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TWGS: The Monte Cristo

August 5, 2010

I can’t believe it has been almost six months since the first The World’s Great Sandwiches.  Admittedly this is an odd choice for the second sandwich in this ongoing series.  Especially given my penchant for food quality and cost-value ratios.  But how much is a sandwich worth that completely ruins you for other versions of the form?

ADS once brought Young Master Fussy and me to a most unexpected lunch destination.  It was the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square.  If you have ever been on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Anaheim, the Blue Bayou is the restaurant that overlooks the lagoon where boats float past reeds and fireflies on their way to the waterfall.

It’s really a beautiful place to take a break from the Southern California heat and enjoy a relaxing lunch.  But it’s not cheap.  Lunch entrées hover around $30.  And the food isn’t exactly what I would call good.  The Monte Cristo is a relative bargain for $22, but considering that it will change your life, one may even consider it a steal.

Honestly, I cannot eat another Monte Cristo.  Most are disgusting deli meat – turkey and ham, to be precise – and vile factory-produced Swiss cheese, grilled or fried between two pieces of white bread that have been dipped into an egg batter and served with powdered sugar and jelly.

The theory behind them is sound: Salty, sweet, meaty, juicy, melty, gooey, rich and tart all working together to bring joy to the world.  But really the sandwiches are too limp, floppy and greasy to be enjoyable.  It’s the fault of the egg batter.  Most Monte Cristo sandwiches resemble a savory stuffed French toast.  And generally that’s not something you want to pick up with your hands.

Enter the geniuses at Disney.

Their egg batter is actually flour-thickened so that it coats the sandwich, and it contains baking powder so that the batter actually rises when cooked.  Then when the sandwich is deep fried, it is coated in a delightful egg-battered shell.  Not only does this add a textural element that is missing in other versions of the Monte Cristo, but also it helps keep the melted cheese and the meat tucked safely inside.

Then they went one step further.

The sandwich is cut into halves before it is battered and fried.  That means greater surface area of crispy egg batter coating, and four discrete pockets of melted cheese and salty meats.  I say four, because those halves are then halved allowing the diner to get a peek into the warm and salty meaty cheesy delights inside.  It is the only version I have tasted that lives up the sandwich’s potential.

Should you go to Disneyland in search of this sandwich, please remember a few things.  You need a reservation for the Blue Bayou, and the Monte Cristo is only available at lunch.  The thing is a beast, and could certainly be shared between two people, but with a $12 sharing charge for a $22 sandwich you may just want to go for the gusto.  Although if you don’t care about the fantastic view, they say you can get the same sandwich for fewer clams at Café Orleans for only $16.

It’s greasy.  It’s heavy.  And yes, it will probably make you feel sick if you eat the whole thing.  It may even put you on the fruitless trail of trying to find other Monte Cristo sandwiches that are remotely comparable.

Be forewarned.  As far as I can tell, a better Monte Cristo doesn’t exist.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. StanfordSteph permalink
    August 5, 2010 10:58 am

    Ah, you speak of Disneyland but your info is a little out of date. The renovation of Cafe Orleans to a table-service restaurant resulted in the addition of the Monte Cristo to their menu. I know a lot of people who share your view on the Monte Cristo there.

    • August 5, 2010 2:30 pm

      Isn’t that what I said in this sentence:
      “Although if you don’t care about the fantastic view, they say you can get the same sandwich for fewer clams at Café Orleans for only $16.”

      Having not tried the sandwich at Café Orleans, I can’t personally vouch for the sameness of it. But I’m glad to hear you corroborate the story. I suppose the only way to truly evaluate their similarities is to eat one at the Blue Bayou and follow it up with another one at Café Orleans for dessert. Which obviously is reserved only for those interested in extreme cardiac distress.

      • StanfordSteph permalink
        August 10, 2010 4:14 pm

        That’s what I get for reading too fast! I haven’t heard any complaints. Cafe Orleans also serves a vegetarian version, the three cheese Monte Cristo.

  2. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    August 5, 2010 11:00 am

    I can’t believe you’re recommending such a rip-off–and an extremely unhealthy one at that! Tsk, tsk.

  3. August 5, 2010 12:08 pm

    Can’t agree with you more. There’s something about the Blue Bayou and that sandwich that’s just a magic combination. Heck, Disneyland is only an hour from me. Now, you’ve got me pondering if I should drop the $100 for the ticket/sandwich combo. Hmm…

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