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PostHeaderIcon Panera Bread and So Much More

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Panera Bread bakery cafe is so much more than just hand-crafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread. It's also an excellent place to get a quick and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner for a reasonable price. Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,362 bakery-cafes under the names Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co., and the Paradise Bakery & Café and there are four Panera Bread bakery cafes right here in the East Bay.

I like to visit the Dublin location, nestled among shops off Dublin Boulevard at 7030 Amador Plaza Road. As you make your way to the entrance, you are greeted by outdoor fountains, umbrella-covered tables and an inviting patio seating area. There’s also Panera Bread bakery cafes in Alameda, Concord and Hayward.

The no-fuss, no- frills, yet comfortable interior welcomes you to the front counter, where you place your order. Many healthy choices, vegetarian options and kid-friendly meals are available. Once your order is placed, take a seat and within just a few minutes your meal will arrive from a friendly and efficient server.

One of my favorite entrees is the Asian Sesame Chicken salad with all natural antibiotic-free chicken, romaine lettuce, cilantro, almonds, sesame seeds, won ton chips and a reduced-sugar Asian sesame dressing. It’s filling, low in calories and comes with either a roll, a crisp red apple or baked potato chips.

Another great salad is the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, also with natural antibiotic-free chicken and romaine lettuce, but also heaping with asiago-parmesan cheese, ceasar dressing and freshly-baked asiago croutons. I had to take half of it home but it was just as good the next day.

Salmon-lovers can relish three new options: the Mediterranean Salmon Salad, Salmon Caesar Sallad and Salmon Club Croissant. The Mediterranean Salmon Salad combines a chilled Atlantic salmon filet, baby kalamata olives, Feta cheese, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and red onions on a bed of romaine lettuce, all tossed with honey tangerine vinaigrette. Made with honey, vinegar, tangerines and oranges, the dressing brings a citrus flavor to the salad that pairs well with the flavors of the tender salmon.

Don’t want to stick to just one thing for lunch? Try one of the "you pick two" combos. Choose from a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches. For those looking to manage their diets, Panera has added a new low-fat garden vegetable soup that combines diced tomatoes, sliced zucchini, yellow beans, Swiss chard, cauliflower, bell peppers and pearled barley in a steamy tomato broth. Once the soup is poured, a nut-free basil pesto is swirled in to complete the flavor.

Another highlight on the menu is turkey, artichoke, spinach, cheese, tomatoes and carmalized onions on grilled focaccia Bread sandwich. There's also a good variety of hot paninis.

For dessert, try a sticky bun, bear claw or your favorite bagel and decadent topping. Panera is also known as a place to start your morning. They are well-known for their baked egg soufflés and breakfast sandwiches for commuters. My pick of the morning menu is the Asiago Bagel Breakfast Sandwich, which includes an egg, Vermont white cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon on a freshly-baked bagel made with two kinds of asiago cheese.

Drinks include coffees, lattes, teas, smoothies and all-you-can-drink soda. Their signature freshly-baked artisan breads and tantalizing aroma of fresh pasteries make Panera an inviting experience from start to finish. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the café offers catering for parties, meetings or group events and boxed lunches. Most locations are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, go to www.Panerabread.com. ---KRB and KB.

Last Updated (Friday, 03 June 2011 23:58)


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