Most of our quick breakfast options are really just vessels for more interesting flavors. Toast is a mechanism to eat jelly/jam/preserves. Waffles and Pancakes are a platform for syrup. And there there's cereal, which is a food that only exists to answer the question: "Do you want your processed corn to taste like fruit-flavored sugar, chocolate-flavored sugar, or sugar-flavored sugar?" Which is not to say cereal is without its merits; cereal milk is one of life's greatest joys, and the fact that most ice cream shops don't serve up some variant of it is a crime.
Among the upper-tier cereals when it comes to righteous cereal milk create is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It's perfectly acceptable as a food product, but it really shines after all the solid/soggy stuff is out of the way and you can indulge in the infused milk you're left with.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch turned 35 earlier this year and is undergoing a bit of a brand refresh, and to celebrate they've rolled out a pop-up experience celebrating the different aspects of the cereal. Yes, The Cinnaverse is a real place, and you can visit it this weekend at Baybrook Mall.
For a pice of corporate advertising, it's slick enough. The colors, bold and bright, feel like Fortnite leaked all over everything. The photo setups are around the level you'd find at your average $30 a head pop-up experience, but this is free and includes ice cream, so it wins on value even if the entire situation can be knocked out in less than 20 minutes.
If you're unfamiliar with the cereal or its variants - there's a chocolate version that's nothing to write home about and a churro version that is a genius bit of reading the modern dessert landscape - you'll have the opportunity to sample them, but the real draw here is in addition to cow and almond milk, you can top off your cup with cinna-milk. Yes, the tongue as a delivery mechanism is a little weird, and the cinna-milk does feel a touch overwhelming especially after putting cereal in it, but it's a nice proof of concept that would probably sell decently if it actually went to market.
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On the way out you can grab a popsicle that also features the cinna-milk flavoring. For maximum effect, pick purple as your color; it'll make your tongue look like you made out with a Purple People Eater.
Is it worth a trip out to Baybrook Mall? During this busiest of non-Christmas shopping weekends? If you're on that side of town, it's a pretty solid investment; if the prospect of free ice cream and photos for their Instagram won't get them in line, you were probably in for a long day anyway.
The Cinnaverse Experience free and open to the public August 9-11 at Baybrook Mall