And just like that, first year is over and I am back here sitting on my very own bed listening to the familiar sounds of home sweet home. College is already 1/4 of the way over and I am in denial. After only one year, I gotta say: Charlottesville, you have won me over. I am a fan of you.
Highlights from this year include:
- obtaining joint ownership of my roommate's pet shrimp (you remember Timmy and Tammy). Almost shed a tear the first time she referred to them as "our" shrimp :')
- traveling to Peru with XA over spring break! "Sign up for Peru!" they announced. "Alpaca my bags," I said.
- getting to know many many fantastic people, including but not limited to my long-lost cousin, a dim sum enthusiast, and Turkish Tara.
- enduring a certain statistics professor who was a behind-the-scenes rock band star. His band's hit single was called "Lactose Intolerance". If that's not musical genius, then I don't know what my tuition is paying for.
- rooming with my best friend!! Future freshmen: do not fear the naysayers. This arrangement most definitely can work out. That being said, it's not for everyone (it'll either be a nightmare or an endless fiesta...just so happened to be the second one for us)
As a memento of this first year in Charlottesville, I present to you my take on the Pigeon Hole's Monte Cristo. The Pigeon Hole is a charming brunch place just a few minutes from Grounds, and I order this every time my friends and I go there. French toast with ham and swiss topped with a killer Creole honey mustard sauce - salty, sweet, spicy, cheesy, I die I die.
I recommend using thick-cut bread or buying a loaf and slicing it yourself to get those really thick slices (I used challah, hollaaa!). I had trouble finding Creole mustard so I substituted spicy brown mustard and it did the trick. This, my friends, is the breakfast of champions. Eat and be merry!
Monte Cristo French Toast
Inspired by the Pigeon Hole
For the french toast:
(Adapted from here)
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 tsp salt
8 slices of thick-cut bread
2 tablespoons butter
8 slices swiss cheese
For the sauce:
1/2 cup light mayo
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Warm honey in microwave for 20 seconds. Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt in a small bowl. Pour into a pie dish or other medium-sized, flat pan. Soak bread slices one or two at a time in the egg mixture for 30 seconds, then flip and soak for another 30 seconds. Remove and place onto a cooling rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch excess liquid.
Melt half a tablespoon of butter on a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Cook the bread one or two slices at a time for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place on a baking sheet in the oven for another 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the slices.
Warm a slice of ham over the stove for 1 minute, placing a slice of swiss cheese on top. Flip and place another slice of cheese on the other side. Heat for 30 seconds and then sandwich it between two pieces of French toast.
Now make the sauce! Stir together the mayo, honey, and spicy brown mustard. Set aside for dipping, or pour it all over your sandwich for maximum flavor.