Aaron Tan / Courier at Millie's diner. The new location opened up in 1399 E. Washington Blvd. Pasadena.
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Pasadena continues to bring some of LA’s most popular coffee and dining hot spots to the city. Though most of these places can be found in Old Town or along Lake Avenue, Washington Boulevard is up and coming as well. A popular Silver Lake diner known as Millie’s Cafe recently opened a second location on this street, taking over a restaurant called Community Kitchen, which closed after being in business for less than a year.

Millie’s Cafe offers an endless amount of options on their menu which equally caters to the carnivores, omnivores and vegans. To compliment that, they seat their guests quickly and provide exceptional service. This cafe is unique in the way that it provides this juxtaposition of a retro dining experience under a more modern ambiance.

Upon doing research, it was easy to get excited about this place, especially after reading both locations’ positive reviews on Yelp. The business celebrates their commitment to offering the best ingredients and that every meal is prepared by people who genuinely care. But it’s always best to see for yourself.

Overwhelmed by the menu, my choices ended up being the huevos a la Mexicana, the short stack of fresh blueberry pancakes, and an iced latte with cashew milk to wash it down. The iced latte came first and it only led to the confusion of the reviews. Sadly, it tasted like nothing more than watered down, bitter espresso with some foam thrown on top.

After about a 15 minute wait, the food arrived. The huevos a la Mexicana was a plate that included a veggie egg scramble topped with salsa, along with potatoes and a choice of corn or flour tortillas.

The millenial in me was slightly disappointed at the sight of what looked like an overcooked egg scramble topped with unauthentic looking salsa. This didn’t build up much excitement to taste it, let alone take a picture. It tasted as mediocre as it looked. The only thing that really sparked my tastebuds was the rosemary seasoned potatoes.  

The fresh blueberry pancakes followed a while later, and it was the plate that was assumed to be the most excited about. Who doesn’t love some sweet carbs? The beautifully whipped butter didn’t melt into my pancakes as imagined, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to douse them in syrup.

The first bite was a cold, rubbery pancake with barely a taste of blueberry. One would have to eat their way to the middle of the pancake to hit the jackpot of blueberries. The pancakes, along with the rest of my meal, could have been prepared better, considering every meal is “prepared by people who actually care.”

Trying new food with an empty stomach is the ultimate test to determine how good it is. But when it still doesn’t bring some sort of satisfaction, that says something.

It is understandable that diners serve a unique quality of food, but honestly sticking to a franchise may be just as good. Millie’s Cafe is still authentic considering it’s been around since 1926, and it has always been known as “Silver Lake’s home for good cooking.”

Having a second location in Pasadena deserves appreciation, being that the regular traffic on Sunset Avenue could be avoided. There is free parking along North Hill Avenue or usually an open space in the lot next to Lavender and Honey.

Hopefully the second time around, the majority of the customers’ opinions on Millie’s Cafe will be understood.

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