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Juju Cereal Bar in Westwood

n
nick_r Sep 26, 2007 11:40 AM

As a longtime cereal enthusiast who was indoctrinated practically from birth with the idea that every bowl should have at least two varieties of cereal in it, I had been eagerly awaiting the advent of a cereal bar in Los Angeles since I'd heard of the concept from friends elsewhere in the country. Juju, seemingly the first such place in Hell-Ay, opened just a week ago on Westwood Blvd. near the Crest Theater. I tried it out for a post-lunch snack yesterday; in a moment, the results of that trial.

First of all, the menu. It's similar to the 21 Choices / xBerry format, where you choose your base, your toppings, and so forth. You start off by choosing two different cereals (or a double serving of one cereal) to have in your bowl; fifty varieties are available, from Special K to Cookie Crisp (and the cereals are conveniently separated into two lists, sugary and non-sugary); "organic" cereals like Kashi are fifty cents extra.

Then you choose your toppings, which really run the gamut -- there are the usuals (strawberries, banana, raisins, etc.), the fringier usuals (coconut, flax seed powder, pineapple, mango), the overtly unhealthy (chocolate chips, sprinkles, oreo crumbles), and the toppings that can only be described as "holy shit that does not belong anywhere near cereal" (gummi bears, frosting, malt balls, marshmallows, and chocolate pretzels, to name a few). You get three toppings included at the standard price, so there's ample opportunity to design the most disgusting combination the world has ever dreamed of.

Finally you choose your milk -- the standard price only gives you a choice of nonfat, lowfat, or whole, but for 50 cents extra you can have soy, chocolate, strawberry, or banana.

Now for a word on that "standard price." If you think the idea of going to a specialty cafe for a bowl of cereal is ridiculous, you're only half right -- it's both ridiculous and expensive. An average-sized bowl of cereal as I described it above is a whopping $5.75. If you want two types of organic cereal with soy milk, you're north of seven dollars. (For those not requiring toppings, a two-cereal mix with just milk is available for $4.20, a price that I'm sure is meant as an unsubtle nod to the demographic they're hoping will keep them in business.)

Like I said, I'm a cereal fanatic. I love the idea, and the concoction I ordered (Kix and Cinnamon Toast Crunch topped with yogurt raisins, peanut butter, and strawberries) was ten kinds of delicious. But I am not going to be warming up to that price any time soon, and I really don't know who will. The yogurt craze has enabled the Berries of the world to gouge us for their product, but at least that's something you can't make at home (unless you're Leo DiCaprio and own your own machine).

One final note: There is something undeniably strange about eating a bowl of cereal in a public cafe. For me this is an activity that's inextricably linked with sitting on the couch in a t-shirt and boxers with unkempt hair, watching last night's Tivo'd Daily Show; and I felt a slight twinge of embarrassment as I stared down at the last little bit of milk in the bowl, murky with cereal residue... nonetheless, there was no going back now, so I put the bowl up to my lips, drank down the last vestiges of my bowl, and never looked back.

  1. 2
    2chez mike Nov 2, 2007 01:58 PM

    Would you consider Juju a "destination restaurant"? :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: 2chez mike
      n
      nick_r Nov 2, 2007 03:45 PM

      Well, I'm sure there are potheads in Orange County who will read about it on a lazy Saturday afternoon and announce, "Dude, we HAVE to go there!" so I guess in a way, yes, it is a destination restaurant.

    2. kelvlam Nov 2, 2007 08:35 AM

      what's the total # of cereal selection available in this store? do they have a website? :-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: kelvlam
        i
        igj Nov 2, 2007 12:42 PM

        http://www.jujucerealbar.com/

      2. westsidegal Sep 26, 2007 05:05 PM

        great write-up!

        1. k
          karamazov Sep 26, 2007 02:46 PM

          How are their hot breakfast options? If they served a wicked oatmeal i might check them out. Do they have a website?

          2 Replies
          1. re: karamazov
            goodhealthgourmet Sep 26, 2007 02:48 PM

            no web site as far as i can tell. i already did a pretty exhaustive google search.

            1. re: karamazov
              n
              nick_r Sep 26, 2007 02:52 PM

              The menu says:

              http://www.jujucerealbar.com

              I haven't checked it out, though.

            2. j
              jocey Sep 26, 2007 12:53 PM

              Wow!!! The StinkBerry of Cereal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jocey
                TonyC Sep 26, 2007 02:17 PM

                Cereality of Chicago started down this path few years ago and so far, has gone NOWHERE: http://www.cereality.com/cont.php

                don't believe the hype.

              2. Woolsey Sep 26, 2007 12:47 PM

                That really is just unreal. I recognize I'm not in their target market - cold cereal is what I'd suffer to eat when I couldn't have a "real" breakfast - but five bucks for what is pre-made, processed foodstuff? One can buy a whole box of cereal and a carton of milk at that price. I really can't see the allure of the place. It's like a bakery that just takes Twinkies and Ding Dongs out of the cellophane and puts them on a plate at five bucks a pop.

                I breathlessly await the opening of the gourmet peanut butter-and-jelly bistro next spring...

                6 Replies
                1. re: Woolsey
                  goodhealthgourmet Sep 26, 2007 01:29 PM

                  i'm not defending the prices by any means, but the beauty of the concept is that you can get what you want without having to buy five different boxes of cereal just to satisfy what could very well be a one-time craving.

                  if i had some random, bizarre, infantile hankering for a bowl of, oh, i don't know, cocoa pebbles, capn crunch, cookie crisp and honeycomb all mixed together [i know that would be disgusting, i'm just making a point], i'd rather stop by a place like this and order it than purchase a box of each cereal [at nearly 5 bucks a pop].

                  as for the pb&j bistro, believe it or not there actually is one in nyc...

                  http://www.ilovepeanutbutter.com/sand...

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    i
                    igj Sep 26, 2007 02:25 PM

                    and I used to go there pretty often when I lived in NYC. It was most definitely not just PB&J, however... it did cater to the 'kid in you' moments and that seems to be the point of the cereal place. It seems no accident that the cereal place ended up basically on UCLA's campus.

                    1. re: igj
                      n
                      nick_r Sep 26, 2007 02:39 PM

                      Except, it's too far from the actual campus and dorms to get a lot of foot traffic. Anything south of Wilshire is serving a niche market at best and marked for death at worst.

                      The guy did mention that they're going to start home delivery, to which I replied, "Oh good, because no one should have to pour their own bowl of cereal."

                      1. re: nick_r
                        goodhealthgourmet Sep 26, 2007 02:47 PM

                        ok, the delivery really is taking it a bit too far.

                        1. re: nick_r
                          i
                          igj Sep 26, 2007 02:55 PM

                          Ah...south of Wilshire? Sorry - I have a hard time keeping all the Westwood theaters straight. If it is south of Wilshire, then what exactly is the point? This place needs to be right next to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash or Chili's or Diddy Reese if it wants to succeed.

                          1. re: igj
                            n
                            nick_r Sep 26, 2007 03:05 PM

                            Yes, its location is extremely befuddling, especially since there's never a shortage of open storefronts in the Village. Perhaps that was the only spot they could afford, but if that were the case they should have tried another neighborhood with more foot traffic. I really don't think the delivery business is going to do much for them.

                  2. Chowpatty Sep 26, 2007 12:19 PM

                    Wow...for seven dollars you could have two large bahn mi...seven carne asada tacos...two eggs, toast and bacon at many coffee shops...I just don't think I can see paying that for a bowl of cereal. Especially when I have my own "cereal mixing bar" going at home, with Trader Joe's new bran swirls, etc.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chowpatty
                      mollyomormon Sep 26, 2007 12:34 PM

                      Chowpatty,

                      I'll make a post on General Topics for this so it doesn't get bumped, but I'm very curious to know whether those new bran swirls are good. Thanks!

                      1. re: Chowpatty
                        z
                        zruilong Sep 26, 2007 03:33 PM

                        Heck, depending on where you go for the Bahn mi, you can get up to 4 large bahn mi.....! :-)

                        1. re: Chowpatty
                          wilafur Sep 26, 2007 06:31 PM

                          naw, you can get 3-4 banh mi's at most places! =)

                          oops, zruilong beat me to it.

                        2. goodhealthgourmet Sep 26, 2007 11:48 AM

                          oh no!!!! i was waiting for a place like this for years, ever since i heard about the first of its kind in philly...

                          http://www.cereality.com/main.php

                          and now thanks to this damned gluten intolerance i can't even go.

                          a few questions:

                          did they have almond millk, goat's milk or rice milk?
                          were there hot cereal options like oatmeal?
                          were the employees wearing pajamas? [apparently that's the 'uniform' at cereality

                          ]

                          thanks for posting the review. and i love that you polished off the milk at the bottom of the bowl...it's often the best part, particularly if there was chocolate-flavored cereal involved.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            n
                            nick_r Sep 26, 2007 01:31 PM

                            did they have almond millk, goat's milk or rice milk?
                            --No, no, and no. I'm surprised they limited the milk choices so much, especially with only offering one flavor of soy milk.

                            were there hot cereal options like oatmeal?
                            --Yes, you can get oatmeal or cream of wheat.

                            were the employees wearing pajamas?
                            --Nope, pretty standard food servicewear as far as I remember.

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