I continue to be baffled by the success of Panera Bread. It’s really expensive, consistently mediocre, and always busy. I don’t get it.
The bread’s not bad, I’ll give it that. I’ve had a few sandwiches here, and the bread is always the highlight.
I got the “Pick 2,” which means you can pick two smaller things and pay a lot for it. I got a small sandwich and a little bowl of chili, and it came up to a bit over 14 bucks, and just get the hell out of here with that. This should cost about half of that for the quality of food they’re serving.
Specifically, I got the Fontiga Chicken Panini, and the Turkey Chili.
They were both fine. The sandwich had a mild smoky flavour — I guess either the cheese or the chicken was smoked — but was otherwise the sandwich equivalent of white noise. It’s neither good nor bad; it’s just kind of there.
The chili was fine, but it was about on the level as a can of soup from the supermarket. A nicer can — maybe one that costs a buck fifty instead of a buck — but a can nonetheless.
And of course, as usual, the place was packed. Why? I guess it’s better than the literal garbage that they call sandwiches at Tim Hortons, but still: why is this place so popular?