Lunch @ Panera Bread

15 Oct

I am sandwich lover… I could live off sandwiches my whole life. That should be no secret to you guys…

My sister is always raving about . Florida is full of them. She’s always bragging about how good the bread is, how delicious the sandwiches are. But I am a picky person… picky in the sense that if I do not see exactly what I like or crave that moment on the menu, I think places should make an effort to please me as best they can.

I have become a master of navigating thru a restaurant’s menu and identifying what is it exactly that I can and want to eat. And my former experiences with Panera Bread were not positive. I can’t pin point now what it was… but I remember looking at the menu over and over and over again trying to figure out how to build a sandwich that would hit the spot. Because of that impression, I would drive past Panera Bread places without thinking too much into them.

But recently I was driving from Orlando to Miami and we needed to eat something before we left on our 4 hour drive south. I tried several places I was more interested in eating but fate would have it that the best place suitable was Panera Bread, so we decided to give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised to find on their menus these Sandwich and Salad combos. They also have soups, but I never trust soups at restaurants, even if they say they’re vegetarian. Besides, it was hot outside and my stomach preferred the cold bit of a salad to the warmth of a soup. Besides I always feel I am not being that naughty when I eat lots of bread and cheese if somehow it’s paired with a large and abundant salad.

I was pleasantly surprised to see they had 2 vegetarian sandwich options on their menu… This is what we ordered:

 Caprese Panini with Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil pressed in a baguette with a Greek Salad

Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread with a Garden Salad

The salads were extremely generous and the ½ sandwiches were just enough to fill us up. The lunches tasted fresh and hearty at the same time. I liked it so much to the point of starting to crave the same thing the next day and the next day. That to me is the sign of a good meal… when you are willing to have the same thing every day for a few days straight.

So to my vegetarian friends… if you’re ever in a pinch to select something for lunch, give Panera Bread a try. I may not have been blown away the first time I tried them, but it paid off to give them another try. People and places always deserve second chances… no??

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17 Responses to “Lunch @ Panera Bread”

  1. Jocelyn Delk Adams October 15, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I’m a big fan of Panera. I love that you showed the vegetarian options available.

  2. justivaluc October 15, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I like Panera and the portions are generous, the bread is good too.

  3. Yadira Ambert (@ClubdeDiosas) October 15, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Mi esposo es AMANTE de Panera Bread. Vamos todas las semanas (deberiamos comprar acciones). Y estoy bien familiarizada con el menu. Tienes muy buenos sandwiches pero me gustan mucho sus sopas. Mi niño le encanta la sopa de wild rice de ellos. Es su favorita.

  4. Cristina October 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Tengo uno muy cerquita de mi casa y los desayunos son lo que mas me gusta.
    Una muy buena opcion para comer bien!

  5. Cool Chill mom October 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Totally!
    Glad you enjoyed a second chance!

  6. Glory (Riquísimo PR) October 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Me encanta Panera Bread! Me gustaría q lo trajeran a Puerto Rico!

  7. Natalia October 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Totalmente de acuerdo. Recuerdo visitar restaurantes que no me gustaron y luego de un tiempo, la impresión cambia, ya sea porque estemos de otro sentido del humor, la gerencia sea diferente, etc. Me encanta tu elección en el menú y la tomaré en cuenta en mi próxima visita a Panera.

  8. Sadie October 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I am not the biggest fan. As a veggie I find most veggie sandwiches to just be a sad version of a salad on some bread. The garden sandwich (at least here in MI) is just the same veggies as the salad, on bread, and then you get the salad on the side. It’s ridiculous, I’d rather just get a bigger salad and have some toast on the side.

    The mozzarella panini is better, but they need more options. And at a fair price since we aren’t eating meat, the pricier ingredient.
    I have found that if you ask, you can get darn near anything on a panini or sandwich, as long as it is part of their normal ingredient list. I like getting some of the black bean and corn relish (they put that on a salad) with melty cheese and avocado on a panini, or just lots of tomato with cheese. I also like asking for apple slices with cheese when they have the apple/bacon/cheese panini and salads on special here. Cranberry too.

    Still, the veg options tend to be sad, though Panera is better than other sandwich shops (here at least) in general. Worst is Jimmy John’s. Who pays the same price for a meat sub and only gets iceberg lettuce, tomato and an anemic slice of processed cheese on wet bread? Ew.

    Glad your experience was better in FL. Sure not the case in MI most of the time, and I live in a progressive and college/veg town where other places know better and cater to us with great options.
    I do like most of the bread though.

  9. Parques de Orlando (@ParquesOrlando) October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m another big fan of Panera. Love the salad & sandwich combo, healthy and no expensive.

  10. Melissa B. { hungryfoodlove } October 16, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Last time I was at Panera they forgot to include the blue cheese crumbles in my cheese. But I have had so many good experiences there I wont stop going because of that ..yes they do deserve another chance :)

  11. Ely Aguilera October 16, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    It looks really good, and its good that they have vegetarian options.

  12. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ October 16, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Don’t mind Panera at all. They’ve mostly satisfied me. I love a turkey sandwich with aguacate on it, but not too keen on paying an extra $2 for a few slices!

  13. sisyhm October 16, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I love Panera! It’s the best place to spend time with friends and to have great choices to eat. I usually get a delicious coffee and a sandwich but I definitely have to try their soup and salad :)

  14. La Cocina de Sandra October 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Estoy deseosa de comer en la panera , siempre que voy a Orlando lo he visto pero no he tenido oportunidad de entrar.En mi lista de pendientes

  15. DIY...Beauty Tips October 17, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    this looks so delicious! love thw way the present the plates!

  16. Meryland - Otros20pesos.com October 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I love Panera!!!

  17. Stephanie November 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    This is something really cool!

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