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IN THE MOOD

Croque- Monsieur

June 06, 2002|Jessica Strand

* This is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a French twist: crisp, gooey and delightful.

French Country Cafe: You'll find a lot of luscious melted Swiss cheese on this sandwich. The combination of ham and Swiss between thick slices of white bread is baked till it's nice and crunchy and then baked again with cheese on top. For the final touch, they put more cheese on top and stick it back in the oven for the cheese to ooze and bubble. The sandwich comes with baby greens in balsamic vinaigrette. (Croque-monsieur, $9.95.) French Country Cafe, 231 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 273-4332.

Provence Boulangerie: This one is ham, Swiss cheese and sliced tomatoes baked open-faced on a baguette spread with olive oil and spices. It comes with tossed greens. (Croque-monsieur, $4.95.) Provence Boulangerie, 191 Park Ave., Long Beach, (562) 433-8281.

La Frite: Swiss and ham go between slices of French bread, buttered on the outside so they will crisp. Then the whole thing is put on the grill until it's melted on the inside and light golden brown outside. Accompanying your sandwich is a glorious pile of crisp skinny frites. (Croque-monsieur, $10.) La Frite, 15013 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 990-1791; 22616 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 225-1331.

Lilly's: At this French cafe, you get a thin, crisp croque-monsieur richly topped with bechamel sauce. On the side are a fresh green salad and thin, dainty French fries. (Croque-monsieur, $10.) Lilly's, 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 314-0004.

Campanile: Two slices of whole-wheat bread, buttered on the outside, are filled with Gruyere and Black Forest ham and grilled until the bread browns. Then it's topped with Mornay sauce (a white sauce flavored with Parmesan and Gruyere) and put under the broiler. The sandwich is garnished with chives and served with arugula and skinny fries. (Croque-monsieur, Thursday nights only, $15.) Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 938-1447.

Buddha Garden: You can listen to a babbling fountain while you eat a thick, gooey sandwich at this quiet little cafe. This version is made with dense whole-wheat bread and layers of ham and Swiss cheese, baked and served with a mixed green salad. (Croque-monsieur, $7.50.) Buddha Garden, 7373 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 931-4551.

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