The Unvegan

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Eating Alone at Food Fair by Diego (CLOSED)

It’s a fair of gnocchi.

A long long time ago, the girlfriend and I went on a binge of buying up restaurant gift certificates. They would have specials like $20 for $10 and other such things that seemed like no-brainers. Fast forward to six months later and loads of these gift certificates are sitting around collecting dust. We could take it no more and decided to use one at a restaurant called Food Fair by Diego. It is in the strange area that is sort of West Hollywood or Beverly Hills or Melrose or something like that, so even though the name sounded like it would be a pretentious joint (how many typical restaurants put the chef’s name in the restaurant name, it actually turned out to be in a one of those corner strips and was kind of a hole in the wall.

Which is not to say it was dirty. Inside, it was immaculate, with candle-lit tables and nice art on the walls. But it was also empty and the hostess was awkward for some reason. Possibly because we were the only customers, but maybe for other reasons. But this was a Saturday night so we were pretty surprised. Finally, after some seriously awkward moments, the waitress came out for us and the awkwardness ended. After we asked, she explained that the restaurant was empty because it was really more of a weekday place because it was near a bunch of businesses. I hoped that was the case, because otherwise it meant the food would be pretty bad.

After looking at the short, but good-looking menu, we decided to start out with their Homemade Gnocchi ($8). The sauce changes daily, but on our night it came with a creamy sauce with some sort of sausage. It came with tomatoes, but for the girlfriend’s sake we kept them in. The gnocchi itself ended up being some of the strangest I had ever tasted. It seemed like a roll of gnocchi had been made and cut up, rather than making individual dumplings. It wasn’t bad, just not exactly what I was expecting. And actually the sauce and sausage wound up being better than the gnocchi itself.

A nice twist on grilling cheese.

For the main course, I got myself the Smoked Gouda and Peppered Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($8). It was a tough choice, but it barely beat out the Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich. It came with tomatoes, which I ordered without, and a choice of salad or homemade chips. I was leaning towards the salad…wait just kidding, of course I chose the homemade chips. The sandwich that came out was somehow cut into thirds. I have no idea how they pulled off that feat of sandwich-making, but it looked quite tasty. And it was. The break was crunchy and buttery, while the bacon and gouda were a match made in smoky heaven. The chips were also quite good and despite being homemade were sliced quite thin and were crunchy.

By the time we left, another couple had sat down inside. It made me feel a little better, but I still felt as though the restaurant should have had more patrons. The food was certainly worth a visit and was a pretty good price. Plus, the menu changes seasonally, so they should be able to draw in repeat customers. Maybe if the name sounded less pretentious, they could get more unvegans like me to jump on the Food Fair.