I was saying goodbye to college. Goodbye to my little life as I knew it living in Santa Barbara. Goodbye to friends. Goodbye to the little hole-in-wall coffee place where I studied for final exams. Goodbye to my favorite thinking spot inside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Goodbye to the best piece of Peanut Butter Pie I have ever tasted. And goodbye to that little known "bread company" where I could get freshly baked bread by the slice or loaf.
For me, Panera Bread reminds me of that little bread company (that incidentally is no longer there in SB). I walk in and it feels inviting to me, almost as if to say: "Come, sit, eat, stay awhile." With their Bakery-Cafes I can have that fresh baked bread I longed for, sliced and wrapped around delicious sandwich eats. I can choose to take home a warm cinnamon raisin loaf with my family or enjoy it over a hot dark roast cup of coffee and free Wi-fi (they were one of the first national eateries to offer it).
This is the display that greets you when you first walk in. Fresh baked bread and pastries. Yes, please!
If you are familiar with Panera Bread, (there are locations all over the United States) then you know the delicious taste and exceptional value of the "you pick two". It's my "go-to" menu item.
French Onion and the Smoked Ham and Swiss....Um, hello comfort food goodness!
I also love that Panera has healthy and yet hearty options for kids. From their Horizon Organic Milk to their new "better for you" menu options like the Strawberry Granola Parfait: wholesome recipe created by Panera's head baker Tom Gumpel for his daughter Olivia with maple pecan granola, organic yogurt, fresh strawberries.
Have you ever been to Panera Bread? What's your favorite thing to get?