Before I get into this post, I’d like to thank everyone who reads us, for helping EatMeCalifornia get its first 10,000 visitors. Mikey and I are thankful for your support. Now, on to the review…
I spent my Sunday at Disneyland, also known as the happiest place on earth. It was an awesome day and I hadn’t been to the magic kingdom in the better part of a decade. Unfortunately, this trip wasn’t for pleasure. It was all about business. The business of sandwiches.
One of our great readers, Andy, read our review of Jack’s Deli in Westlake and recommended that I try the monte cristo sandwich at Disney’s Blue Bayou restaurant for a direct comparison. And that, my friends, is exactly what I did.
The Blue Bayou Restaurant – Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, Anaheim, CA
The Blue Bayou is the closest thing to fine dining that you’re going to get at Disneyland. It’s the restaurant that you see when you get in and out of the boats on Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s cool and dark and has an air of exclusivity. Accordingly, if you want to eat here, you should probably make a reservation. My friend called about a week in advance and got us a 12:40pm lunch reservation. If you want to try the famous Blue Bayou monte cristo, be aware that it is only available on the lunch menu.
We showed up at the restaurant about 10 minutes ahead of our reservation and were sat right on time. While we were waiting, we heard the hosts turn away several people who were looking to make reservations. I would say I felt bad for them, but that would be lying. I simply felt grateful that we had thought ahead.
The ambiance of the restaurant is not as great as I thought it would be. But still, it’s way better than the rest of Disneyland, where you have to stakeout a table for 20 minutes just to be able to sit and eat. The location is cool, because it’s eternally night in the restaurant due to it’s proximity to Pirates. Eating your meal under the lamplight adds an element of relaxation that is a stark contrast to the stroller wielding uber-moms who dominate the rest of the park. Because of the low light conditions, it was difficult to get good pictures. I tried anyway.
Most of the meals on the menu are around $30 per plate. The monte cristo came in at a svelte $21.99, so it was lighter on the wallet than my stomach. For those of you who don’t know what a monte cristo is, it is a turkey, ham and swiss sandwich that is batter dipped, fried, dusted in powdered sugar and served with a side of raspberry jam. If that description doesn’t do it for ya, keep reading. I’ve included a picture.
The meal started off with a choice of soup or salad. I’ve never been a big salad guy, so I opted for the soup, a gumbo. The gumbo was a rice topped, creamy stew/soup. I couldn’t really distinguish the ingredients because it was pretty bland overall. The rice added a nice texture change, but overall the dish needed more seasoning. The other cause for concern was the fact that the meat in the gumbo (chicken, perhaps?) was in the form of little cubes that reminded me of diced spam. This is not the quality that I was expecting from a meal of this caliber.
But I wasn’t there for the gumbo. I came to get the “best monte cristo in Orange county” according to Andy. Lucky for him, I was not disappointed.
Let me start off by saying one thing about the main course. You only have room for the sandwich. Don’t even try to do anything other than sample the sides, or you’ll regret it. If you end up leaving any on the plate when you leave, it will haunt you for the rest of your day.
This monte cristo is the stuff of dreams. It is far more dessert than lunch. As you can see from this photo, they go pretty light on the turkey, ham and cheese. Normally i’d be upset with this, but it seems that this allows them to get the perfect breading on the outside. This version of the sandwich tastes as though you’re eating a funnel cake that has eaten another sandwich.
The outside even has little clumps of fried bread that are like little beignet barnacles. They use just the right amount of powdered sugar and their raspberry jam is the perfect state between liquid and solid. I ate every bite of this sandwich, knowing full well that I would be sick to my stomach after the fact. If you’re careful, you may be able to avoid my fate. But even if you can’t, trust me when I say it will be worth the pain.
About the sides, I’d skip the asparagus and broccoli, which were a curious combination of over and undercooked at the same time. They weren’t nearly hot enough and they were mushy and hard to bite through at the same time. I thought the potato was interesting. It was thin and scalloped and had a strong flavor of onion. It was good, but it was nothing when compared to a single bite of the monte cristo. I swear I had dreams about this thing last night.
So thank you, Andy. EatMeCalifornia salutes you for a job well done. We now have a new Monte Cristo champion. But, if anyone else knows any other heavyweights that can unseat the king, let us know. We’ve got the appetite to go the full 12 rounds.