April 22, 2011

My Latest Food Obsession: The Monte Cristo Sandwich

On my recent trip to Anaheim and Disneyland, I ate some delicious things.  Being in California, I also ate some very fresh and healthy things.  One meal in particular stands out: the famous Monte Cristo sandwich from Cafe Orleans at Disneyland.  While it was definitely not healthy, it was at least wisely paired with fresh fruit as a side; french fries would have been overkill on the fried food front.  As it was, I focused on the meat and cheese containing parts while Mom "I'm just going to have a salad" took care of the corners for me.

The almighty reference, wikipedia, proclaims the version I had to be the traditional version, but with an addition.  That means the sandwich is completely dipped in fluffy, funnel cake-like batter, deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with a berry puree.  The addition was a common one in some areas of turkey to go with the traditional ham and Swiss.  The turkey was probably unnecessary since it was so mild it was essentially unnoticable when compared with all of the other flavors.

I had heard of the Monte Cristo sandwich, but I didn't really know what it was. Furthermore, I realized that I couldn't remember ever having noticed one on a menu around Wake County.  Though, I must admit that I don't usually pay too much attention to the sandwich sections of menus, especially if there is a Reuben listed near the beginning of the list.  I'm a sucker for pretty much anything involving sauerkraut as long as it is not of the Bavarian variety.  See shredded brussels sprouts for my opinion of caraway seeds.

In doing internet research around the Triangle in search of the elusive Monte Cristo, I have learned one thing: beware of imitations.  Yes, I know regional variation allows for the sandwich to just be fried on the outside.  It is even acceptable for the whole thing to just be thrown between a couple slices of French toast.  While both of those do sound tasty and might have pleased me previously, I have had the Cadillac and can now never turn back to tamer versions.

I have been ruined forever for anything but the original.  I have considered the improbability of powdered sugar on a ham and cheese sandwich and found the contrast delicious.  I have delighted in the crisp, fluffy batter encasing soft, fresh bread and its salty, smoky contents.  I have dunked in the berry puree until there was but a sad smear of it left in the cup.

Monte Cristo Sandwich - I will have you again, even if I must resort to cooking you myself!

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