4135 Park Boulevard, University Heights
I learned my lesson the hard way about eating in, rather than taking food to go, at the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious deli that is jokingly named for its entrance, Big Front Door (and also for its titillating acronym). The lesson being that my sandwich of choice is best enjoyed in private. That sandwich is the Avocado Highway, a delicious monster of a sub that contains what I swear is an entire avocado, along with roma tomato, parmesan crisp, lettuce, and a sprinkling of oil and vinegar ($9.50). For an additional two bucks you can add bacon, which I often do. All together, it’s a decadent texture orgy, with the creamy avocado, that salty/savory/crispy parmesan layer, the cool sweet tomato, crispy lettuce, and chewy bacon.
But here’s the problem: the moment I take a bite, a good amount of that goodness squeezes its way out from between the bread. By bite three, there are telltale smudges of avocado on one or all of my fingers. This is when I grab utensils. As I draw closer to finishing, the paper wrapping-turned-plate looks like the scene of a messy sandwich murder. I look around and hope I don’t recognize anyone I know as I try to contain the chaos and get all those flavors and textures that escaped the bread into my mouth. Lesson learned, I now only get this sandwich to go, so that, like a lioness dragging a buffalo carcass back to her den, I can enjoy my fare with wild abandon, away from onlookers or cackling hyenas.
David, in a bid to shame me, leaves no trace that his sandwich was ever there as he takes the last bite of his Cali Cubano, a torpedo sandwich with house-cured and smoked pork loin, jack cheese, pickle, red onion, avocado, mustard, and jalapeño aioli ($10).
About that “house-cured and smoked” pork loin — BFD sells most of their sandwich meat (and salads and sides) from a display case. We have taken home house-smoked turkey and double-smoked ham, all sliced, and plated it with a sampling of cheeses for house parties. The meat is flavorful enough to be enjoyed all by its tasty lonesome, right out of the fridge.
On occasion, I’ll order a cup of soup ($3) to go with my sandwich (it’s $5 for a bowl, $9 for a quart). The soup is made in large batches, and sold until it runs out, at which time the chef switches to another of the 15 or so recipes in the rotation, including tomato bisque, black bean chili, cream of broccoli, “loaded” potato soup (with sour cream, scallions, and bacon), and one of my personal favorites, mushroom. I hear this one’s about to be back on the menu again soon. A thin, complex, and rich soup, BFD's version packs an umami punch that rivals my other favorite mushroom soup in town, which is served at 3rd Corner.
BFD also offers an interesting and eclectic selection of wines, among other regular and boutique beverages (craft and artisan sodas). These are easy to grab for orders to go, as from now on, mine will always be. That is, unless I can learn how to take a bite out of the Avocado Highway without inadvertently squeezing the sandwich inside-out.