Saturday, September 24, 2016

Goddess and Grains

When we go to Panera, we usually get the You Pick Two combo, and we both usually get the Thai chicken salad. Although we've tried other salads from time to time, that's been our go-to for a long time. On a recent lunch visit, we both decided to try something new. We don't think these salads are brand new to Panera, but they were new to us.

M's review of the Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken:
I like traditional Cobb salads a lot, except for one component - blue cheese - so whenever I see some variation of a Cobb salad that doesn't include blue cheese, I jump at the chance to try it. The Panera version of the Cobb salad has no cheese at all, and instead mixes chicken with a bunch of different greens (arugula, romaine, kale, radicchio), tomatoes, pickled red onions, avocado, bacon, a hard boiled egg, and a green goddess dressing. The dressing was packed with herbs and really tasty (Panera's website tells me it's mostly tarragon, chives, parsley, and watercress), although I personally prefer some of the green dressings at places like Chop't a little more. I liked the salad, and there was a decent amount of both avocado and bacon, which was nice to see. My only constructive criticism would be more onions and more dressing, but otherwise, it was really good. I might mix things up on future visits and get this sometimes instead of the Thai chicken if it lasts through the fall.

A's review of the Ancient Grain and Arugula with Chicken:
M has a bit of an aversion to mixing fruit with her savory foods, but I don't have that much of an issue with it. This salad consisted of "chicken raised without antibiotics, arugula, ancient grain blend, red grapes, and fresh apple and cabbage slaw tossed with white sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing and topped with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds." This was a really fresh and tasty salad. The grapes and apples weren't so sweet to overpower the rest of the salad, and the grain blend added a nice crunch to the mix. The chicken was a touch on the bland side, but it had enough seasoning to at least not be a complete bore. Overall the salad was tasty, but I don't know that I would consistently get it over the Thai chicken salad.

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