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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lunch Report: Panera Bread, Lincoln Heights...

We had been to a Panera Bread once with my parents in Brandon, but only for coffee and maybe some of the free samples of fresh pastries, and really had no idea what a great place to get lunch it was. So, today we found out. I know, for those of you already familiar with this place, feel free to say, Duh at your convenience.Since we were in the area anyway, we stopped into the Panera in Lincoln Heights. I assure you with the assistance of my wife, I was properly attired for the visit into '09 and no residents of the area were offended by my presence. She can't take me anywhere!I really like the set-up of the place. I guess you get the all the benefits of a Starbucks, what with the coffee, pastry and Wi-Fi hotspot, without all the obligatory not-very attractive people who sit there looking overly smart waiting to engage in conversations about, well, I don't know what they talk about. But in this place, the people sitting at booths and tables looked normal. Many on laptops or writing notes from books, and others just enjoying a conversation with a grandmother or spouse.When we walked in, there was not a single person in front of us in line to order and of course, that sends me into an immediate panic. When confronted with a new menu, my mind simply begins to spin for fear of ordering something crappy only to look up a minute later and see exactly what I wanted. So, I did the responsible thing when another customer came in and asked them to order ahead of us. My wife on the other hand got on the phone and called our daughter (who is a Panera regular) and asked her what she should order. Right down to the lemonade and potato chips. By the time I figured out my order, an entire crowd of people came in but luckily, we were ready to go rather than have to have a flood of people rush the counter.On the suggestion of my daughter, my wife got the Bacon Turkey Bravo on Tomato Basil Bread. Smoked turkey breast, bacon, smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomatoes and dressing. Solid choice! My wife was doing her happy dance and offering me bites of the thick sandwich before I could even start on my order. We both sort of thought that the sandwiches would come toasted (sort of like Schlotskies) but they didn't, and in fact, the soft, fresh bread was really a bonus.I ordered up the Italian Combo on Ciabatta. It is oven-roasted beef, smoked turkey breast, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, peperoncini, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and their special sauce. I don't know what a peperoncini is, but it had a little kick to it, and I liked it! When you order the full sandwich, as opposed to a half order, believe me, you will not leave hungry. Like any good sandwich place, they do not skimp on the meats. If I was smart, I would have had just half the sandwich and saved the other half for later. But no; it was good and I simply gorged myself, ate my bag of chips and both my pickle spear and my wife's. It's a wonder I fit through the door on the way out.Turns out, if you purchase a $25 gift card, they will give you half a sandwich and cup of soup combo. Too bad we didn't know that before we ate. But my wife has lunch for tomorrow. And they gave my wife a cookie just for being chatty with the manager.Oh, I think it is reasonable to see a famous person if you are in a restaurant in Lincoln Heights or Alamo Heights or any of the other fancy places where celebrities hang out. I figured, maybe we would see Tommy Lee Jones or a Spur or two. Do you remember that time we saw Rod Stewart* at Good Time Charlies? Well not to be outdone, we saw the lady who plays the wife on the TV show Still Standing, Jamie Gertz*. We didn't bother her for her autograph.

So the big question is this: Will we get a Panera Bread in the Alamo Ranch? Apparently not. According to my wife's insider source (the same guy who gave her a cookie) they plan to build several more Panera' in San Antonio, but the closest one to us will be on Bandera Road. I guess.
Great atmosphere, wonderful vittles and delicious lemonade gets Panera Bread the Tasty Treat!

*Not really. Just people who look like stars.


KeithAlanK said...

Do they still use black straws?

I found Panera Bread to be a Tasty Treat on my first visit, too:


Albatross said...

Man, those look like some goooood sandwiches.

[insert Homer drool]

Dave said...

Do they still use black straws?

Yes, the black straws were there, but for some reason, they kept them behind the counter and we had to show ID when we asked for more than one. I wonder what brought that on ;)

Roxanne said...

i'm always tempted to buy a loaf of the tomato bazil bread to make samiches at home, but knowing me, i'll eat it all on the way home and be misserable the rest of the day

About Your Host

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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