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Sitting at India and Fir, next to a little ol' timber cottage. Sign says Melero Boutique & Gallery. This place, on the other hand is ultra mod: Glass and plastic industrial chic.

Everyone who comes in is thin, cool, wiring their laptops into the plugs right at knee level by every table. This is Influx (750 W. Fir), the bust-out of the little ol' timber house they started in on Broadway at the bottom of Golden Hill (and still going fine).

I stopped in here for a coffee ($1.50), but seeing as how it's midday, couldn't resist the lunch menu. The "Feta 1” sandwich has roasted eggplant spread, red onion, lettuce and tomato on luscious looking focaccia bread ($6.50). Can't resist combining it with an arugula salad (blue cheese, apples, grapes, toasted walnuts - hey, sounds interesting - with a balsamic vinaigrette, $6.95).

Jason Twilla, the owner, is taking the orders. Says the most popular is the Turkey 2, with bacon (The Turkey 1 has pesto), $6.50. But I go for the Feta 1 sandwich and the arugula salad. Emily brings the sandwich/salad over (and they packed half of each to go).




The sandwich/salad combo

Gotta say: the focaccia is crumbly delicious. Love the eggplant flavor. And the sweet-tangy flavor of the vinaigrette in the arugula salad is a home run too. Best surprise: what look like black olives turn out to be a sunburst of sweet dark grapes.

Jason says half his stuff is vegetarian (like my two dishes) and he tries to be organic (espressos are organic) where he can.

And Little Italy? Doesn't look no way Italian in here, but hey, at least they're playing "Funiculi, Funicula" in the sound system.


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