Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Thoroughly Morning Millie's!

Millie’s opens at 7:30am according to the sign in the window. I walked in a shade before 8 and found the handful of staff still doing prep work. Shade umbrellas were going up for the outside tables, food was still being brought in from the delivery truck, and only half the tables had menus and utensils put out. For a solid minute, I was the only person actually inside the restaurant. I sat myself.
Millie’s is very small. No more than eight tables in the dining room, about six chairs at the counter and a few tables outside. It is cramped by modern standards. Now I have nothing to back this up, but I imagine that back in 1926, when Millie’s was founded, “intimate” diners and coffee shops like this were the norm. [From what I understand though Millie's has only been in this location since the 50s.] Another holdover from the grand old days of neighborhood diners, as seen in Hopper’s Nighthawks, is Millie’s massive storefront window. It faces out onto Sunset Blvd and only a quarter of it is covered by concert posters for local venues.
I was their first customer of the day, clearly. For this reason, I cannot speak about what the service would be later in the morning or around lunch. I will say that although I went through my meal largely invisible because of the kitchen prep, my coffee was refilled regularly, my check came without me asking and that’s really all that matters.
I had three cups of coffee. My first one had a solid smooth nutty flavor. My second cup did taste a little burnt. If you are used to Starbucks coffee you would probably find no problem with it. My third was back to the first flavor. I did like that cream was already on the table and it did not come in little plastic containers.
Millie’s specialty is the “mess”, think of a more precise “scramble”. Like an egg pancake in the proper round shape. Like a pancake you get at restaurants not the lopsided “Look it’s a dinosaur!” shape you make at home. I chose the “Devil’s Mess”- 3 eggs, spicy Cajun turkey sausage, cheddar cheese and topped with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. It comes with rosemary potatoes and a home made biscuit.

From where I sat I could see into the kitchen and noticed that a large tray of biscuits was already prepared. This lead me to believe that although these were “home made”, they were not “fresh.” I then saw that the rosemary potatoes were already warming on the griddle. I wanted to believe that whoever opens the restaurant in the morning immediately makes the biscuits and preps the potatoes.
When my food arrived after a very short wait- I was still the only patron in the restaurant- I checked out the biscuit. The biscuits at Millie’s are made in muffin tins giving them a muffin shape. I tore off the biscuit top and took a bite. It was cold but maintained the doughy moisture that I love in some breads. I love that hint of raw dough. Hell, I love raw dough period. I have been known to crack open a tube of Pillsbury and go to town. I now believe that Millie’s biscuits are probably made at the end of the day and fridged over night. The potatoes I have no theory about. They were simply tasty.
The mess was also thoroughly tasty. It was a giant of an egg pancake. It was light but not fluffy. I think sausage’s presence precluded “fluffy” from being part of the equation. The sausage had a kick to it without overpowering the cheese and egg. The salsa added a fresh, clean flavor overall. I was surprised at how well the guacamole-which I am usually cocking an eyebrow to when it’s included in a meal that doesn’t involve black beans or chips-worked with the flavors. It was a lot of good food. I even had to leave a few bites on the plate, it was so filling. I literally went all day without filling hungry again.
It was 8:30 before any more people showed up in the restaurant. From what I understand it is often packed to the gills later in the morning and for lunch. It closes in the mid-afternoon so it is a no-go for the dinner and pre/post bar scene.

I saw no desserts on the menu which of course means no pie, which in turns means I cannot fully endorse Millie’s. It was however a great diner experience. I highly recommend it.

Price: $10-14 for most entrees
Food: Healthy and Good
Service: Adequate
Pie: No pie.

3524 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, 213-664-0404

1 comment:

shannon said...

I've never been here, but whatever that mess thing is, it looks deliscious. I want that! Anyplace with biscuits is a place for me.