Putting the corner coffeehouse to shame at Lamill Coffee Boutique
June 29, 2011
LOS ANGELES, US – When I’m craving a really spectacular cup of coffee and a cool setting in which to get some work done, I usually make the pilgrimage over to Silver Lake. The boho neighborhood’s artsy crowd can’t live without designer joe, as the high concentration of coffeehouses per capita in the neighborhood attests. But calling locals’ favorite Lamill Coffee Boutique a coffeehouse is like calling a wine bar a grape juice spot.
Selecting from a veritable library of direct-source beans and using a mind-boggling array of flashy gizmos to procure the perfect preparation, superstar baristas create rich brews that aficionados savor like fine wine. In fact, they’ve even got a coffee sommelier on staff. Coffees come with tasting notes…you might find, for example, that your morning brew has hints of chocolate, licorice, and ripe cherries (who knew?).
All of this gourmet fanfare can make ordering pretty intimidating for the uninitiated newcomer. Not only do you have to choose your beans, you also have to choose your favored “extraction method.” Since I never want to look clueless and rouse the impatience of the coffee connoisseurs and other ironic-t-shirt-clad patrons behind me in line, I wish there were a little more guidance when ordering at the counter. But don’t stress too much–it’s awfully hard to go wrong, since all choices are equally delicious. And preparation is fun to watch, too: tableside baristas mix and pour your concoctions in full view.
As you might expect, the food here bears little resemblance to the standard coffeehouse fare of a pastry case and maybe a few salads and sandwiches. The menu was designed by Michael Cimarusti of Michelin-starred Providence restaurant. Cal-French selections run the gamut from caramel polenta and eggs en cocotte for breakfast, to an Asian BLT (with pork belly and preserved black bean) and chilled pea soup for lunch, to hangar steak and fries for dinner. And the desserts…oh, the desserts. Espresso chocolate panna cotta and brioche doughnut holes practically scream out to be paired with coffee, don’t you think?
With such elevated food and drink, you might expect this to be a special occasion stop, but not at all. Really, it’s just Silver Lake business as usual. Screenwriters with laptops mingle with moms toting strollers and the nerdy (in a good way) hipster set. Yet it’s also not the kind of place you want to order a quick joe to go–that would be a waste of the ambiance and experience. Baroque touches like the ornate chandelier and gray-toned murals contrast to the brightly painted red exterior, a classy cool setting that invites lingering.
It’s hard to find a downside to Lamill, except perhaps that you run the risk of being forever spoiled by its stellar brews and likely to turn your nose up at lesser counterparts thereafter. Who could go back to “Two-Buck Chuck” after sampling a French Bordeaux?
Read more about Lamill Coffee Boutique in our Los Angeles Guide