This isn’t a review of a restaurant. It’s more of a public service announcement for all the restaurants out there that serve monte cristos. My dad always used to tell me, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” Actually, I think I got that from a movie. My dad was too busy yelling “Do you think I just fell off the back of a turnip truck?” at me. I still don’t know what that means, but now, thanks to the generous contributions of readers like you, I know what a turnip is. So regardless of where I got that first quote, here’s my point: If you can’t make a dish right, take it off your menu.
Nico’s Cafe – Kanan and Lindero Cyn in Oak Park (next to Starbucks)
First of all, let’s lay down some ground rules on what makes for a good monte cristo.
- It’s fried and crispy on the outside.
- It doesn’t fall apart while you’re eating it.
- The jam is spreadable.
I could make more rules, but these three are the basics. For those of you who need a refresher on what the monte cristo is, see our posts on Jack’s Deli and The Blue Bayou. That will give you a good idea of what the sandwich is all about and if I’ve done a good job, you’ll probably want to eat one after reading.
My friend Melissa and I found out that Nico’s had a monte cristo on the menu and got all excited about going to try it. Unfortunately, it was not a real monte cristo that we were served. Yes, all the ingredients were there. But this impostor gave all other monte cristos a bad name. Continue reading
I don’t know why, but Mikey seems to have unfairly usurped my title of “man of the people.” Maybe it’s because I use words like usurp when I write. Who knows? In an effort to get my title back, I’ve decided to bring you a post on the only “dive bar” in Thousand Oaks: PJ’s Pub.
PJ’s Pub – At Moorpark Rd and Avenida de los Arboles in the Trader Joe’s shopping center, Thousand Oaks.
Say what you want about PJ’s. No, really, say what you want about the place, they don’t give a damn. This is a bar that makes no apologies for what they are: a place to play some pool, get drunk and eat greasy bar food. In my opinion that’s what makes them unique to Thousand Oaks. PJ’s is a little bit of Bakersfield, thrown down in the middle of the Conejo Valley. Continue reading
Jack’s Deli in Westlake has been around for quite a while, but I’d never been there. I’d only heard the mixed review from friends and acquaintances. At least until last week, when I had two reliable sources tell me that Jack’s has two things that I love, good breakfast and a nice Monte Cristo.
For those of you who don’t know, the Monte Cristo is the king of sandwiches. You might have thought pastrami would have the crown, or perhaps the philly cheesesteak, or anything not from subway. But you’d be wrong. The Monte Cristo is a triple-decker ham, turkey and swiss sandwich, which is dipped in egg batter, fried a golden brown that would make Scrooge McDuck blush, lovingly dusted in powdered sugar and served with a side of raspberry jam. In essence, it is breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert all rolled into one.
Worth the heart attack? Um, Hell Yes!