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All You Can Eat

Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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July 18, 2008 3:15 PM

Count on it: she wants a Monte Cristo

Posted by Nancy Leson

Kate Malone's got a question:

"Years ago I came to love Monte Cristo sandwiches when they were a lunchtime staple. I am having a difficult time finding them on menus today and am currently in search of the best Monte Cristo sandwich in the Greater Seattle/Bellevue area. Do you or your readers have any recommendations?"

Now, there's an old standby I haven't stood by for a long time. In fact, the last time I ate one was at the Downtown Deli & Cafe in Anchorage some 20-plus years ago, owned by then-mayor and now former governor Tony Knowles. For those of you too young to appreciate the joys of a Monte Cristo (still available at the Downtown Deli if you happen to be making a trip to the Great North anytime soon), allow me to introduce you to what is basically a ham, turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich dipped in batter a la French toast, fried in butter, dusted with confectioner's sugar and served with jam or jelly. Like today's hot-setting sandwiches -- say, the Crispy Drunken Chicken at Baguette Box , or the seared rare ahi tuna sandwich at Matt's in the Market -- the Monte Cristo was considered sandwichified ooh-la-la back in its day.

Trolling the net for some answers, Kate, I came across this helpful thread . Of course, you can always use the classic Monte Cristo recipe and make yourself one at home this weekend.

So, what do you say, Eaters? Had a good Monte Cristo in a local restaurant lately? Kate's counting on you.

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July 18, 2008 11:56 AM

Show me the Beast!

Posted by Nancy Leson

When my 17-year-old niece was a tiny tot, she had a toy that cracked me up -- a talking Beauty and the Beast mirror that said "Show me the Beast!" when you pressed a button. And having made the unforgivable error of missing the Burning Beast event I blogged about last week, I'm beholden to The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement and her video camera-toting cohort Kelly O for chronicling that Carnivale of Carnivorousness . Show me the Beast, indeed:

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July 18, 2008 7:44 AM

Eater Feeder: Restaurants you love

Posted by Nancy Leson

Hey you! You're been writing to me for years, telling me all about your favorite restaurants, your gotta-go-there holes-in-the-wall and those new spots that are so great you can't keep them to yourselves. What did I do with all those letters of recommendation?

Well, during my lengthy tenure as the Seattle Times restaurant critic, I compiled go-to lists that you helped fashion, filed your comments away for future reference and -- not infrequently -- reviewed restaurants at your suggestion. Now, with All You Can Eat, I've found another use for those "love letters": Eater Feeder, a new blog feature where you give a shout-out to restaurants you love. Here's how it works:

Keep those cards and letters coming (for now, via e-mail to, dishing the who, what, where and why. Include your full name and be sure to send me your phone number, too, so we can talk. If you hear from me, I'll share your joy right here on the blog. Got a digital photo of the place? the owners? your favorite dish? I'm happy to share that, too.

So eat up, then fess up: Who da ya love?

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July 2008

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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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