I was driving past Big Front Door the other day when it hit me: that's not where Big Front Door should be.
4075 Park Boulevard, University Heights
But it's really close. Two months ago, the six-year-old sandwich shop moved one block south, from its original location at 4135 Park Boulevard, to a new location at 4075 Park Boulevard.
The new spot doesn't differ greatly from the original. The ordering counter is configured differently, and there's a much larger dining patio. Perhaps the biggest change is that, while the original location really did come with a really large namesake front door, the new storefront's conventional in size front door doesn't measure up.
That's okay, I've always come here for the house cured, roasted, and/or smoked meats topping its sandwiches. The classics are all still here: the Cali Cubano with its cured and smoked pork loin; the house roast beef with broccoli rabe; and turkey day, with cranberry relish, candy bacon stuffing, and gravy. Newer to the roster is the LGBT: lettuce, gouda, bacon, and tomato on sourdough. I like this one because for every $11 sandwich order, a dollar is donated to the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Also, because bacon.
Point is, BFD does a good job making meaty, 11 dollar sandwiches. Unfortunately, I got it in my head to give one of the menu's vegan options a chance. For $10.50, the "deep v" lists smoked potato crisps, avocado whip, roma tomato, red onion, and pea sprouts, with oil and vinegar on whole grain bread.
Anglophiles might be a step ahead of me here in recognizing that a "potato crisp" is what most 'Mericans would call a "potato chip."
I'm not actually opposed to a the idea of a potato chip sandwich. I've added potato chips to many kinds sandwiches at home and never complained. But this smoked crisp ate more like an overcooked potato chip, brown in color with a bit of burnt flavor. It didn't help that pea sprouts objectively taste terrible. I didn't realize, because they've never shown up on my sandwich before, but their unpleasant earthiness, combined with the vinegar and problematic potato left me eating a sandwich perhaps too healthy to enjoy.
The good news is, I'm not vegan, and I ordered a bowl of smoked turkey noodle soup. Here, smoke made both the large chunks of turkey and warm broth made everything better. Everything's prepped to go here, so the $5.75 serving came in a secure plastic tub, loaded with carrots and celery, and salvaging my lunch experience.
So, if you go looking for Big Front Door and find an empty shop, don't worry. Just walk another block, and order something with meat on it.