Long Live the Monte Cristo sandwich
Updated: Mar 15
Do you know what a Monte Cristo sandwich is? If, by some unfortunate circumstance, you don't yet know what it is, you can "Google" it but the internet has a whole lot of different answers for you. I looked and if you asked me, I'd say the most generalized and on-point definition was on Wikipedia of course:
"A Monte Cristo sandwich also called French toasted ham and cheese is a fried ham and cheese sandwich, a variation of the French croque-monsieur. In the 1930s–1960s, American cookbooks had recipes for this sandwich under such names as "French sandwich", "toasted ham sandwich", and "French toasted cheese sandwich". Swiss cheese is typically used."
When I was younger, I mostly stayed away from Monte Cristo sandwiches because Swiss cheese was a little too pungent for my young palate, but some years back I got a job at a breakfast restaurant and by default ended up trying a Monte Cristo with a more refined palate...
...Oh SO good!
Everywhere you go, you find it prepared a little bit differently. Some add an egg, some fresh bake their bread, some use farm fresh ham slabs, some serve it with syrup, some serve it with jam, some stack it, some serve it open faced. Whatever the spin, it's a melty sweet but savory merriment of delightfully paired flavors. It makes a perfect plate for brunch satisfying the midday savory cravings while adding in that delectable and classic French Toast breakfast element.
Recently I found a variation worth mentioning off Gladstone Street in southeast. There's a pinball bar named C Bar that offers weekend brunch right off 29th & Gladstone. The Monte Cristo there is stacked 3 layers high and perfectly cooked with two properly gooey sunny side up eggs on top. You get your choice of breakfast potatoes, salad or fruit to go with it. I've been back for the Monte Cristo specifically twice now. The servers are great. The atmosphere is kind of lounge-like and there's always some well known movie(s) playing without the sound to give you something to talk about while you're there.