Oh Panera, How I Love Thee … Let Me Count the Ways

untitledMy favorite summer salad is back at Panera, and I want the world to know it!!!

For anyone who doesn’t know which salad has won my heart time and time again, it’s the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with chicken.

Can we say, SWOON!?

For the past five years now (has it been five?) it’s been my go-to summer staple. I LOVE this combo of fruit, nuts, meat. It’s sweet and salty, and oh-so-delish. I know I could recreate it at home, but it’s just not the same.

I hate the fact that it’s not available year-round, and so I literally await the arrival of this salad each summer. I guess there’s something to be said for waiting for good things … I’m just an impatient gal!

So when my friend (also a huge fan!) posted on Facebook that it was back, we had to go. (We went last week at lunch).

I have always loved Panera, and have somehow been lucky enough to have them close by. When I lived in Silver Spring, Md., there was one within walking distance, and I can’t tell you how often my friends and I would eat there.

Now, there’s one within walking (or biking) distance of my house here in Michigan. And I love it. Fortunately, my hubby loves Panera, too.

I admit, when I began WW, it was a “safe” place for me to go, because I knew the Points values of my favorite things there: whole grain baguette, chicken noodle soup, aforementioned salad, classic cafe with chicken (but with their Asian dressing if the FF raspberry dressing was unavailable).

But now, in addition to that, I love Panera for its consistency. It’s the one “fast-food” place I don’t mind going to because I know I’ll leave having eaten a balanced meal, happily full for under $10. In this economy, that’s a big plus.

And finally, Panera has never really let me down, no matter where in the country I’ve been!

Plain and simple, Panera — and in particular, this salad — rocks my world. If I had an unlimited dining budget, I’d eat this salad every day and not be bored. Really!

How about you? Do you have a favorite at Panera? Is there a seasonal dish you love at another restaurant?


8 thoughts on “Oh Panera, How I Love Thee … Let Me Count the Ways

  1. I remember this salad! I am also partial to their apple salad…I forget what it’s called. Something with fuji apples and chicken. Same idea with the fruit/meat/nuts. Love it!

  2. Ahhh – that sounds amazing! I will have to try that. Unfortunately I don’t make salads at home…I just never feel like they taste good. So I love getting them when I go out to eat – it’s such a treat! This is on my list of things to try.

    I LOVE Panera’s soups, especially Black Bean. And I recently had a panini (I can’t remember what kind, but it was SO tasty) there, too.

  3. The tomato mozzerella panini with the garden vegetable soup is one of my absolutely favorite meals right now. Like you, if i had an unlimited budget, i’d eat it every day!

  4. Panera is great for vegetarians too. I really like the Mediterranean veggie sandwich, and the coffee is really good too.

  5. YUM, CS!! And that is a great point, Jill — my veggie friends can always find choices there!! And their hazelnut coffee — perfection!

  6. AMEN! 🙂

    I love their Black Bean soup as well as the Chicken Noodle and Garden Vegetable but really nothing beats that salad. I would go there every.single.day if I could!

  7. Really, Stac!? 🙂 I kid, I kid. I’m up for going another day this week, you just let me know 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s