Friday, January 11, 2008

LaMill Coffee opens: too spiffy for scruffy Silver Lake?

chandeliers and murals in the red-walled cafe

LaMill's interior designers Scott Mangan and Nick Bianco at Rubbish Interiors went all out for LaMill Coffee's elegant interior, having custom green croco-vinyl chairs made, recovering vintage sky blue slipper chairs, ordering up a hand-painted French mythological mural. Then there's the one of a kind pounded brass espresso machine from Italy and the marble-walled WCs... It's très Parisien, but it is too much for the scruffy-bearded dog lovers of Silver Lake?

consulting chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence

Yes, it's out with the free dog biscuits and in with the Asian pork belly with arugula with the closing of the Backdoor Bakery and the opening of LaMill. I'm just happy there's finally more than one place to get a really good cup of coffee in the area, and LaMill's cappucinos are the stuff of dreams. Well, wide-awake dreams. Welcome to the hood, and we hope you decide to stay open late for the dessert-starved denizens of the area. The pounded brass espresso steamliner

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I neither have a dog nor a beard, and you mis-spelled "dessert." -Spiffy Sivler Lake Resident

Anonymous said...

knowing that Backdoor was forced out by the a**holes that own the Modem Salon for this yuppy place makes me not interested... actually makes me more inclined to boycott it. it's obvious that they could charge LaMill waaaaay more rent.

-former Hollywood resident, current Highland Park resident

Anonymous said...

Backdoor did not get forced out by Modem, they got forced out by years of bad food and terrible service. Modem does not own the building that LaMill is in! I got food poising from a chicken & cheese croissant and once from something else. If they made anything half way decent they would still be in business. They felt the pressure to step it up and the folded, threw in their cards. La Mill and the other new coffee place came with their A game. Where would you want to go? Please!!! Backdoor, you had your run and now like the man says, the fat lady is singing! Via con Dios!!!

jaytee said...

i am sooo glad backdoor closed. every time i went there, there were flies crawling all over the desserts in the front case. disgusting. and the only salad i had there was really bland. hopefully a quality place will move in soon. we certainly could use some more around here.

IHM1222 said...

Backdoor did get forced out by the owner of modem. It is stated clearly on their front door. They got thirty days notice to clear out. I don't know who owns the building that lamill is in.

Judging from the crowd at backdoor today i'd say you backdoor haters are in the minority.

Having said that, free coffee at lamill was fun. Free food is always my favorite.

Anonymous said...

and it's Silver Lake, not Sivler Lake, Spiffy resident.

Anonymous said...

BTW LaMill does have free dog biscuits.

Anonymous said...

whoever trashes on backdoor obviously has no idea what they are talking about. you probably went their once or twice and decided it was too down home for your taste. i've lived up the hill from bdb for 11 1/2 years and have enjoyed their entirely home made menu at least twice a week this whole time. i will agree that their coffee doesn't blow me away, the rest of the menu is exceptional. where else can you find a place that makes all their own ketchup, mustard, salsa, dressing, jam etc...? i'm obviously bummed that they have to leave. they will be back in another location. everyone is out for themselves, so i understand why modem kicked them out, just not how she did it. very unclassy and rude.
as for la mill, i'm getting ready to walk my dog down the hill and check it out.

carter said...

Maybe there's a way to get Backdoor relocated into the former Flor Morena, and everyone could win!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I checked out LaMill this weekend. The service and food were very good, but the prices were insane! 12 bucks for a one egg dish - if you want another egg, it will cost you another 3 dollars. It's a little out of control. As for Back Door Bakery, I always found it kind of gross.

Firstcutww said...

What a waste of good coffee space. They don't even open until 8 or 9 A.M. The coffee is totally average, especially when you compare it with Intelligentsia. Very pretentious and stupidly phony in it's style. Totally un-Silver Lake.

Firstcutww@Aol.com

Anonymous said...

Having lived in this neighborhood for a bit of time, (Hey Pat, I remember Seafood Bay, too! And the Onyx Cafe next to the Vista when the Vista served tea at the concession stand. *sigh*), I really am sad to see BDC pushed out; and sorry to see a spiffy, posh place come in instead.

I really think the neighborhood has been going to hell, and with the parking meters coming in all over the place, I feel a doom knell is gonging over SL/EP. I'm afraid my funky, unpretentious places will all go by the wayside. I really feel like my neighborhood is dying.

The day I had to listen to a new shop owner tell me that Silver Lake was the new "place to be", (after he had lived her for - oh, no time at all), and the day I was at a meeting when the head of the Silver Lake Chamber Commerce talk about parking meters being the answer to parking problems because it would be like the Westside, (I kid you not.), I knew my habitat was doomed.

I feel like there are restaurant owners, business owners and service providers who have moved here so they can teach us, like the missionaries taught those silly savage Gabrieleno and Chumash Indians.

Holy blazes. I'm depressed now. Must have a drink. An unpretentious one. Going to H&H for a little somethin' somethin'.

Anonymous said...

Man oh man. I went for a final delicious apple ugly at the back door this weekend and then checked out LAMILL for coffee and I was shocked at the prices. It was $5.50 for a pretty small mocha, Intelligentsia is way better and they charge $4 for a mocha of the same size and it tastes way better. I don't think LAMILL did any research on the neighborhood, because they'd at least match the prices of similar establishments. I also watched with humor as three people were delivered their tiny breakfasts in teeny tiny crocks. They all peered into the crocks with a "that's it for the $" expression. LAMILL will probably get some coffee buffs from other parts of town, but the repeat visitors are going to be a challenge for them unless they adjust their prices and work on winning over the neighborhood. See you at Intelligentsia until that time!

Anonymous said...

While I have no strong opinions of the Backdoor either way, it's rather curious that Modem is positioned in such a negative manner. I understand that BDB wasn't the best tenant; and that news didn't come across my ears just recently either.

Nevertheless, BDB obviously needed more space. Their door closing might be the very push they needed.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Miss Modem is writing comments now...

Anonymous said...

It really is crazy that LaMill came into Silver Lake with Beverly Hills prices and Lilliputian portions.

Here's A Reality Check:

1 Dozen Grade AA Large Eggs - $2.99
1 Dozen Organic Eggs - $4.99

1 LaMill Egg (w/ a bit of crab meat) - $12

But with Bush's economic stimulus plan soon we'll all be drenched in money, so keep those prices right where they're at.

Recession? Writer's Strike? What?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you include bread and coffee in your grocery list. You can make a cup of coffee at home for a nickel if you use folgers, or 40 cents if you use some gourmet coffee. Yes, everything can be made cheaply at home. We do not go out to save on grocery bills. We go out to restaurants, cafes, bars for the socializing and to enjoy food and beverages that we maybe cannot make as well at home. What do you think is the cost of making anything in a restaurant? Labor and rent are two huge costs. If you can make it as well and more cheaply at home, do it! Do you complain about a bottle of beer at a bar or a glass of wine or a shot of tequila? You want Denny's prices, go to Dennys.

Anonymous said...

Backdoor will be missed by MOST of us who live in the neighborhood. It has been my second kitchen for over 11 years and I know that most in this immediate area feel the same. If you live here and talk to us you will find that to be true. It is sad how rushed the closing was but let’s all wish them well in finding an even better space. Perhaps it will be a win-win for them, as they keep their devoted customers from this neck of the woods AND make some new customers wherever they land next. Now as far as LAMILL goes, I WAS super excited for it to open, being a huge lover of all things coffee and café. I was even more excited to stop in the first day and sip a ‘free’ cappuccino. I am sad to say, that may have been one of the few times I will go into LA Mill. I was hoping it would be a different kind of establishment. I often spend time writing and chatting with friends while sipping overpriced drinks. And I will happily pay for a great cappuccino. However, I cannot rationalize a cappuccino that costs $4.25 (an itzy bitzy one at that). While other drinks were priced at $6. Yes, the cappuccino was good. But, this seems like a special occasion cafe, something equitable to a tea salon for high tea-- not a local café for us who live in the area to spend lazy hours sipping coffee or grab that quick drink on our way to work. I’m disappointed by this fact. I have to agree that it seems that they are not catering to the neighborhood. More likely, they are trying to appeal to ‘out of neighborhood’ folks who want to soak up some of that hipster air. If they want locals like me (I live across the street) to stop in, even from time to time, I think they need to seriously reconsider their pricing. It seems like a careless business plan and I'm curious to see if it works. I don’t care how great their boutique product, I am definitely one local cappuccino loving girl who will take the short drive down Sunset to Intelligentsia to sip and chat.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous at 6:56 am (or do I dare say "snobby foodie attitudey")

Oh boy. You done just got me a bit riled up now, honey child. Are you kidding me with these analogies? Come on, you know as well as I do that there is reasonable and there is unreasonable. Of course, I don't go out and count every penny I spend like some miserly old Scrooge, but clearly I am not even close to being alone when saying that this place is just too far off the charts with their prices.

My grocery price list was merely a guidepost to showing just how far out of whack the prices are. There is nothing otherworldly about the egg with crab meat. Certainly nothing that warrants a $12 price tag. Shutters on the beach, yes, it's expensive, but you go there knowing that because it's part of the high rent Santa Monica hotel district. Plus, an ocean view doesn't hurt.

If you want to go to LaMill and pay high dollar for a fancy breakfast that isn't all that fancy when you really get down to it, you're welcome to. But I can certainly choose not to do so and write about it here on eatingla, right Pat?

Realist said...

Amazing how some people have no idea what you are actually paying for in a restaurant:
1. Somebody is cooking this meal for you! Hire someone to do that in your house and let me know what it costs.
2. Somebody else is bringing your food to you. You have your own butler back home?
3. You are sitting in someone else's tastefully decorated place, where they set the table, clean up after you, wash the dishes and generally kiss your ass.
Sure, go and buy your egg someplace for 25c and then make all the above happen in your own home without lifting a finger. Get real!

Anonymous said...

Amazing how some people have no idea what you are actually paying for in a restaurant:
1. Somebody is cooking this meal for you! Hire someone to do that in your house and let me know what it costs.
2. Somebody else is bringing your food to you. You have your own butler back home?
3. You are sitting in someone else's tastefully decorated place, where they set the table, clean up after you, wash the dishes and generally kiss your ass.
Sure, go and buy your egg someplace for 25c and then make all the above happen in your own home without lifting a finger. Get real!

sam said...

Oh just shut up already. There are no upscale restaurants in the neighborhood. This is the first one. I'm happy to see it. It's a beautiful setting. A nice place to take someone for a birthday lunch or a business breakfast. Would you take someone to the Backdoor for a birthday???? I mean come on!!I "Diversity" can include upscale.

Anonymous said...

If you put your personal tastes and budges aside there are some objective complaints that LaMill is serving up. I've been to LaMill twice. The service was HORRIBLE. The first time was a disaster. Getting to a table seemed to confuse the folks seating us. Once at said table, the waitress who took our order forgot about us and neglected to bring us the standards (our drinks, cream, sugar, and our chips). First they brought the food and forgot our drinks. We hailed down different waitresses to get the drinks and someone else dropped those off. But we literally had to order our sugar, cream, and chips from other waitstaff we flagged down. It was almost like they were playing a joke on us. Very strange. The second time was a little better. But even after we told the waiter we would order another drink (he never came back to ask what) and when he did come back, he let us know the machines were shut down. That was unusual since they are a cafe that specializes in espresso and the restaurant had lots of tables finishing up. So, you many not want to go for the price, but frankly, I'm skeptical because of the terrible service. Upscale usually does a lot better at getting the essentials for their tables.

Patrick Henry said...

No one knows what kind of eggs LaMill uses? I pay 6-8 bucks a dozen for pasture raised beyond organic eggs that live with the pigs. I don't mind paying 50-75 cents for a egg in bulk as it is a fair price, three bucks for an egg of that quality in a cafe would be fair.

Patrick Henry said...

"However, I cannot rationalize a cappuccino that costs $4.25 (an itzy bitzy one at that). "

I sure can - if the coffee was roasted by John Gozbeckian, the milk farmed by Straus, and the drink was made by Eton, fo' sho' as the quality will be there to justify the price. A "venti white chocolate mocha" from Starbucks that's over three times as large? I don't believe that can be rationalized.

It's the six hour one way drive to L.A. and the $60-$70 in gas for that cappuccino I'm having trouble rationalizing. Oh well, I guess I can't always be perfectly rational.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I took my Dad to Backdoor bakery for his birthday several years running. It's his fave place near me. Er...was. Why wouldn't you want to go there? Becaues the design wasn't "upscale"? well, the food was amazing - simple, yes, but mighty fine!

sarah mac said...

La Mill's food and coffee are incredible - both to the taste buds and the wallet. After months of resisting, my bf and I finally caved and went for breakfast. The food was great (I had eggs with wild mushrooms and the bf had chocolate/banana/peanut butter on brioche toast), but it cost $37 and did not ultimately satisfy our appetites. I ordered the minute Coffee and a Jelly Doughnut which was served on a ridiculous lucite pedestal. We laughed. And laughed. And laughed so me more. But ultimately, we resolved that would be the one and only visit for food. We walked home, made another pot of coffee and lamented that there is now no longer an affordable place to walk to and eat.

The Backdoor lacked panache and was grungy, but it actually served the community instead of people who see La Mill as a destination spot. We had high hopes for reservoir, but those were a bit dashed when we saw Porsches annoyingly parked on the sidewalk on opening night. Now with Michelangelo's gone and Domenico's soon to be in its place, as well as some slick eco-friendly eatery in the Backdoor's old space coming in, we wonder if a meal under $37 will even be an option. And Leela doesn't count.