The weather outside may be frightful – or seasonably cooler if your lucky enough to escape the northeast winters – but luckily, there are comforting, soul-soothing options to keep me satisfied and most importantly, warm.
It’s usually around this time of year when my cravings for crisp, filling salads are taken over by the thought of hot liquid filling my stomach. I do love soup, but hardly ever opt for it out, simply because I don’t usually find unique options on a menu and I fear it won’t be hearty enough to suffice.
It’s an unreliable option for me, most of the time.
There is an exception here. Panera has always been a go-to lunch spot, whether I’m looking for a tasteful salad or an appetizing grilled panini. Their menu – although always improving- is dependable for a solid meal. I also believe Panera was one of the first sandwich chains to coin the, “You Pick Two” concept, which allows fickle diners like myself, the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Conveniently, I had a lunch date planned with my good friend Bryce this afternoon, so it posed the ideal opportunity to take advantage of my giftcard.
Remember this guy? Bryce and I used to work together and became close over the years. He’s made his appearance once or twice on the blog, mainly because he loves to show off, and partly because he is one of the best non-blogging dining partners. He never asks twice about me taking pictures of him or his food. That’s a great friend!
So back to the soup….
Bryce and I both opted for the “You Pick Two” selection and ironically, both deemed ourselves in the mood for soup and salad.
Starting with Bryce’s meal-
You Pick Two: Chicken Noodle Soup and 1/2 BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
You Pick Two: Black Bean Soup and 1/2 Roast Turkey Fuji Apple Salad
The chicken noodle soup is always a classic and favored by so many. This soup has been on the menu since the beginning and has no plans of becoming extinct. The chicken is all-natural, the noodles are made from a hearty egg base, and spices are always just right.
I do love the chicken noodle, but today, I was in the mood for something a little less traditional and a little more spicy.
Hands down, Panera has the best black bean soup I’ve had from a restaurant. It’s rich, creamy and has the perfect bite.
As much as I love the pureed beans as the base, I’m always appreciative of the abundance of chewy beans in each bite.
Panera’s soup menu does alter slightly each day, but a few of their staples (chicken noodle, french onion, vegetarian creamy tomato, and broccoli cheddar) are served daily. Even though the variety changes, the promise of a fresh, hot bowl of soup, containing nothing but quality ingredients does not.
So as the winter endures, you’ll probably find me gravitating more towards the comfort of heart-warming soup, especially when I don’t have any big pots to clean after I’m done.
What is your favorite soup? I am going with butternut squash but so long as it’s thick and not overly sweet.
Disclaimer: As part of the DailyBuzz Healthy Living Program, I received a free gift card for Panera Bread and a stipend from Panera Bread. However, my opinions are entirely my own.