With my busy schedule, fast casual restaurants like Panera Bread serves as a good stop no matter what time of day to grab something delicious and healthy — and QUICKLY! And if you have time to sit and enjoy your food on the premises, they offer free wi-fi, so you’ll see students studying there and often, people conducting a meeting or two over coffee and pastries.
I’m lucky enough to have a couple of them near me, although, this particular one is closest to me, and one which we have frequented often.
For those of you with only a few minutes to spare before rushing off to work, a selection of Baked Goods are available on a daily basis such as Pecan Roll, Strawberry Pastry, Chocolate Brownie or Shortbread Chocolate Chip M+M Cookie to grab and go.
A new item on the menu is the hot Mediterranean Egg White ($4.49) — breakfast sandwich. It resembles a caprese sandwich but in fact, the only thing they share are tomatoes and basil — they are roasted here. The other green is spinach and the white are the egg whites with cheese on ciabatta. The result is a stunningly flavorful and gourmet breakfast sandwich I can enjoy.
If you are stopping by for lunch, there are so many things you can choose from such as Bacon Turkey Bravo ($6.99) served on tomato basil bread with smoked turkey, applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda, lettuce, tomatoes and Panera’s signature spread.
Right now, you can delight in the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad ($9.29) which I love but it is a seasonal item and disappears when strawberry season is over. The salad comprises of romaine, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple pecan, citrus herb chicken served with a poppy seed dressing. It is a great source of antioxidants and each mouthful is sweet, tart, crisp and crunchy.
I love soup and every day there are new ones on the board. Creamy Tomato ($4.19 cup/$4.99 bowl) is one of my favorites. It is thick and topped with toasty croutons, served with baguette and makes for a perfect light lunch, or, as a start to something else.
Other great choices included the Chicken Tortilla, or French Onion.
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, Mac N Cheese ($4.99/$7.99) is always loved by all. Now, I’m very particular about mac and cheeses and the one here was approved by both my son and I. It was creamy enough and seasoned well, although an additional sprinkling of cheese would just kick it up a notch.
I don’t have a photo of their Acai Berry iced tea, but I absolutely LOVE it and could loiter at Panera just to keep re-filling my cup over and over again.
This week, I have a $10 giftcard to Panera to giveaway. Leave me a comment with your FULL name and tell me why Panera would be a great place for you to visit. Entries close on Sunday, May 13th and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 14th. Good Luck!
3988 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606