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The occasion of chowhound visitors to Salinas finally got me in the door at the Steinbeck House. Though volunteers have operated a restaurant and tea room in the home of John Steinbeck's birth for four decades, I never made it in.
The beautifully restored Queen Anne style Victorian is available for tours. Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday, dinner on the first Friday of the month, and occasional Saturday tea service.
The lunch menu changes weekly, featuring an entree plate, various salads, and a selection of sandwiches and soup, as well as dessert. I was delighted to see Monte Cristo on the sandwich menu. The Monte Cristo seems to have disappeared from lunch offerings and in those rare occasions when it is served, the rendition will be nothing like the original. Fortunately, this was as close to the style that I remember from days gone by. Layered slices of ham, turkey and Swiss cheese between soft white bread, battered with beaten egg, pan-fried and then dusted with powder sugar and served with strawberry jam. Essentially double-decker French toast with a savory filling and a lovely trip down memory lane for me.
We had the prime table in the smaller alcove next to the window overlooking the street.
The volunteer that took care of our table was welcoming and so eager to please. I'll have to come back for afternoon tea some time.
Steinbeck House restaurant
132 Central Avenue
Salinas, CA 93901
Origin of the Monte Cristo:
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