“According to Webster’s New MillenniumTM Dictionary of English, a Monte Cristo is a sandwich of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese between batter-dipped grilled or fried bread.
The sandwich can differ regionally. Traditionally it is dipped in its entirety in batter and deep fried. In some regions of the United States it is served grilled, and in some regions it is served open faced with just the bread battered.
The sandwich is often served with fresh fruit or with Clotted Cream on the side. It is sometimes served with fruit preserves, powdered sugar, or sweet mustard sauce.”
Anyone ever have one of these? They’re delicious. I remember having one years ago, and they served it with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, and a side of pancake syrup. I’m not the only one who enjoys them like that, am I?
I didn’t think so. But I must have ordered my previous one in a different geographical region of the U.S., based on my experience last night.
My husband and I went out to dinner last night at a great neighborhood bar called Pam’s Pub (we go there once or twice a week – it’s where we hang). Bob always gets the plain hamburger, and I never order the same thing twice. Last night’s special was a Monte Cristo sandwich (it actually was the lunch special, but they forgot to erase it from the board and add the dinner special. I took advantage of their carelessness). I thought “Yum! French toast, ham turkey, swiss, and SYRUP!” I’m all about the sweet/savory combination.
When the order arrived, it looked great – batter dipped French toast, lots of ham and turkey, Swiss cheese melting off the sides, and…wait. What’s that? Russian dressing? Not on a Monte Cristo! I do like Russian dressing, but I was expecting syrup. Needless to say, I was disappointed. So, when the waitress came by to see how we were doing (calling my husband “Honey” the whole time), I asked her for some pancake syrup.
She looked at me strangely, gave my husband a “Good-Lord-why-are-you-with-her-when-you-could-be-with-someone-normal-like-me” look, and walked off to the kitchen. She returned shortly with a GIANT plastic industrial size jug of Mrs. Butterworth’s, laughing. Thanks a lot, smartass.
But, I got my pancake syrup, the rest of the bar had a nice laugh at my expense, and my Monte Cristo was perfect.
As Meg Ryan once said in some movie, “I like things the way I like them.”
Incidentally, the waitress is actually a very sweet person, and we left her a nice tip. Because I know we’ll be back again this weekend.
TeeHee. I like your title!
Now, I like a smartass waitress as much as the next person (having spent a great deal of my 20s being one), but to give you grief over wanting maple syrup with a Monte Cristo? Please. That’s what is supposed to come with it. You shouldn’t get flak for being right!
You have encountered a Cumberland Head Style Monte Cristo. They are served with Thousand Island or Russian dressing rather than jellies, preserves, or syrups. The bread is egg dipped, served without powdered sugar, and is not as sweet as a traditional Monte Cristo Sandwich. They tend to be heartier than the traditional sandwich and served for lunch and dinner. They are named after Cumberland Head a region of Plattsburgh, NY, where a restaurant serving a particularly good Cumberland Head Style sandwich is found. They are usually served only in upstate New York and are difficult to find outside of the region.
Interesting…I did not know that. I think it’s pretty amazing how even different parts of the same state have different cuisines. Perhaps the Pam of Pam’s Pub is from Plattsburgh.
Thanks for the info!
It is pretty amazing…I’ve seen the style in a few places in southern New York, but rarely. For instance, the idea of Russian dressing with the sandwich in Albany will draw blank stares.
There could be other names for this style, but Cumberland Head Style has been what my family and friends call it. A “real” Monte Cristo is nonexistent in Plattsburgh.
Your comment about the Russian dressing is really interesting, because I have found that Russian on sandwiches doesn’t exist OUTSIDE of Albany. I was recently visiting a Subway in Montpelier, VT and asked for Russian on my sub. They didn’t have it. To each his own! But, like I said, the Monte Cristo with Russian was pretty good!
Kinda like Spiedies in Binghamton, and “Beef on Weck” in Buffalo. True sub-regional delicacies…