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LA Mill Showdown: Gold vs. Virbila

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Alen Lin, 1/14/08

With all the hubbub surrounding LA Mill---the debate over one egg or two, the prices, the local's saying they'll never go in again, but others making it a destination from any part of town---of course LA's critics would weigh in for their first looks. Although devoid of much criticism, their respective respect for the coffee boutique is apparent.

Jonathan Gold: "With a special spoon, he breaks the crust that has formed at the surface and stirs until the grounds settle to the bottom. He produces a thin mesh cone that looks as if it may have been part of the costume Madonna's backup dancers wore circa 1988, and plunges it into the hot liquid. A second later, there is clear, limpid coffee in your cup, light-roasted, smelling rather more of fruits and flowers than of whatever it is Starbucks peaberry smells like. The coffee guy zips up the neoprene and grins." [LA Weekly]

S. Irene Virbila: "What's to eat? A killer jambon beurre -- baguette spread with butter and piled with delicious thinly-sliced ham, served, like all the sandwiches, with handmade Yukon Gold potato chips. Or the Asian BLT panini made with pork belly and preserved black bean. Soup is a deep-flavored Tahitian squash purée dotted with crème fraîche flavored with Turkish Urfa pepper, maple syrup -- and coffee. Coffee sneaks into the dressing for the lovely frisée au lardon salad too." [LAT]