Board and Brew

Frequented by beach bums and small families alike, Board and Brew is a an obsession among locals and a classic trademark of San Diego. Located on Camino Del Mar, about a 15-minute drive from UCSD, the small sandwich shop doesn’t instantly stand out. The front of the shop sports the same simple brown wood exterior as all the buildings on Camino Del Mar, but a pastel-colored sign points the way to hoagie heaven.

From the giant surfboard on the wall to the aroma of fresh bread wafting from the kitchen, this shop’s laidback atmosphere creates a relaxed (though ravenous) state of mind. The front countertop is worn from years of holding serving trays, and the wall behind the register is coated in board shop stickers, local sports team posters and ads for surf lessons. The restaurant has indoor seating for about 15 only, but two shady outdoor seating sections can accommodate a larger crowd.

With incredibly generous portions and high-quality ingredients that (thankfully) don’t look like they have been sitting out all day, this place beats out the local Subway and any on-campus dining halls. Their top-secret sweet-and-sour special sauce is perhaps one of the best food discoveries of my life. This sticky orange sauce, with the consistency of salad dressing, is locally famous and can be ordered with anything on the menu. If only Board and Brew took dining dollars ­— I would be eating there daily, trying to smuggle special sauce back to my apartment.

The most popular items on the menu are the Turkado cold sandwich and the chicken club, hot from the grill. I got the Turkado, which consists of turkey and jack cheese topped with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, onion and mayo on sourdough bread, but the chicken club is probably my favorite, with marinated chicken breast, bacon, melted jack cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo on a toasted French baguette.

Board and Brew has reasonable prices — the most expensive sandwich is $6.95 including sales tax — and all sandwiches come stuffed full of goodness. Try to get there in the cooler months — during the summer it’s packed with locals and trying to find a seat— it’s akin to trying to locate your keys in a pile of dirty laundry. And if you’re traveling by car, expect to spend time looking for street parking that is almost nonexistent during rush hour.

Fortunately, patrons can text in their order ahead of time and pick it up when it’s done. Text that you want a large Baja Chicken (marinated chicken breast, grilled onions, jalapenos, melted jack cheese, mayo, tomato, lettuce and special sauce on toasted French baguette), receive a confirmation text, pick up the sandwich and head to the beach.

Board and Brew’s location is perfect for grabbing lunch and walking a few hundred feet down to the beautiful Del Mar surf for a classic San Diego study break. So check it out — and don’t bother asking for the special sauce recipe, because they don’t give it out. I already tried.

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