Cantaloop Frozen Yogurt
7095 Hollywood Blvd (at La Brea)
Los Angeles, CA 90028
As if starting my birthday month with someone else’s party, and a baby shower no less, wasn’t punishment enough, I was being forced to eat frozen yogurt. I hate – no, make that despise – frozen yogurt. Admittedly, my abhorrence has absolutely nothing to do with how frozen yogurt tastes, its texture that spans from just finer than urine-stained snow to frozen Miracle Whip, or the very principle of diet-driven ice cream replacement.
It’s a dumb “I can’t let go of being wronged in my past” thing.
Ever since I overdosed on too creamy Yogurt Park that was nowhere near conveniently located on my way to economics geekdom on the 4th floor of Moffit Library and sent my body into that black hole death of teenage metabolim more commonly known as the Freshman 20, not fifteen, but twen-tee (yes, they don’t call me an overachiever for nothing.), I swore off frozen yogurt, along with a host of other collegiate culinary gems, for the rest of my life. Fortunately, Fat Slice, Zona Rosa, and the twin dragon Yokohama Station/Japanese Snacks didn’t stand a chance against my Delicious Life, but frozen yogurt has maintained its spot in the deep, dark corners of my unforgiving hatred.
For reasons that shall remain unblogged, I had no choice but to “go for froyo,” (calling it "froyo" makes me gag harder than Nicole Ritchie with a toothbrush) unless living in complete isolation of my family and friends for the rest of my life was the other choice. I had to ask myself what on God’s great earth did I do to deserve this punishment in the form of frozen confection with Korean heritage and a highly suspect “natural” content?
Not only do I hate frozen yogurt and have thus far successfully avoided any and all attempts to flush Pinkberry's swirly mess down my Delicious throat, but this is Cantaloop. Ack! There it goes! The mere voldemortal utterance of the word “Cantaloop” inevitably initiates a series of teenage memories set to a soundtrack that is a merciless, infinite loop of that song – yes, that horrible song in which the lyrics are so inanely rhyme-alicious and melodic that the only non-nonsensical line I can remember is “Brace yourself as the beat hits ya, dip trip flip fantasia.”
Cantaloop, the frozen yogurt shop, not the song, is also located in Hollywood. At any other time, i.e. “night,” I can very sanely get to Hollywood with my eyes closed and my hands in a double fisted death-grip around a water bottle filled with a clear cocktail. (read: “taxi”). However, we were going to drive to Hollywood on a sweltering Sunday afternoon at the kickoff of tourist season (read: “ohgodsomeonekillme”). Frozen yogurt. Hell-as-weekend-traffic drive to Hollywood. God was playing a very cruel joke on me. I swear I could hear Her cackling over the infinite loop of “funky, funky” playing in my head.
But who gets the last laugh? I do.
Cantaloop is D. E. Luscious.
As much as the drive to the strip mall location on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea was as pleasant and comfortable as gripping a white hot iron with my bare, sunburned hand that has been sliced with a butter knife and doused with Tabasco, my first post-college frozen yogurt experience at Cantaloop was worth it, if for no other reason than the parking. The tiny little shopping plaza has parking, which alone can be a determining factor in my decision to go back to a place.
Cantaloop is small and clean, with an orange and teal color palette that suggests cuteness without being sickeningly cartoonish. Seating inside is limited to a couple of chairs in front and a bar along the side window that looks into the greater offering of choice seating on a canopied patio.
The menu is posted on the wall behind the small counter near the back of the space, offering natural, pomegranate, and mango yogurt flavors, and a litany of toppings that reads like a yogi’s breakfast – fruits and nuts, but instead of flakes, Coco Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, Loops, and Cap’n Crunch. Why putting kiddie breakfast cereal on a dessert is such a trendy novelty is beyond me, especially since Cap’n Crunch shreds the roof of one’s mouth into a pulpy, vitamin-fortified mess. Then again, the whole [blank]-beri yogurt fad did come from Korea, and Koreans are notorious for putting weird s**t like red beans, rice dumplings, and corn flakes on their shaved ice. Incidentally, Cantaloop offers tiny pieces of dduk, Korean rice dumplings, as a topping.
Since there were enough people in our party to order at least one of each, I got to try all of the yogurt flavors. With fruit toppings, I like the natural flavor the most, but I am a little bit of a purist, so I actually prefer eating the yogurt plain.On yogurt alone, I fell in love with mango. The yogurts have have a crisper, icier texture than the previous generation of frozen yogurt, melting in the mouth less like a smooth ice cream, and feeling more like a creamy popsicle. All of them have a slight tang and a very familiar taste that at first, I could not identify, but hurled me, like Flip Fantasia did, into a previous lifetime. The yogurt tastes like a frozen version of a popular Korean "yogurt" soft drink that is sold in tiny plastic containers shaped like milk bottles and sealed with foil. I think the brand that I remember was called Yogloo. The previous lifetime, of course, was a phase in which I party-trained through Ktown, sucking down Yogloo-flavored soju and snacking on gwa-il ahn-joo (the $40 fruit plate), both of which I would inevitably see again on their way out of my system the following morning.
Hopefully, Cantaloop will be contagious enough to spread to the Westside (you hear me, guys? Westside!), but until I "feel the vibe from here to Asia," I wont' mind the dip trip to Hollywood Fantasia.
Who Else Dip, Tripped at Cantaloop?
~ 44 Yelpers give it 4½ stars
~ Cantaloop makes Chowhounds wag their tails
~ LA Times' explicit coverage of the Cold Frozen Yogurt War
~ A Passion for Food has a passion for Cantaloop (Apr 2007)
~ Cantaloop is the rich man's Pinkberry, Blogging.LA (Apr 2007)
~ Paris Hilton prefers Cantaloop (X17, May 2007)