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LA MILL - loving it after four visits

r
revets2 Jan 21, 2008 05:49 PM

been to LA MILL four times, twice in the last week. ordered the infamous one egg dish, it came with two eggs. the eggs were the most vibrant, almost neon yolk we've seen in a restaurant lately. we only see that kind of freshness from my friend who raises chickens and gives us fresh, fresh just lain eggs.

we had coffees expertly paired with our dishes which were nicely coursed for us like a tasting menu. don't know where else you can do this. we applaud and support LA MILL's innovative support and courage to do something fresh and new. too bad that some can't get their corporately branded, low cost food chain production mindset around the concept. Or have they? the joint is jumping and crowded on our mid-week and weekend visits. COFFEE does not always = cheap drinks and cheap pastries and sandwiches.

also inquired what kind of milk LA MILL is using for their coffee drinks. STRAUSS FAMILY CREAMERY ORGANIC BARISTA BLEND which runs close to $6/gallon. so let's stop comparing the prices to INTELLIGENSIA (using ALTADENA with no organic offering) and compare apples to apples here. i've also had a fine $25 cup of coffee (esmerelda) at INTELLIGENSIA in chicago (i really like their coffee).

is it inexpensive? no. is it a ripoff? no. i think the value is there for what you get. i paid 5.50 for a lousy pre-made egg salad sandwich out of the case at STARBUCKS the other day.

so with all these questions about prices, there's not too many comments on food and bean quality. so if i could choose lower prices for lesser quality, more voluminous food or the same prices with the currently high food quality, well, i'll eat smaller portions of unsurpassed food quality and a great, unique experience. there are plenty of places like the BACKDOOR. but i'll go every other day in exchange for the excellent bacon brioche with the kenya ichamura clover. i'm glad for something different and my waistline will probably be smaller.

as eastsiders, we're ecstatic we don't have to settle for lower quality food when going to a neighborhood joint. to get cimarusti & vasquez's food without having to battle traffic on franklin, well that's enough to bring us back over and over again. we think it's a great addition to the area.

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  1. f
    fdb Jan 21, 2008 06:37 PM

    any idea about their kitchen hours? was there one late afternoon and the kitchen was close.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fdb
      r
      revets2 Jan 21, 2008 07:31 PM

      the sign outside said the soft opening hours were tues - sun 9-5, but i think the kitchen closes at 3:30pm or so.

    2. russkar Jan 22, 2008 05:33 AM

      We've been a couple of times and everything we've tasted food, coffee, tea has been fantastic!
      It's a lot more reasonable than going to Providence.
      When was the last time you saw a Pork Belly Sandwich or those killer desserts on any menu, anywhere?

      7 Replies
      1. re: russkar
        s
        Saucey Jan 22, 2008 06:01 PM

        Hi russkar. The only times I have ever seen pork belly are in meat markets, and to me, it just looks like a little pork with a lot of fat. I can't imagine what that would taste like on a sandwich. Is it cooked crisp like bacon? Can you describe what the sandwich was like at LA Mill? thanks.

        1. re: Saucey
          russkar Jan 23, 2008 05:53 AM

          Dreamy and somewhat lean considering?

          1. re: russkar
            s
            Saucey Jan 23, 2008 08:19 AM

            Uh, that's lovely poetry, but not really the description I was looking for. How else can I put this cause I never had one. Is it like a BLT, for example? Is the pork crisply done? Can someone please describe how a pork belly sandwich might be prepared.?

            1. re: Saucey
              russkar Jan 23, 2008 01:31 PM

              I've never heard of or seen a Pork Belly Sandwich before anywhere or several of the other offerings from La Mill. It's unique.

              1. re: Saucey
                f
                fooddude37 Jan 24, 2008 02:41 PM

                Pork belly is simply uncured and unsmoked bacon. So it literally has the exact same fat content as the bacon used in a BLT. I would reckon that they're using Berkshire pork belly, which does have a higher fat content, but this is a good thing. The actual meat of pork belly is tough unless braised for a couple hours and much of the fat is cooked out as well.

                Let's just say that it's a contender for my last meal. Braised Pig Belly that is (haven't tried the "BLT" at LAMill yet...)

                1. re: fooddude37
                  s
                  Saucey Jan 24, 2008 06:53 PM

                  Thanks guys. Being kind of sheltered about these things I just couldn't get my mind around what pork belly is. Now I know, its bacon, but without the cure. Considering I live in Silverlake I'll just have to make my way to the infamous Mill and and try a thing or two soon.

                  1. re: Saucey
                    Bon Vivant Jan 25, 2008 03:02 PM

                    Go early to get the ABLT. I arrived there at 2 pm today and they were sold out of this infamous panini. I got the prosciutto cotto baguette sandwich instead and it was fabulous.

                    http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

        2. c
          CulverJack Jan 22, 2008 01:48 PM

          Thanks, Revets and Russkar. Nice to see something from more of an appreciative customer looking for quality. Good coffee ain't easy, there are a ton of variables, and I'm looking forward to trying LA Mill soon.

          7 Replies
          1. re: CulverJack
            r
            risottoman Jan 23, 2008 02:09 PM

            by the way, is it pronounced "la-mill" like "la di da" or "LA Mill", like "I live in L.A."? I've heard it both ways.

            1. re: risottoman
              l
              la tache burger Jan 23, 2008 03:10 PM

              Neither! They pronounce it more like (if not exactly like) the French le, as in "Le Mill". At least that's what Eton, their "coffee savant", told me.

              1. re: la tache burger
                SauceSupreme Jan 24, 2008 07:50 PM

                Critical mass will decide. I've always seen it in magazine and newspaper print as LA Mill, so I always say El Ay Mill.

                1. re: la tache burger
                  f
                  fdb Jan 24, 2008 07:59 PM

                  They answer phones by saying "Le Mill"--at both corporate office and Silver Lake place.

                  1. re: fdb
                    SilverlakeGirl Jan 24, 2008 08:05 PM

                    Jonathan Gold in his review this week calls it La Mill with a small "a".

                    Review here:
                    http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/fir...

                    He appears to like the coffee ... mum on the food.

                    1. re: fdb
                      l
                      LaLa Eat Jan 24, 2008 08:14 PM

                      Huh? I too thought it was "El Ay" due to spelling of LA, than heard it was "Lah"... but now it is "Le" ??? I thought I had a good background in languages how is "La" supposed to pronounced "Le" (or is that luh?)?

                      1. re: LaLa Eat
                        f
                        fdb Jan 24, 2008 08:34 PM

                        "luh"

              2. f
                friedegg67 Jan 24, 2008 10:41 AM

                what is the address? can you reserve tables etc.?

                2 Replies
                1. re: friedegg67
                  f
                  fdb Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM

                  LA MILL COFFEE BOUTIQUE

                  1636 Silver Lake Blvd
                  Los Angeles, CA 90026
                  323-663-4441

                  -----
                  LA MILL Coffee
                  1636 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

                  1. re: friedegg67
                    c
                    carter Jan 24, 2008 01:08 PM

                    friedegg67 - read today's review from la virbila in the times, especially the last line for the answer to your question, and maybe to a few others!
                    http://www.calendarlive.com/dining/vi...

                  2. f
                    fooddude37 Jan 24, 2008 02:45 PM

                    Nice post. I'm also routinely discouraged by people and chowhounders jumping on proprietors' backs for doing something more high end and different. I recently drove through Silverlake (probably moving there soon) and have eaten around at various places and was more or less disappointed everywhere I stopped. From what I gather, there are already plenty of cafes in Silverlake serving very decent coffee and very mediocre food. It's unfortunate that we live in a city where restaurants have to maintain a 25% food cost due to high rents and the insane costs of owning a restaurant, but there you have it. Quality product=high costs.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fooddude37
                      r
                      risottoman Jan 24, 2008 04:10 PM

                      like lucques, I'm sure La Mill will be incorrectly pronounced by many...
                      thanks for the tip though.

                    2. annalulu Jan 24, 2008 09:02 PM

                      I took the day off work for my birthday and I wanted my first meal of the day to be at LA Mill. Hey, I believe the hype, what can I say??!

                      Arriving around 11AM was perfect, we were seated immediately and there was plenty of street parking (lot was already full.) My ex-husband met me for breakfast and he couldn't get over the place. The decor just seems over the top compared to our regular haunts like Millies or Casbah. It felt like we were sitting in a 70's airport lounge or something. That being said, the bench I sat on, and my ex's ostrich chair, were both REALLY comfortable. Style and comfort is always a great combo.

                      The music was too loud, but as the lunch crowd came in, it started to blend into the background.

                      The service was very down to earth, despite the precious wood charger plates and crystal cylinders for coffee presentation. It was all very amusing to us more than anything. Our waitress was really lovely and the food and drinks came out quickly, but still with much attention to detail. Even though the entire place filled up for lunch, we were not brought our check until we asked. A couple next to us was working on a screenplay and they sat for hours, also undisturbed. This is something I really appreciated. I felt unhurried, which is a must for me at breakfast.

                      I had the orange cappuccino to start, it was really interesting and tasty, if a bit small. (I know, I know, not everything should be Venti sized.) I also tried the coffee and jelly donut drink and really loved it at the time, but I probably wouldn't order it again. Too much jam in my coffee is kind of weird.

                      I had eggs with lardons and tiny mushrooms. I found the portion to be adequate, but I wouldn't normally pay $12 for breakfast, no matter what, so this was a big splurge. I have no comment on the "value" of the meal, I know all the ingredients were of highest quality, but my world doesn't support such indulgences on a regular basis.

                      My ex had a panini and it was definitely a good size and he seemed to enjoy it. The chips were good, but once they are cold, they don't taste much different from store-bought "gourmet" chips.

                      The tally for one panini, one egg dish, two specialty coffee drinks and one espresso was $40. It's not an amount I'm comfortable paying for breakfast on a regular basis, but I would bring out of town people there just to show the absurdity of Los Angeles. And I mean that in a most affectionate way.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: annalulu
                        SauceSupreme Jan 24, 2008 11:10 PM

                        LA, moreso than any other city, is one that elevates absurdity to the level of art. (Maybe Berlin, but they're actually attempting art, whereas LA is merely putting out a coffee shop, in this example.)

                        Mill certainly has created itself its own niche in terms of "ultra-luxe high end coffee shop", and I'm all for all local businesses succeeding as long as the product is good, but as Woolsey stated in another thread, the high price is quite the pink elephant in the room: it's hard not to notice it.

                      2. r
                        rogermexico Jan 25, 2008 10:26 AM

                        I don't know... Your tone comes off as a bit overly apologist. I've been to LA Mill a few times now and I'll say this: the food is exceptional quality. I've had the pumpkin polenta, the pork belly panini, both soups, and both the lobster and the mushroom scramble. All were complex, put together with high-end ingredients, and quite memorable.

                        On the other hand, the portions, by any reasonable standard, do not comprise what I would call a full meal -- a snack perhaps. If you're expecting to get a Griddle sized breakfast this is not the place for you unless you want to get 2-3 items pp, each in the $8-16 range. By that standard you could have brunch at Campanile with mimosas and plenty of sides and still come out saving a buck.

                        Also, not sure if this was mentioned before, but the paninis aren't available before 11am.

                        1. l
                          la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 10:48 AM

                          For me, this is the issue. Great place, great food ... I think wine. Here, coffee replaces wine. And so breakfast/lunch replaces dinner. And by the way, the coffee's great and really does "pair" well with the food. But, different drug, different hours, whole new concept. Is it going to work? Are people going to USE the restaurant? I dunno. But that's the point, it's a true experiment. For now, it's extremely exciting for that reason alone.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: la tache burger
                            j
                            jlrobe Jan 25, 2008 11:05 AM

                            I actually like the idea of LA mill. People who want standard coffee can go to the other 3-4 good coffee houses in the area. I like the idea of competition and having a varying product. I wish more places in LA tried to experiment like LA mill.

                            If an entreprenuer finds that they can supply a higher quality product than LA mill, for cheaper, in a more casual environment, more power to them.

                            I am anxious to give it a try. I have 6 different coffee shops that I go to when I am in certain parts of LA. Some for cheap, consistent coffee (petes), some for the vibe (Lost Souls), some for their crazy concotions (Urth Caffe), some for their expresso (Caffe lux), and some for being walking distance from my apartment (Forgot its name).
                            After tromy LA mill, I might have a coffee shop i go to for the coffee AND the food.

                            I hope LA mill sets the bar and encourages other cafes to at least use quality ingredients and have baristas that give a sh$t.

                            1. re: jlrobe
                              i
                              ipinch Feb 18, 2008 07:34 PM

                              This place is super cool to look at, but the menu is stupid. My husband and I eat out a lot, so it's not that I don't understand good food. I just think it is a ridiculous menu. It's too fancy for it's own good, it's weird. They should have gone with an upscale diner menu, they need to look at what Dusty's do for breakfast and lunch....

                          2. tablefor1 May 11, 2008 05:46 PM

                            I worried that today, Mother's Day, at 11am, I'd be waiting exactly forever for a seat at this buzzed about place, but gladly was seated after only 10 minutes by the hostess who had the waitlist "in her head." I wasn't crazy about the service (or waitress' high waisted jeans!), but the food and drinks were easily the most exciting and inspiring things at this price that I've had in LA. (If it's supposed to be "Le" Mill, why not spell it Le Mill? The French pronouce La as "la" and Le as "luh" and they spell it in all caps in the logo, thus the confusion in print articles). The sandwiches and chai and clover brewed coffee and espresso and coffee and doughnut drinks are just great new things that I've never seen before... I like what they say on their menu about innovation: innovate or die (or something to that effect). This is a place that knows how to get the details right (assuming they've first worked out all the kinks that must come with purchasing a billion pieces of beautiful ceramic and glassware and combining that with a flood of new fans and human error.)

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