Panera Bread – Lunch Salad To Go

Panera Bread
2733 A Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance CA 90505

Panera Bread is located in a strip mall near the corner of Pacific Coast Hwy. and Crenshaw Blvd. Panera Bread specializes in, as the name suggests, fresh bread and bakery items. The menu runs from breakfast through dinner with plenty of choices to keep you interested even if you come back on a weekly basis. Customers line up at the main counter where you can take a few minutes to read the large menu board and drool over the cookies, bread and other bakery treats. You order at the register and are given a vibrating pager to take to your table. When the pager goes off, you go to the kitchen counter and pick up your lunch. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Lunch at your desk can certainly be a drag. The usual fast food menus start to look stale and the burgers, fries and typical fast food aren’t exactly health food. I was on my own today so I opted to be adventurous and try a completely new and different salad. I love the sandwiches at Panera Bread so I decided to try the salads.

The menu board is full of all sorts of safe choices but I opted to try something that seemed like a challenge – the “Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad” ($8.99). This was the first salad on the menu board so I figure it must be good. The description was “All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, romaine, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, fresh pineapple, Mandarin oranges, pecans & fat-free poppyseed dressing.” Everything sounded good except the pecans but I left them in there to get the full flavor. I got the order to go and headed back to my office.

The salad came in a custom box with a window on top. The presentation was nice and there was a good quantity of salad and toping in the ample container. What struck me initially was the somewhat odd sight of fruit on top of a salad. Fruit salad I like – lettuce based salad I like – but combined it seemed like a foolish risk of conflicting flavors. I poured on the dressing and dove in.

I must say I LOVED this salad. The combination of the fresh fruit, poppyseed dressing, fresh lettuce and the grilled chicken strips were a near perfect blend. I say “near perfect” because I could have done without the pecans – but aside from that, it’s an amazing salad. If you are looking for a light summer salad, head to Panera Bread and order up the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad. You can thank me later…..

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