My daughter and I love to go out to lunch together. When we do, we enjoy nothing more than a good bowl of soup, a yummy salad, and/or a delicious sandwich. Our favorite place to go for this fare is Panera Bread Bakery and Café. Their menu claims that “with the skill of an artisan, the heat of the oven, a few fine ingredients, and no preservatives, our bakers make bread that is simply delicious. . .” That is absolutely no exaggeration.
Panera Café offers a variety of sandwiches and mouth-watering soups that can be purchased individually or in conjunction with a salad or a sandwich.
Their classic sandwiches – – turkey, ham, chicken salad, or tuna salad – – are served on specially chosen breads that will compliment the flavor of the meats involved – – with mayonnaise, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion, salt and pepper, pickle, and chips or a small fruit cup. They also offer avocado, cheese, and/or cucumber as additional ingredients for a minimal cost. These average about $4.99 each.
Their signature sandwiches offer a variety of scrumptious ingredients at moderate prices ranging from $4.99 to $6.29. These include:
Pepperblue Steak on Toasted Ciabatta with seasoned steak filets, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and Panera’s Gorgonzola roasted red pepper sauce.
Garden Veggie on Ciabatta with spicy sweet pepper, cucumber, Gorgonzala cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and creamy cucumber sauce.
Italian Combo on Ciabatta with oven-roasted beef, smoked turkey, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, peperoncini, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and Panera’s special sauce.
They also offer hot panini sandwiches melding flavorful ingredients and fresh hearty bread at $5.99 each. These include:
Frontega Chicken on Rosemary and Onion Focaccia with smoked and pulled white meat chicken, mozzarella, tomato, red onion, chopped basil, and chipotle mayonnaise;Turkey Artichoke on Basil Pesto Focaccia with smoked turkey, spinach artichoke spread, Asiago and Parmesan cheese, tomato, and caramelized onion; Portobello and Mozzarella on Rosemary and Onion Focaccia with garlic roasted portobello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinaigrette with fresh mozzarella, caramelized onion, and fresh chopped basil.
Hot soups change from day to day but feature special concoctions such as:
Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice;
Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean;
Low Fat Chicken Noodle.
They can be served in a typical bowl or in a bread bowl. Prices range from $3.29 to $4.49.
A generous portion of French or Whole Grain baguette bread accompanies Panera’s salads. These range in price from $4.59 to $6.19 or are $6.29 if you choose the “Pick Two” combination, which allows you to choose two items among the soups, salads, or sandwiches. Soup choices include:Asian Sesame Chicken with citrus-herb chicken, romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro, sliced almonds, sesame seeds, crispy wonton strips, and Panera’s reduced-sugar Asian Sesame vinaigrette.
Bistro Steak with seasoned steak filets, mixed field greens, romaine lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and Panera’s balsamic vinaigrette (only 6 net carbs);Fandango with mixed field greens, romaine lettuce, walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, Mandarin oranges, and Panera’s fat-free raspberry dressing (15 net carbs);Both hot and cold beverages are available, including a variety of cappuccino, espresso, and latte flavors, flavored teas (both hot and cold), lemonade, juices, milk, and soft drinks. Prices range from $1.19 to $3.99.
Panera’s bakery features a variety of homemade breads in a multitude of sizes and shapes; one to fit just about any need. Here are a few examples:
Stone-Milled Rye featuring chopped rye kernels and caraway seeds;Multigrain with nine grains, molasses, and sesame;Sesame Semolina, delicate and moist, Topped with sesame seeds; Three Cheese with parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheeses;Focaccia: Italian flatbread with olive oil and Asiago cheese baked in;
Ciabatta: a moist and chewy crumb with a delicate flavor; Low-Carb Breads; Sourdough with no fat, oil, sugar, or cholesterol; Sunflower with honey, lemon peel, and raw sunflower seeds; Tomato Basil with tomatoes, basil, and sweet walnut streusel topping.
Prices of bread are dependent upon the type and size.
The bakery also feature an assortment of bagels which can be purchased individually for $.89 or in assortments ranging from $2.19 to $10.99 (for a baker’s dozen with two tubs of spreads). They also offer wonderful desserts including muffins, strudel, sweet rolls, scones, cookies, and two different types of brownies that will melt in your mouth.
Service at Panera is generally prompt and delivered with a sunny smile. The décor for the indoor café has a comfortable Tuscan feel. It is always clean and comfortable, although a bit crowded due to an effort to fit in as many people as possible. The outdoor seating area is similar to a typical French bistro. It is also usually very clean and attractive.
On top of delicious food, great service, and a delightful atmosphere, Panera is well known for giving back to the communities it serves. Their Operation Dough-Nation matches all cash donations that are made at the bakery. These are then turned over to local hunger relief programs and other charitable organizations. Additionally, all unsold bread is donated at the day’s end to local hunger relief agencies.
For information on the Panera closest to you check www.panerabread.com.