When: August 6, 2016, 12:50 PM
Shortly after we started this blog, my Disneylander friends started pulling me aside and looking me in the eye with a sober, concerned seriousness. Then they’d ask The Question:
“You’re not going to eat the Monte Cristo, are you?”
To which I would sigh, and say … yes. Yes, of course I am. It’s unique. It’s served by a Disney establishment. It’s in the parks. Ergo: it meets the criteria. It’s on the list.
To tell you the truth, I haven’t been looking forward to it.
The Monte Cristo at the Blue Bayou Restaurant is arguably the most famous Disneyland dish in the world. Virtually every “can’t-miss food at Disneyland!” article or post has it as the #1 item.
I’ve had the Monte Cristo in the past. It may be famous, but it’s not enjoyable. It’s heavy. It’s greasy. It’s basically a deep-fried ham-and-cheese donut. After eating it, it dropped right to the bottom of my stomach and lurked there for the rest of the day.
Today, I tell myself I’m doing it for science.
The Blue Bayou offers a complementary salad or gumbo with an entree. I’ve had the gumbo (it was excellent), but today I notice that for an extra $7 I can upgrade to their Shrimp Boil Cocktail instead. Which, of course, I do. (I love shrimp cocktail, and I’m assuming it might be the bright spot of the meal.)
The Monte Cristo arrives. It’s served on a long, rectangular white plate. The sandwich itself is pre-cut into quarters, each half held together with long skewers. It’s drenched in powdered sugar. In addition to the sandwich, the plate offers three dipping sauces, each in their own dedicated area of the plate: raspberry, blackberry, and vanilla.
I remove a skewer, and take a bite.
The Monte Cristo is fundamentally a ham and cheese sandwich. Both the ham and the cheese are good quality. The sandwich is served warm, which is pleasant. The deep-fried bread “shell” is surprisingly crisp (on the outside) and moist (on the inside). Together, the flavors and textures work well. The net result is a very rich, unique sandwich experience.
Heads-up: this is crazy-rich. I had just one quarter of the sandwich, and found it filling. Nina and Elaine each split a quarter, which meant the three of us were staring at the remaining half sandwich for the rest of the meal. This is a super-splittable dish. Two, maybe three people, could share it. Easy.
The dipping sauces are unnecessary. The raspberry and blackberry sauces are super sugary (they taste like Smuckers jam); the vanilla is bland and unremarkable. For all that, the idea that you’d dip a crazy-rich sandwich into vats of sugary liquid defies common sense. I just don’t get it.
I recommend the Monte Cristo. It’s unique, ambitious, and totally worth having. Don’t try it alone, but definitely give it a try.
Oh, and the shrimp cocktail? My hoped-for bright spot? Not great. $7 gets you one piece of jumbo shrimp and a handful of smaller shrimp pieces. The whole thing is covered in cocktail sauce, and comes with a lemon for spritzing. The shrimp is OK, but bland; the cocktail sauce is underpowered, and tastes like ketchup. Save your $7 and get the gumbo.