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panera bread Archive

Tuesday

5

May 2015

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COMMENTS

Panera Bread (Capital Boulevard)

Written by , Posted in Deli

Located at 6123 Capital Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27616, Panera Bread is one of the most popular go-to spots for breakfast and lunch. This particular PB location is especially popular given its proximity to I-540, the Triangle Town Center Mall, and the fact that it is right off of Capital Boulevard. It’s easy to get to; and recently, they added a drive-thru window.

In the mornings and during peak lunch hours, expect a crowd, expect noise, and expect that drive-thru window to be backed up. After 2 p.m., you’ve got the whole place to yourself (for the most part).

Atmosphere

The atmosphere can be described as laid back and casual. On any given day, or at any given time, you can expect to see everything from families with small children to stuffy suits, to business meetings, to long-time friends grabbing a bite to eat. This location sees a lot of foot traffic, so as a result- things are slightly worn down on the inside. However, the restaurant still maintains a relatively clean interior and presentation.

In front of the restaurant, there are a few tables with chairs set up under a short awning. If it’s raining, you may want to move things inside as you’ll still stand a chance of getting wet. Also, because this PB location is right off of Capital Boulevard near the intersection of I-540, you’ll have to contend with the noise from the traffic. The parking lot also shares space with other retailers, so there is always a constant flow of cars going in and out. In other words, don’t expect a completely serene, relaxing atmosphere.

Chipotle Chicken Panini

chipotle chicken panini

Cost: $7.69

This lunch dish consists of chicken raised without antibiotics, applewood-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, vine-ripened tomatoes and ancho-chipotle spread all grilled on our freshly baked French Bread. It’s available in whole and half sizes.

The chipotle chicken sandwich is my favorite. The chicken is great and juicy,  and the chipotle sauce is what makes the sandwich. The cheese is SO good and complimentary!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup + 1/2 Greek Salad + Apple (You Pick 2)

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cost: $4.69 + $3.59 (salad)

The Broccoli Cheddar Soup consists of chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce. It’s available in a cup, or you can opt for a bread bowl (pictured above).

As for the salad – the Greek Salad contains romaine lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, feta cheese, peperoncini, red onions, kalamata olives and pepper tossed in our Greek dressing. It’s a great option for the “Pick 2” side.

I love the salads at Panera. It was a good, standard greek salad. The vinaigrette was well seasoned, and all of the vegetables seemed fresh. Because I ordered my soup to go, the bread bowl was served separate from the soup to prevent it from getting soggy- which I appreciated. The soup was not too thin; it was a good, hardy texture. The bread was fresh.

Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT + 1/2 House Salad + Chips + Hot Tea (You Pick 2)

Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT

Cost: $4.99 + $3.59 (salad) + $1.69 (tea)

Panera’s Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT sandwich is made up of roasted turkey (raised without antibiotics), applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh avocado with reduced-fat olive oil mayo on our freshly baked Sourdough Bread.

This is one of my favorite sandwiches at Panera. It’s also one of the healthiest options on their menu. The bread was a great texture- not stale, and not soggy. I liked that they listened to me when I said ‘No mayo’. Sometimes when it’s really busy at a restaurant, details get lost in the mix, so I really appreciated the attention to detail. The salad was just ok. It didn’t look or taste as fresh as salads that I’ve had from Panera in the past. Again – not a huge deal. Overall, the half sandwich combo was the perfect portion size for me.

Pastries & Sweets

Panera Bread Dessert

Cherry Danish (not pictured)

Cost: $2.59

If there is one thing that Panera Bread is known for – it’s the selection and quality of pastries that they offer. The Cherry Danish is a freshly baked pastry made with Panera’s ‘special’ recipe pastry cream, topped with whole cherry filling and white icing.

The cherry danish was fantastic. It was perfectly made, and it had perfect proportions of sweet cheese, cherry topping, and sugar topping. It was baked perfectly.

Carrot Cupcake

Cost:  $2.59
The carrot cake was well-spiced, and moist. The filling was amazing. It had cream cheese, but not too much sugar. The icing was good, but the cupcake had probably been sitting out a while, because the icing was a bit hard on the outside.

Orange Scone

Cost: $0.99

Panera’s freshly baked scones are made with flour, butter, brown sugar and orange peel and topped with orange icing.

I LOVE Panera’s orange scones. It’s best when you get there first thing in the morning when they’re fresh baked and still warm. However, the flavor was still great.

Total (for 3 adults): $34.92*
*does not include tip

Tuesday

19

April 2011

0

COMMENTS

Panera Bread at Triangle Town Center

Written by , Posted in $$ - Bring your debit card

Looking for something different for lunch the other day, we decided to stop in at Panera Bread near Triangle Town Center. It’s across Capital Boulevard from Triangle mall, in the same plaza as Total Wine and Best Buy. It is easy to get in to this location, but sometimes parking can be a beast especially during a busy lunch hour. Based on our experience, it seems better to arrive a little early for lunch or much later to beat the crowds. A word of warning: this is a pretty busy area and it can be difficult to get out of this shopping center when utilizing the light to get back on to Old Wake Forest Road. It is easier most times to get directly onto southbound Capital Boulevard and make a u-turn if you need to go northbound.

This location has an outdoor patio that is fairly nice, and the inside of the restaurant is also nice with plenty of seating unless you arrive smack in the middle of lunch! There’s a fairly steady flow of movement in the restaurant, so there is usually a place to sit by the time you get your food, if not then it’s only a short wait on a busy day.

The menu is posted above the registers and it is a little hard to take in since there are so many choices to pick from; grabbing a paper menu near the front door seems to be an easier way to pick what you want while you are waiting in line. Orders are placed fairly quickly so be ready to go to the next available register so they don’t have to wave you over.

We decided to get panini sandwiches (flattened and grilled bread): I got the smokehouse turkey hot panini sandwich, and my friend got the chipotle chicken hot panini sandwich. I ordered chips for my side and he had an apple. We both had fountain drinks.

The sandwiches made it out pretty quickly considering Panera was pretty busy. My smokehouse turkey was nice and hot, but the chipotle chicken was lukewarm and the bread not grilled very much at all. We didn’t feel like taking the sandwich back and so decided to go ahead and eat.

My smokehouse turkey panini was pretty good: apparently it was on three-cheese bread (it tasted like regular to me) with smoked turkey, applewood-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese and “sun-dried tomato ale mustard.”  I love sundried tomatoes so this sandwich sounded perfect for me. Unfortunately, the flavor was nothing to write home about. It tasted like smoked turkey, cheese and mustard on bread. I was hoping the sandwich would have a more unique flavor to it but it really didn’t.

The chipotle chicken was on toasted french bread – although we’d use the term “toasted” lightly here! Literally! The cubed chicken was paired with applewood-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, tomatoes and ancho chipotle spread. As mentioned, the chicken wasn’t that warm so our cheese wasn’t very melted or gooey, and the tomato slice was a little under-ripe so we took it off the sandwich. The flavor of the ancho chipotle spread was pretty good, however, and gave a nice flavor to the sandwich.

In all, these weren’t sandwiches that earned their $7.19 price tag. Our lunch definitely wasn’t worth the $20 we forked out for mediocre sandwiches. We did, however, add on a $3.00 pastry for .99 because we bought lunch. It was a cheese danish and it was delicious: it reminded me of a cheese danish I used to buy when I lived in Germany a long time ago!

We’ll probably give this Panera another shot, but considering the prices, the potential for a long wait, and the difficulty to get in and out of the parking lot, it won’t be our first choice any time soon.