The husband took me to Panera Bread tonight. We’d never been but had heard amazing tales about how good their food is.
There were a buttload of cars in the lot. With a Starbucks and a Moe’s in the same building, this place was a serious after school special. There were name brand kids everywhere. And a handful of kids who were trying to be name brand, but weren’t quite pulling it off.
I was accosted by pastries as soon as I stepped foot in Panera’s door. It was delightful but I didn’t order any of that stuff. I wanted meat.
After much deliberation (my husband just loves it when I take forever to order something) I chose the chipotle chicken sandwich and a sweet tea. The order came with a bag of Panera potato chips, fried in 100% sunflower oil and zero extra bad-for-you stuff. It’s the truth. Said so right on the bag.
Umm… Not in those exact words, though.
And there was a pickle wedge.
Here are some thoughts.
The sandwich I ordered cost $7.09. It was good, but more like $3.92 good. Not $7 good. The bread was definitely fresh. But I make our bread from scratch, even grinding my own wheat. And while I’m still learning and my personal varieties are limited, it’s still super fresh around here so I guess that lowers the wow factor of Panera’s fresh bread.
Plus, I think they forgot the chipotle part of it. It just tasted like grilled chicken with cheese melted onto it.
Good, but nothing that’ll make you wanna slap yo’ mama.
The Panera chips, a severe disappointment, were marginal at best. Kinda tasted stale. I guess they are supposed to be that way cause they’re kettle cooked but I’ve tasted kettle cooked chips before that didn’t taste stale. I didn’t eat but a few before I handed the bag over to Mikey. I mean Ryan. Who will eat anything.
On a side note, why were the kids so amazed that Mikey, who’ll eat anything, liked Life cereal? I’ve always wondered about that.
The sweet tea was really only tea flavored water with just a hint of sweetness.
Listen up Panera Employee Worker People! We’re in the south. Go ahead and dump that sugar on in there. Don’t be scared. Sweet tea is supposed to be sweet.
I cannot stress this point enough.
I discovered that what you’re actually paying for at Panera Bread is atmosphere.
And cute little sandwich trays. But you don’t get to keep those.
Everybody was using their little laptops and I felt a little out of place without my netbook. And the Apple Dumpling Gang was definitely making a presence. I would have given the place the calm, peaceful atmosphere award had it not been for that one guy in the corner with his music turned up a bit too loud. He had big hair and was using an Apple. I guess rude is okay as long as you’re doing it in style???
Personally, I just didn’t find the place to be all it’s cracked up to be.
Yeah, it was clean, and there are a lot of places to plug a laptop in, and my sandwich wasn’t horrible.
But $22 for two sandwiches, two chips, a tea and a limeade that doesn’t hold a candle to Sonic’s same-named drink…
I think next time we’ll go to Waffle house. You definitely aren’t paying for atmosphere there, even though every employee is super happy to see you.
Plus, as a bonus, their food is never stale and you get a whole lot more than just a little sandwich for your 7 bucks.
Scattered, covered, smothered, chunked, and diced…
Now, that’s some slap-yo’-mama good food right there.