereal doesn't have to equal healthy.

Since I can open up my cabinet and mix together cold cereals at home, I was more intrigued by the hot bowls of oatmeal with unique toppings. I tried the "Funky Monkey Morning" featuring oats, bananas, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. First of all, no normal human needs to eat the giant bowl of oatmeal that bears the label "regular size." Go with the small. After stuffing myself silly, I had enough oatmeal to take home to eat the next day. Second, I should probably tell you that I'm the weird girl that orders oatmeal at restaurants and makes "overnight oats" to take to work for breakfast on gym days. Oatmeal and I know each other very well.

So often oatmeal gets a bad name because it's not cooked well. Who wants to eat thin, soupy mush? However, The Cereal Bowl understands that oats can be a breakfast star when cooked to the point that they are thick but not gloppy. As B dove into his "Mom Knows More" bowl with oatmeal, apple pie filling, caramel, and graham bites, we both agreed that the oats were done right. The bowl of goodness even sparkled like diamonds when the sunshine hit it.

Even with the perfectly-cooked oats, I still wasn't ready to run up and down Connecticut Avenue to sing The Cereal Bowl's praises. Here's where I agree with the eye-rolling cereal skeptics. I can make this stuff at home pretty easily and for a lot less money. While the combinations have cutesy names and sugar coma-inducing toppings that you might not think of yourself, there is no magic in what they're serving.

I think it's worth a stop if you're a cereal addict or looking to piss off your dentist. It's cute and colorful, and a nice change of pace from cereal on the couch in front of 90210 on SoapNet. (Wait, that's just us?)

I won't be running back for more with all the other DC breakfast options that I've yet to conquer, but I will be considering how to get my law firm to adopt the pajama dress code.

Second Thoughts from B

Earlier this week we told you about the quintessential diamond in the rough, Kerrigan's Corner Deli, whose run down gas station facade belied the fact that it housed the best chicken man in the area. Unfortunately, The Cereal Bowl is more cubic zirconia than diamond. It sure does look pretty, but that's the extent of its worth.

If we had kids, I'm sure we'd be regulars. The bright colors, vast options, and whimsical concept is perfect for a group of toddlers who have earned a special treat. But considering that the only mouths to feed in our home are attached to the people who also stock the pantry, The Cereal Bowl is about as exciting as a trip to the grocery store.
The Cereal Bowl on Urbanspoon


Seer E. Al said...

I'm glad you spent time near my neighborhood in DC! If you crave custom cereal but don't want to have people in pajamas serve it to you, check out:

Also, if you're ever in the greater Cleveland Park - Van Ness/UDC neighborhood, I know a great place for Milky Way Hot Chocolate!

Alix said...

That apple pie filling is sparkling like Edward.

Anonymous said...

I also love overnight oats, J., and I remember when we discovered it a few summers ago.

Love the blog too, obviously!

Karena said...

So glad you checked this place out! I saw the sign go up just as I was leaving town. My old running store coworkers and I were curious about the whole concept...was it like Coldstone for breakfast?? haha. Now I know!

J said...

Whoa Karena you read my mind. When I was writing the post I kept thinking it was like a breakfast Coldstone, especially with the pre-determined combinations with cutesy names. However, I can't make ice cream at home as easily as I can make oats and cereal. :) BTW, congrats on the Chicago marathon!