Happy hump day! One week from today, I will be finishing up my last day of work then heading to California for a glorious 10 days–I could not be more excited!
As part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker program that I am a part of, I’m sometimes contacted to do reviews of products + restaurants. I rarely choose to participate, because if I am going to be a part of the review process, it will only be for a product that aligns with my food values or with a company/brand/product that I’m already a major fan of. In this case, it was the latter, and when I saw an e-mail with an opportunity to review Panera Bread and their soups, I just couldn’t say no.
Panera first opened up a store near Sacramento where I grew up when I was in high school, and I must admit, when I first tried it, I wasn’t very enamored. It was a bit pricey for my high school non-working budget (still is a bit, for that matter) and though I can’t remember what exactly it was that I ordered, I just wasn’t very impressed with the food.
Fast forward to college when Panera opens a store in SLO during my last year living there. I figured I’d give it another shot ordered and a very indulgent clam chowder in a bread bowl, devoured the entire thing in about 10 minutes, and haven’t looked back since. Panera became the hangout spot for meeting with my teaching friends during the teaching credential process, and I’ll always have many fond memories of afternoons of working + talking + eating with some of my favorite people in the world.
My absolute favs when I go are their Greek Salad, their Potato Cheese Soup, and their Black Bean Soup, sometimes in a bread bowl when I can’t resist devouring a ridiculous amount of tasty carbs. This time when I was there, on official business of course, I had wanted to try their new Sonoma Chicken Stew with carrots, peas, leeks & red potatoes with sweet cream and thyme, topped with Dry Jack Cheese biscuit (sounds amazing, right?) but being a creature of habit and not wanting to indulge too much after a waist-expanding Thanksgiving weekend, I stuck with my all-time fav: Black Bean Soup.
I know what I like, what can I say. You can check out all of Panera’s soups as well as even watch them make a few of the classics on their Soup Stories page here.
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program. I was compensated for my trial (read: free soup!), but all opinions are completely my own. I never review products I do not believe in 100% or fit my food philosophy.