The Monte Cristo

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kangolpimp
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2003/07/14 20:37:08 (permalink)

The Monte Cristo

This sandwich will be most familiar to those in the Northeast. It is usually served at diners. The epicenter of its popularity seems to be in Northern New Jersey. I don't know if I have ever seen it at an eatery that is not a diner. It consists of turkey, ham, and swiss cheese served on battered and fried bread (like french toast) and you pour maple syrup on top. French fries with ketchup on the side completes the experience, at least for me. So who here knows this sandwich? And who likes it? Which place makes your favorite?
#1

23 Replies Related Threads

    muzzlehatch
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/14 21:05:09 (permalink)
    Oh, it's not that rare; I've seen them all over in the midwest (Chicago area), typically at 24-hour/"family" type restaurants. But the best I've ever had, and I hate to admit this, was at Bennigans. Enormous sandwich, they seal theirs up and deep fry the whole thing, top it with powdered sugar and raspberry jam. Nearly impossible for me to eat a whole one myself, but I've tried more than once.
    #2
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/14 21:36:54 (permalink)
    They're not entirely uncommon in the West, either. The sweet jam is a nice counterpoint to the salty cheese and ham.

    Nancy Silverton gives a great recipe for Monte Cristos in her bizarrely-named book, <U>Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book</U>. The recipe is found at http://www.ochef.com/r76.htm . Note that Ms. Silverton first grills, then batters and deep-fries her version.

    I'm not sure, but these *may* be on the Grilled Cheese Night menu at Campanile in LA. For those of you who aren't aware, Ms. Silverton is co-owner with her husband, Mark Peel, of Campanile Restaurant, one of my favorite places to eat in the whole wide world. She's also the former owner of La Brea Bakery (right next door), and former pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago. All this said, Ms. Silverton is incredibly down-to-earth and one of the nicest professionals in the business.

    Every Thursday, the bar at Campanile becomes grilled cheese central. $11 or so gets you a grilled cheese sandwich from a menu of a dozen or so, with such choices as a classic grilled cheese, a roasted pear-and-gorgonzola, or a real Croque Madame. These are served with a salad and homemade fries - baby spinach the last time we were there, and they're made at the end of the bar by Ms. Silverton herself. This represents a pretty spectacular value - a great sandwich with fries and a salad in LA for $11 is a good deal, but at Campanile, home of the $32 lamb chops, it's spectacular. I am virtually certain that no other restaurant with a celebrity chef comes this close to Roadfood.

    The restaurant has a website at http://www.campanilerestaurant.com - info on grilled cheese night can be found by clicking Menus, and then selecting Weekly in the lower left-hand corner.

    Eric
    #3
    Liketoeat
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/14 21:42:26 (permalink)
    Don't know how healthy they are, but have seen and enjoyed Monte Cristos at a number of restaurants throughout the South. They are tasty! The best ones I've ever had were at a motel restaurant in Texarkana, AR-TX , a number of years ago. When visiting there on work projects, we'd often go there for Monte Cristos at lunch. Theirs were much as muzzlehatch describes Bennigan's. About the size of and cooked as he describes, came with the powdered surgar, and accompanied by strawberry or raspberry jam and orange marmalade for toppings. Most delicious! Only bad thing on our part was that we usually finished them.
    #4
    kangolpimp
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 03:39:48 (permalink)
    Since Monte Cristos seem to be more ubiquitous than I thought, can anyone pinpoint their origin? I have lived in the West and the South and the Midwest, but as I implied earlier, I have only ever seen them in the Northeast. I must have not gone to the right restaurants in the other areas.
    #5
    Prairie Mary
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 10:26:15 (permalink)
    Ok, strange as it seems, one of the best Monte Cristo I've had is available at Disneyland, CA. In the Blue Bayou restaurant (Pirate's ride, fake nighttime, fake fireflies, the whole nine yards). It is battered and fried... not the french toasty kind. I like it puffy with powdered sugar and jam. Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me...
    #6
    kland01s
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 10:49:53 (permalink)
    There's a place in Springfield, Il that is famous for their Monte Cristo and is known to be frequented by our State legislators. Now I know why our State government is so screwed up, all of their arteries are clogged!
    #7
    seafarer john
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 14:46:05 (permalink)
    There was a pro football player from , I think, Akron, Oh. named MONTE somethjing-or-other. He frequented a bar/restaurant in the off season in Akron where the favorite snack was anything deep fried right behind the bar in CRISCO. The sandwich we are discussing was not invented in a sudden flash of genius - it developed over a long off season of Monte coming in hungry and requesting fairly outlandish sandwiches to be made for him. A time came when he and the cook and a few friends finally determined that they had arrived at the ultimate of deep fried sandwiches, and that item became the signature product of that place. Over time people would come in and order MONTE'S CRISCO sandwich. Alas, the deep fryer caught fire , the place burned to the ground, Monte quit football, and the name, as it moved from town to town gradually became the famous Monte Cristo.
    #8
    ocdreamr
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 16:07:08 (permalink)
    Seafarer,


    Seems like a taaallll tale to me. For a litle more info on the monte cristo/croque monsiuer see the following link. You'll have to scroll down the page to find the history of the sandwhich.

    http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/foodsandwiches.html
    #9
    EliseT
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 16:41:04 (permalink)
    I think it came from the Croque Monsieur, a similar sandwich that showed up on French menus in 1910 and was mentioned by Proust (oh, the internet makes research embarassingly easy!)
    #10
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 17:45:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    I think it came from the Croque Monsieur, a similar sandwich that showed up on French menus in 1910 and was mentioned by Proust (oh, the internet makes research embarassingly easy!)


    Isn't the Croque Madame a Croque Monsieur made with turkey instead of ham?
    #11
    CheeseWit
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 17:47:19 (permalink)
    I LOVE a Monte Christo!!!
    #12
    Spudnut
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 17:51:30 (permalink)
    Actually, a Croque Madame is a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top. Neither is served with turkey: just cheese and ham. I used to love them when I lived in Paris during college, which always surprised me because I don't like ham. I'm often tempted to order a Monte Cristo, but never have.
    #13
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 18:00:21 (permalink)
    Which one has the Bechamel on top, run under the salamander?

    Eric
    #14
    seafarer john
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/15 21:19:52 (permalink)
    Yeah, OCD, I ate a croque monsieur in Le Harve about 1950 - but that wasn't no MONTE's CRISCO!
    #15
    EliseT
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 03:08:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Phil J.

    Actually, a Croque Madame is a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top. Neither is served with turkey: just cheese and ham. I used to love them when I lived in Paris during college, which always surprised me because I don't like ham. I'm often tempted to order a Monte Cristo, but never have.


    Oooh, it's almost too easy. Should I? OK, here goes...

    shouldn't it have 2 eggs???
    #16
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 03:35:09 (permalink)
    Elise!

    A girl like you could make me forget about my beloved. Let's run away together and make beautiful music while blotting the grease from each other's chins...

    Eric, Wantonly
    #17
    EliseT
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 07:01:38 (permalink)
    Oh, you silver tongued devil! You'll not tempt me with wanton talk of sandwiches and cannibalism
    #18
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 13:48:00 (permalink)
    Funny, it's always worked before.

    Eric, Who *Loves* To Give "Donner" When Asked To Leave A Name WIth The Hostess.

    "Donner, Party Of Four"
    #19
    Richard Brooks Alba
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 15:08:08 (permalink)
    Montecristians,
    Monte Cristos were sufficiently exotic-yet-banal out here that we served them in a dorm cafeteria in the '80s as a lunch entree. I can't remember anyone eating them with syrup [or powdered sugar]. As for the Croques Madame/Monsieur - do either actually get topped with bechamel in Paris?
    Feeling a might peckish,
    Richard
    Berkeley/SF, CA
    #20
    bw30
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 16:18:19 (permalink)
    The best Monte Cristo I have ever had is at an unlikely place - given the apparent diner-prevalence. Its the SFA Cafe on the fifth floor of the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Minneapolis. The french-toasty bread is just right in chewiness so as to stand up to the meet, and the strawberry sauce that comes with it is the perfect complement.
    #21
    EliseT
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/16 16:22:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by VibrationGuy

    Funny, it's always worked before.

    Eric, Who *Loves* To Give "Donner" When Asked To Leave A Name WIth The Hostess.

    "Donner, Party Of Four"



    Especially when the wait is long: "Make that a party of three, um...no, two!"
    #22
    MikeS.
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2003/07/27 01:50:39 (permalink)
    About the only time I have had a Monte Cristo was in 1992 in Ogden Utah. Near the train station and Winchester museum. If I ever see aother one I'll try it again. I do see Bennigan's around so maybe I'll talk PickyPeggy into stopping there and I'll order one.

    MikeS.
    #23
    marberthenad
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    RE: The Monte Cristo 2004/04/01 23:00:32 (permalink)
    In our college dorm, word got out quick that they were serving Monte Cristos on a Saturday or Sunday morning. (morning usually started at about 11)
    #24
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