Chi Chi La La …LaMill…
The frenzy of LA imbibing continues…at LaMill. This is where you should go if you want the ultimate chi chi coffee experience. Your basic cup of coffee starts at $3.50 here, brewed from a Clover machine and goes up to $20 a cup if you choose a limited selection bean and either the chemex, eva solo or siphon brew method. Wow! I think I can truly say “Only in LA!” The space is absolutely beautiful; it looks nothing like a “coffee shop”. I can’t imagine what the beautifully upholstered teal leather armchairs cost. They were very comfy! We did have breakfast, eggs coquette with lardons and roasted mushrooms and butternut squash polenta with candied pecans. The portions were quite precious, but tasty. I enjoyed a house made chai, that was unfortunately a little sweet, not hot enough and $6 for an eight ounce cup! They do cold brew their ice coffee, which is the only kind of coffee I can drink these days (lower acid) and that only set me back $3.50 and was quite delicious. Glad I went, and am still quite curious what a $20 cup of coffee tastes like. Maybe I’ll split one with Keiko next time!
Mozza was on the top of my list to eat at. The restaurant is collaboration between Nancy Silverton from LaBrea Bakery and Mario Batali, oh, you all know who Mario Batali is. They made it seem so simple to make great pizza. Chewy blackened crust but thin and crispy in the middle, not soggy, at all. I wish everyone could figure this out. They also make tons of the ingredients in house, fennel sausage, guincale, (unsmoked Italian bacon made from the jowl). We had all this luscious meat on our pizza, plus bacon and salami
and, of course, mozzarella. This was house made mozzarella, and I have never tasted anything like this mozzarella. I saw the caprese on the menu and did not order it. What a caprese means to me, is rubbery mozzarella, tasteless tomatoes and basil, a requisite dish at all Italian restaurants. I saw one go by here, though, and immediately ordered one.
The house made mozzarella had a texture that I have never experienced before. Soft, and buttery and melt in your mouth texture; a mouth feel that was totally new to me. The cherry tomatoes were on the vine still, slightly roasted and bursting with flavor and the pesto was bright oh-so-fresh green and tasted the same. I will never order another caprese in my life, not that I ever did before. The trip to LA was worth it just for this mozzarella…seriously!
Another place high on my list, for years, has been The Hungry Cat. It is hip, modern seafood restaurant at Sunset and Vine, right in the heart of Hollywood, hidden away next to a Borders Book Store. Our visit started out right with one of the best cocktails I have ever had. It was nothing fancy, but it was excellent and way to easy to drink. Juices for the cocktails are freshly squeezed right at the bar. This miracle cocktail I had was called The Penn State and was simply Wild Turkey Rye, fresh lemon and grapefruit juice. No fancy ice cubes, no house made bitters, just fresh squeezed juice & booze! I’ll have another please.
Dinner was full of interesting seafood choices that I have never had before, the first being a fresh sea urchin. I will tell you, I still not have had it! Laurent jumped at the chance to order fresh sea urchin, but I was not that brave. He and Keiko enjoyed it, although she said that she has had better and cheaper from the Japanese market.
We also tried a razor clam ceviche that was very refreshing and pretty spicy. I chose the pan roasted arctic char for dinner with kabocha squash gnocchi, quince, black trumpet mushrooms, hazelnuts and caramel. You know I will order anything that includes caramel in the description. In this case, it was a very thin, lacey caramel crust on the outside of the fish, that I assume was achieved by a light sprinkling of sugar on the fish before it was seared in the pan or flashed under the broiler. Laurent ordered the whole roasted orata served with dates, roasted cauliflower, baby carrots and kale. (or something like that…after two of those lovely cocktails I forgot to write it down. Oops!) Anyways…it was excellent. Both fish were cooked perfectly, had layers and layers of flavors going on without overpowering the actual taste of the fish. Another great meal in LA.
That’s all I’ve got for you on the LA front. As we wrapped up our trip, Keiko came up with at least three more places we had to go…Father’s Office for burgers (I heard that they don’t serve ketchup & that people sneak in bottles strapped to their legs!); Oinkster in Eagle Rock for the pulled pork sandwiches; and Cacao Mexicatessen, again in Eagle Rock (it’s a cool ‘hood), for duck carnitas tacos. You know I’m there next trip!