Vif. Grilled Gruyere with ham


Big windows flooded the open restaurant with light. Wine bottles adorned the limited walls and stacks of freshly baked goods rested beside the cash register. Vif wasn’t the kind of space into which you sunk and prepared for a nap. The hard tabletops were paired with hard seats and hard floors. This was the kind of place you came to work.

That’s what the majority of its computer-wielding patrons were doing. Laptops were perched beside bowls of soup and cups of coffee. It was clear this was the café office for many. If I lived in the Fremont area, I’d probably treat this local haunt the same. The price point was pleasantly surprising. (Nothing exceeded $9.) The portion sizes were reasonably controlled. And, the staff was friendly.

The vegetarian soup at Vif packs the tomato based broth with beans

However, I was visiting with my mom on one of our “girls dates.” (We go on girls dates. They’re amazing. Go ahead. Be jealous. My mom’s awesome.) We were planning to share dishes and compare notes. We were there to visit – to talk. Unfortunately, our conversation seemed out of place. We found ourselves huddling over the tabletop and talking in hushed voices. The only other twosome – a couple sitting adjacent us – was doing the same. It was as though the sound of our voices was an intrusion.

Despite the slightly uncomfortable “chatting” environment, the food was tasty. The grilled Gruyere sandwich had a nice crispy crust and the small piece of ham was accented by sweet and spicy peppers ($8).

The soup of the day was vegetarian, as I understand it is most days. A tomato based concoction packed with beans, it had the lovely aroma of herbs and acid. It arrived in a large bowl with a thick slice of bread ($7). You might consider ordering another slice of bread for dipping.

Arugula with quinoa and goat cheese at Vif

The salads change seasonally, but might include fennel and chicory lettuce or what we were treated to – arugula with quinoa and goat cheese ($7).

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