I had a chance to visit Lamill Coffee in Harbor East yesterday with, ironically, a recent Los Angeles transplant moving back to her hometown. She had never heard of the original Lamill Coffee in Alhambra, a suburb of the City of Angels. I’d been looking forward to eating the creations of pastry chef Chris Ford for quite some time. Chris is the head pastry chef of Wit and Wisdom and his team supplies Lamill. He was recently named among the “Best Pasty Chefs 2012” by tastingtable.com.
My friend was flying out the next day and didn’t have a car, so I trudged through morning rush hour to pick her up, all the while daydreaming of delectable breakfast treats. Luckily I had tuned into WBAL 1090’s “Traffic and Weather together on the 5” and heard about a northbound I-95 lane closure AND an exit closure at Canton Avenue. I detoured via Route 40, which still took about 40 minutes from Catonsville, but I can’t imagine what I-95 would have been like.
Lamill is located off the quaint circle of International Drive, with a beautiful view of the harbor. When I walked inside I was in awe of the wonderful decor and atmosphere. Throughout my meal I was drawn toward the grey, hexagonal tile floor and stared out the expansive windows.
To make things interesting, my friend had a few rolls of coins totaling $28 she had collected while packing. She desperately wanted to pay with her coins; I desperately wanted to relive some childhood mischief. (Who hasn’t paid for a Slurpee with all pennies?!) I was reassured everything was made fresh daily; if you’re like me, when you spend a hefty penny on breakfast, you want it to be fresh. We ordered an oreo macaron (1.50), a plain croissant (2.75), a vanilla bean scone (I believe with walnut), a cheddar bacon scone (hers not mine since I don’t eat bacon),
and — of course — beignets with butterscotch sauce on the side (you also have the option of chocolate sauce or lemon curd). Lamill is obviously known for it’s coffee, but they also carry a decent selection of teas. I got a pot of english breakfast tea (5.00) with a side of steamed whole milk and she got what the menu called “chai” (6.00) (we will talk about chai, and its various meanings, on another post one day). My favorite pastry was the vanilla bean scone.
My least favorite was the croissant. It had no texture: Even though the croissant was buttery, it lacked the crispy flakiness I adore in a croissant, like the old Bonaparte ones. The oreo macaroon shell had a great texture and tasted like Oreos; the buttercream center was sweet. It was a delicious morsel of oreo sweetness which we halved — I wonder if a full oreo macaron would be too much. I picked the wrong tea to go with my breakfast, I should have tried the Darjeeling. The English Breakfast didn’t pack too much of a punch, unfortunately, but the steamed milk was nice and frothy. The beignets were finished quickly, they were slightly on the thick side, but an overall nice beignet experience. They fry the beignets to order, and then dust with powdered sugar. My friend enjoyed her cheddar bacon scone and loved her chai.
I really did enjoy the breakfast items. Next time I would try the everything cookie and the chocolate chip cookie. I can’t wait to try more macarons and scones. I will not get the croissant again. The tea is expensive, even though there was enough for 2 people. They brew the loose tea for you and bring it to your table in the pot without the tea leaves. This helps for the tea not to be over-brewed, but also allows for under-brewed tea. I would try a different flavor next time, something a bit stronger and more bitter to balance my pastries’ sweetness.
Like a 12-year old, I was excitedly anxious all meal about paying with rolls of coins. Our total was $28.89 so it seemed the “prank” would work out perfectly. (If your still following along, the coins were $28 worth.) The annoyingly cool Lamill staff didn’t even blink and happily accepted the coins. They probably needed coins. And my friend was happy to lose the weight from her purse. I guess everybody was happy… except my inner child.
What I wish from Lamill is a daily tweet of freshly made goods, which would motivate me to drive out of Catonsville to Baltimore more often.Lamill Coffee 200 International Drive Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 576-5800