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Old 10-06-2019, 12:15 AM
psychobunny is offline
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Iíve got a bone to pick with you Panera


So I decided to get a sandwich from Panera for lunch. Usually they have pretty good soups and sandwiches. I check the menu and see that they have a Cubano, in my opinion one of the all time greats. I know that they have several pressed sandwiches so they should be able to handle it. I order online and go to get my food. I open the sandwich to find it is falling apart. There is cheese but it is not deliciously melted sticking the sandwich together. The top piece of bread is fluffy and falling off instead of pressed. Nevertheless I squeeze the sandwich together and take a bite only to get a mouthful of candy-sweet filling. Now the sweetness of the pork should contrast with the spiciness of the mustard and the sourness of the pickles but there is scant mustard to be found and the pickles are sweet bread and butter pickles. It is pretty much inedible. Surely this sandwich doesnít call for sweet pickles? I google recipes and find only one out of dozens that calls for sweet pickles ( Iím looking at you Tyler Florence). Maybe Iím wrong but I think dill or sour pickles are a must in this sandwich. Total fail, Panera.
And while we are on the subject, am I the only one who finds their online ordering process odd? You place your order, and they leave the bag on a shelf for you to pick up. In the past I have had other people grab my food for me if they are going to be in the area. Basically, anyone could walk into a Panera, go up to the pickup shelf, and walk off with a random order. Just check the labels, find one that looks tasty and walk out the door. Nobody is checking ID. Nobody knows whether you were the one who paid for the food. It is entirely on the honor system and while I would never do that, I have no faith in my fellow humans. If I were homeless and hungry I could totally see it as a way to get free food.
Anyway, while I havenít completely sworn off Panera, I will NOT rely on them for a Cubano fix ever again.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:46 AM
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Far more surprising would be if Panera, or any nationally advertised, mass-market food chain, could make an acceptable Cuban sandwich. Or gyros. Or hot dog. Or Reuben.
There's a minimum threshold for quality on these kinds of delicacies that the big guys just can't guarantee.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:56 AM
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Weak food. Weak service. People tell me they like the soups. Not my kind of place.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:17 PM
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Their commercials make me sick. I'd never go there, even if there was one within 100 miles.
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Old 10-06-2019, 01:58 PM
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And you can't get just a BLT or the like. Everything is too chi-chi.

Dennis
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Old 10-06-2019, 05:49 PM
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I walked into a cafť and asked for the Rueben.
"What kind of bread-white, wheat or sourdough?"
"What kind of meat-beef, pork and chicken?"
"Would you want that with or without sauerkraut?"
I walk out of a cafť.
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Old 10-06-2019, 06:58 PM
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you know what always annoyed me about Panera is its hypocrisy... they talk about eating clean and good and all that hippy feel-good crap

But they fail to mention that they sell or at least used to sell things like a brownie that was so big had so much sweetened raspberry filling in it ... that even the server told me the best way to eat it was to half it or cut it into fourths.... and there were other such things on its "bakery" side

My brother worked there for years and said everyone came in for the healthy items then would blow it on the deserts ...... or they'd go over the menu and rationalize it by saying "well lunch was healthy so i can have big as a tea saucer cookie"

Last edited by nightshadea; 10-06-2019 at 06:58 PM.
  #8  
Old 10-06-2019, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
you know what always annoyed me about Panera is its hypocrisy... they talk about eating clean and good and all that hippy feel-good crap

But they fail to mention that they sell or at least used to sell things like a brownie that was so big had so much sweetened raspberry filling in it ... that even the server told me the best way to eat it was to half it or cut it into fourths.... and there were other such things on its "bakery" side

My brother worked there for years and said everyone came in for the healthy items then would blow it on the deserts ...... or they'd go over the menu and rationalize it by saying "well lunch was healthy so i can have big as a tea saucer cookie"
There's actually a lot of things on Panera's menu that are eye-poppingly caloric. It's pretty easy to get a lunch there that's a day's worth of calories if you aren't careful.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:40 PM
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I feel the same way about Trader Joes. I know they have some healthy stuff but the majority of what I see screams junk food central to me.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:08 AM
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I saw Cuban sandwiches on the Panera menu and I was thinking about ordering one. So the OP has saved me from that mistake.

My Panera screw-up story? I ordered a chai tea latte. The person behind the counter was apparently confused by the concept. She made a regular coffee latte and then added chai tea to it.
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:57 AM
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I was pretty certain this was going to be about finding a bone in your chicken sandwich.

You lose points for lack of creativity.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
So I decided to get a sandwich from Panera for lunch.
Here's your problem.

Panera is one of those places that sounds great when it's described to you but is always disappointing when you actually have their food in front of you. I've never not been disappointed at Panera.
  #13  
Old 10-07-2019, 10:16 AM
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They're absurdly overpriced. I can buy the "fixings" and make any number of different and delicious sandwiches with very little effort for a fraction of the cost, and I know they'll be made exactly the way I like them. In fact, I'm quite sure the effort of going there and waiting in line is more time consuming than actually making them myself. I can't help but view people who buy their lunch every single day as either completely inept at food prep or absurdly lazy.
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:07 PM
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I feel the same way about Trader Joes. I know they have some healthy stuff but the majority of what I see screams junk food central to me.
I don't think Trader Joe's really advertises itself as a health food store though.
  #15  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
They're absurdly overpriced. I can buy the "fixings" and make any number of different and delicious sandwiches with very little effort for a fraction of the cost, and I know they'll be made exactly the way I like them. In fact, I'm quite sure the effort of going there and waiting in line is more time consuming than actually making them myself. I can't help but view people who buy their lunch every single day as either completely inept at food prep or absurdly lazy.
Or maybe they just want variety and it's not cost-effective in their situation to make their own. I'll go with the Panera menu. Let's say I'm packing lunch only for myself- and want a BBQ chicken flatbread sandwich Monday, a roasted turkey, cheddar and apple sandwich Tuesday, a Napa chicken salad sandwich on Wed, steak and argula Thursday and a Cuban sandwich Friday. That's five different kinds of bread, and where I live, you can't buy a single flatbread or two slices of sourdough bread. So I will be buying five loaves/bags of bread to make 5 sandwiches.Same thing with the other ingredients - I can't buy just enough arugula and steak for the steak and arugula sandwich or just enough of the various cheeses to make a single sandwich. I'd have to buy more than a single sandwich worth of four or five different cheeses and so on. Sure , it's cheaper to pack your own sandwiches under some conditions - but it's not cheaper if I buy six flatbreads and throw five away because I only want one sandwich on a flat bread, or I buy a 1/4 lb of turkey and throw half away. It will probably be a little cheaper than what I would spend at Panera, but not that much.

Last edited by doreen; 10-07-2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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I have numerous complaints about Panera (feel free to subscribe to my grumpy old man newsletter) but their ordering system isn't one of them. Seems like a pretty popular way to do it nowadays... Presumably Starbucks paved the way with their mobile ordering pickup area but they have it in Chipotle, too-- and I guess here's one area where the honor system must work ok more often than not. You'd think there'd be more theft but I've never personally experienced it and I order ahead fairly often.
  #17  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:50 PM
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I usually only go to Panera as something of a low key treat for myself. The habit started when I worked at an office that (barely) had one within walking distance. So if my day was bad enough that I needed to take a walk, I would end up there.

Could I buy the ingredients and make the same things at home? Maybe. I'm not a bad cook. I don't think it makes me lazy or inept to want a bit of a break from either prepping/assembling a variety of food stuffs or cooking. It's not an everyday occurrence for me, but even if it were, who cares?

I'd be sorely disappointed if I got a cubano as was described in the OP.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
Far more surprising would be if Panera, or any nationally advertised, mass-market food chain, could make an acceptable Cuban sandwich.
Yeah. I didn't have to read past the second sentence to know how this story was going to turn out.
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
Or maybe they just want variety and it's not cost-effective in their situation to make their own. I'll go with the Panera menu. Let's say I'm packing lunch only for myself- and want a BBQ chicken flatbread sandwich Monday, a roasted turkey, cheddar and apple sandwich Tuesday, a Napa chicken salad sandwich on Wed, steak and argula Thursday and a Cuban sandwich Friday. That's five different kinds of bread, and where I live, you can't buy a single flatbread or two slices of sourdough bread. So I will be buying five loaves/bags of bread to make 5 sandwiches.Same thing with the other ingredients - I can't buy just enough arugula and steak for the steak and arugula sandwich or just enough of the various cheeses to make a single sandwich. I'd have to buy more than a single sandwich worth of four or five different cheeses and so on. Sure , it's cheaper to pack your own sandwiches under some conditions - but it's not cheaper if I buy six flatbreads and throw five away because I only want one sandwich on a flat bread, or I buy a 1/4 lb of turkey and throw half away. It will probably be a little cheaper than what I would spend at Panera, but not that much.
Not to mention you also dealing with the choice to get up & go out extra early to get sandwich ingredients or get them the night before, in which case you're already dealing with day-old bread.
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:47 PM
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There are way too many ingreds. At these sandwich places. I'm a simple girl with simple tastes. Corndogs! Yay!!

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 10-07-2019 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:55 PM
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There are way too many ingreds. At these sandwich places. I'm a simple girl with simple tastes. Corndogs! Yay!!
Would you like beef, pork, chicken or mixed meat? White or yellow cornmeal? Dijon, cranberry, course, sweet or hot mustard? Standard or footlong?
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:39 PM
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Hey I ordered a Cubano at a place in Laramie that had them on its menu, and they served it on a Kaiser roll! Other than that, it sounds better than the Panera one but...a Kaiser roll?
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:14 PM
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Panera's fine if you don't want anything more complex than a turkey BLT or a tuna on sourdough. At least their bread is fresh and good. My go-to lunch is a half sandwich and a cup of soup, and they do a perfectly adequate job of that. But it's not haute cuisine by any means.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:37 PM
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Just for an update, we had a lab come to detail me today and they brought lunch....from Panera. They brought us three different sandwiches but apparently went for the new ones because one of them was a Cubano. Usually my staff get first pick and I take the leftovers but this time I exercised executive privilege and took the turkey/apple/cheddar which would have been better on sourdough rather than cranberry bread (I usually change things when I order from them) but wasn't terrible. In addition it came with a pickle spear that was a real honest to god sour pickle spear so I know they have them and could conceivably put them on a sandwich. The staff seemed OK with their lunches. Maybe I'll get up the nerve tomorrow to ask if they think I screwed them over.
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Last edited by psychobunny; 10-07-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:56 PM
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I'm a simple girl with simple tastes. Corndogs! Yay!!
One corndog, dressed.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:17 PM
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This is so apropos. I had a Cubano at Panera last Thursday and had the exact same reaction as you. Sweet pickles?? WTF? And the meat was sliced ham and sliced something else I didn't recognize. I went to a comfort food chain restaurant here in the PNW (Shari's) over the weekend and decided to have their Cubano for comparison. It was much better. Dill pickles, shredded pork, and the soup wasn't too sweet like Panera's squash soup.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:29 PM
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Would you like beef, pork, chicken or mixed meat? White or yellow cornmeal? Dijon, cranberry, course, sweet or hot mustard? Standard or footlong?
Aaaccckkk! Just one from Sonic, please. Little packet of Sonic mustard.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:34 PM
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If they don’t have Cuban bread, it’s not a Cuban, and I won’t order it, and nobody has Cuban bread. I’m just that picky.
  #29  
Old 10-07-2019, 08:57 PM
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They're absurdly overpriced.
I was going to quibble with this, but then I looked at their menu. They're about $10 a sandwich? Seriously??? (Price check me, guys, but that's the numbers I'm getting when I look online to order.) I guess I haven't been in one in many, many years. I thought $5-$7 is a reasonable price for a sandwich, and while I am happy to make a sandwich myself, I love going to the Italian deli and getting a 9-inch for $7, because I don't keep salami, capicolla, mortadella, and provolone around all the time, and I can't be arsed to have all the veggies around all the time, and then processing them makes a mess, and I would also need to have access to absolutely fresh bread and all that. Fuck it, I'll pay the $7 for the convenience. But I'm looking here and $10.79 for a turkey and avocado BLT? Holy crap.
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:25 PM
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The only reason I darken Panera's door is ONE of the stores around here do the bagel Tuesday thing where they are half price. The other six near me never see me. I could eat for a week for what they charge for a sandwich.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:56 PM
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They've been dead to me since they got rid of their one awesome veggie sandwich over a decade ago (I think it was called veggie delight or garden delight, something like that. It had the same name as one of the salads, which was dumb). Cibatta bread with onions, tomatoes, spinach, avocado, sprouts and maybe a couple other veggies. The default was with vinaigrette and gorgonzola but I'd sub feta. DAMN that was good.
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