Taste Test: Panera’s Revamped Soup Menu

Cooked up on December 19, 2012

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A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be selected to go in and try out Panera’s soup menu, so my boss/friend Sarah and I headed to the Panera in Beaverton for lunch.

Panera was always a favorite of mine. When I was in cross country in high school, we frequently met at the Panera a half mile from school after our Saturday morning practices to fill up on bagels (great running fuel) and hot chocolate. Then, when I went off to college in Columbia, Missouri, Panera was a frequent study space and source of healthy food (that’s sometimes hard to come by in college). Also, there was good coffee. Enough said.

But I hadn’t been back for a while. And I’m so glad I did go – it was fun to go and see that some of my favorite things were still there, like the tomato soup with croutons.

panera tomato soup

It was pretty much just as I remembered it. Rich but not heavy. Filling and satisfying. Sarah paired it with the Sonoma chicken salad sandwich.

panera chicken salad

In my opinion, when there is chicken salad involved, you basically can’t lose.

Panera is working pretty hard on their soup right now. I headed over to their website to look at a few videos, but then I got distracted by the Soup Scrambler, a memory game that I am not great at, but had a lot of fun with, While I was playing this game, I learned that they’ve added a vegetarian vegetable soup with pesto. And when I saw that was on the menu at the Panera in ┬áBeaverton, I knew I had to try it.

panera pesto soup

I was a teensy bit concerned that this soup would not hold its own, a trap some vegetable soups accidentally fall into. Turns out I did not need to worry – there was some serious heft to this soup. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but the soup’s flavor was layered and It could have been a meal on its own if I didn’t want to get a sandwich with my soup.

panera bacon turkey

This is the sandwich I chose – another new menu item since I’ve last been to Panera, I think, the Bacon Turkey Bravo. It went perfectly with my veggie soup, and I loved the tomato-ey bread.

One last thing I have to mention. Did you know you can get a pastry for a dollar with your lunch? Most obvious choice ever. I got the pain au chocolat, of course.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of a program by DailyBuzz Food and Panera Bread. All opinions are my own.

1 Comment »

  1. Pain au chocolat, every time.

    Comment by Mary K — December 19, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

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