Panera Bread

As I was driving along the 73 freeway on the way to Fashion Island one day, I had done some thinking of where I should go for lunch.  Subway?  No.  Pei Wei Asian Diner?  Not in the mood.  Baja Fresh?  Eh…I’ll save that for another time.  I was approaching the end of the 73 freeway hitting MacArthur Blvd., and I looked to my left, and there was a nice little shopping center called The Bluffs.  They have a nice array of little restaurants such as Baja Fresh, Quizno’s, Islands, etc.  But I wonder what a Carl’s Jr. was doing in there. 

Anyway, I came up to this little “bread” place, called “Panera Bread” that I have never even heard of; a friend of mine actually referred me to this place (not at this location, though), and she told me that it has really great food there.  So, I have decided to try this place out for myself.  I pulled into the Bluffs parking lot (parking can be a pain in the tail sometime, so thank God for “complimentary valet parking”).  I went inside Panera Bread, and there was somewhat of a line almost backing up to the front door.  I thought to myself, “Wow, my friend was right.  They must have really good food/service here.”  No wonder it was rated as “#1 healthiest fast-food from ZAGAT.”

I flipped through Panera’s menu, and some of these sandwiches/paninis, etc. were pretty tempting.  I went for the Cuban Chicken sandwich (hold the cheese), and the clerk asked if I was willing to wait for the sandwich to be “remade” without the cheese.  I politely smiled, and responded with a “yes.”  The sandwich itself can get a bit on the pricey side too, but hey, I was hungry, so I decided to go for the whole sandwich along with a complimentary bag of Panera’s kettle chips and a soda.  Total cost?  $10.06, tax included.  Not too shabby.

As I have said, the place was pretty packed that day, so I had to take some time to find myself a place to sit.  The atmosphere overall was comfortable for me to actually breathe, and the seating area was over par.  Now, onto the sandwich.

Panera Bread will never disappoint you; if you want your sandwich with or without the ingredients you requested, the clerk and sandwich makers are always there to listen.  My Cuban chicken came out just how I liked it.  Not a taste of cold, dry chicken in there.  The sweet bread and butter pickles had a nice crunch to it, and the bread?  Two words:  Toasty hot.  The chipotle mayonnaise had a nice zing to it, but if I want to have a little more pep to my sandwich, I always add some hot and spicy mustard right on top of the chicken.  Mmm-mmm good!

There are now a lot of Panera Breads out there in the continental United States, and if you try the sandwiches there, especially their grilled paninis, I can 100% guarantee that you will not regret the food, the service, as well as the atmosphere.  If you want to find the closest Panera Bread in your area, go to:  http://www.panerabread.com, and enter your zip code on the left side of the homepage.  Happy Eating!

Reference:
1. Panera Bread
2. Panera Bread

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