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  • Welcome! My name is Kelly, and I am a picky eater. On this blog I share recipes, new (to me) foods, restaurants, and products that I try in an effort to expand my tastes. You might also find me talking about my pug Olive, Miss Kitty, Project Life, my journey with running, and more! Feel free to contact me: [email protected]

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Restaurant Review: Panera Bread

Full Disclosure:  I received this meal for free, and am being compensated for this blog post through the DailyBuzz Food Tastemakers program.  As always, all of the opinions are completely my own. 

Often on this little blog you’ve seen me write about my love for local restaurants and the great local foods Madison has to offer.  I do love Madison for its great local food scene, but I can’t say that I eat at local restaurants 100% of the time, it just isn’t always possible. Sometimes it is a time issue, sometimes a money issue, sometimes a convenience issue that I choose to eat at a chain or franchised restaurant.  I’m not ashamed that I eat at some chains.  When I am out of town, finding a place that I know I will like can often be stressful, so knowing some options that will be in other cities is quite helpful!  The usual baristas at Starbucks know my name and my order, and that brightens my day. I’ve also already declared my love for Noodles and Company a couple of times (which is also not local), and now I have one more to add to that list:  Panera Bread.  Well really it was added to my mental list a while ago, but now I’m officially blogging about it.

When I was approached about doing a review of the soups at Panera by the DailyBuzz Food Tastemakers program, it really was a no-brainer decision.  I go to Panera pretty regularly, so really, it is about time I give it a written review! When I stop there to pick up a quick lunch I often just get a bagel (their cinnamon crunch bagel is delicious!) but when I have more time to sit down and eat a meal, I get the “You Pick 2” combination.  With this combo you can choose different combinations of soup, sandwich, and salad.  A great size meal at a reasonable price that can be easily customized.

Last week I had some time to stop in for a late lunch (er, early dinner? Linner?) and get a “You Pick 2” combo.  I normally choose the chicken noodle soup and a ham sandwich when I get the combo, but I saw a poster for the creamy tomato soup paired with a grilled cheese that looked delicious so I chose that instead. (the Big Kid Grilled Cheese normally comes with bacon but I got it without)

You Pick 2

 One of the things that I really like about Panera is that even thought they are “fast food,” everything is good quality and there are many healthy options to choose from.  This comes in handy while traveling since it is often hard to find quick meal choices that aren’t filled with grease and other not-so-good-for-you things.

Pick Two Cheese

This pick two combo was pretty good!  The sandwich was delicious, and definitely fancier than the average grilled cheese. It had multiple cheeses in it – Gruyere, Vermont White Cheddar, organic sliced American cheese – and was on delicious fresh bread.  The soup was good too, but it was a bit chunky for tomato soup for my taste.  (Yes, I realize that most people would probably appreciate the chunks of real tomato in the soup instead of something seems like it may just be out of a can.)  The flavor of the soup was great though!

Pick Two Cheese

If I would’ve been hungrier, I would’ve gotten the tomato soup in a bread bowl.  Yes, the combo does come with one piece of sourdough bread automatically, but the bread bowl with the soft inside and the crispy outside is great for dipping in the soup!

Oh, and another reason why I love Panera? They have free wireless internet.  We used to live within walking distance of one while I was in college and I spent many hours there doing work. The only downside of going there to spend hours studying is that they close fairly early (Most of ours close at 8pm) so you can’t be there too late.

Bottom line: Panera is a solid choice and they really have something for everyone.  It is easy to customize for your particular tastes, and the options are generally healthy!

Taste: A, even though I didn’t love this particular meal, it was good and I have had many other things there that I do love.  Like Cinnamon Crunch bagels for one example.  So good.
Cost: A, for the quality and quickness of food, I think it is really reasonable. The “You Pick Two” meal that I had was around $7.00.

Would I go there again?  Absolutely.  Actually, when we were in Chicago just last weekend, we went to a Panera for breakfast one day.

Panera Bread on Urbanspoon

One Response

  1. looove Panera. and I pretty much always get the pick 2 option. I cant fully commit to just a sandwich or just a soup or just a salad. 🙂

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