Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I ate a different lunch at Panera

on January 9, 2014

Almost 3 years ago, a friend recommended I try the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad at Panera.  I had never eaten at Panera before so seeing I didn’t know what else to order, I followed her suggestion.

Oh my golly!  Where has this salad been all my life?!

My description cannot do it justice!  Take a bed of romaine lettuce (I always ask for extra lettuce), red onions (smooches anyone?!), dried apple chips, gorgonzala cheese (uh, you had me at cheese), tomatoes, chicken and the best dressing ever!  I ask for the dressing on the side..not because I’m health concious….because you can score a little more of the liquid goodness!  Now, if you are a carb overloader or thrifty like me, instead of the bagette or apple on the side, you can ask for a bagel substitute and then have breakfast the next morning…if you can constrain yourself that long!  Couple that with the $.99 treat (orange scone…is there anything else?!) and you could find yourself in a carb coma by 3 pm.  Yes, I have done it and survived but would not recommend it!

Ok, so you now understand my sheer lust for this salad.  Let me explain the addiction further. 

Shortly after my first dining experience another friend recommended a standing lunch date each week at the new Panera that just opened up dangerously close to my work.  Three years ago, you should have bought stock because I would have made you a hundredaire.  We have held that lunch date since (almost without fail) and EVERY lunch, I dined on the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.  My rewards card can vouch for this.  As a reward card holder, you know you get various rewards.  I don’t venture from the salad, even when offered free or discounted items!  My love runs that deep.

Fast forward 3 years and over a hundred lunches later, you find me today in quite the quandry.  As of New Years I have swore off carbs.  No more bread, no more sugar, no more Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.  What is there left to order?!

I headed to the Panera website to investigate other options.  Wow!  They have a ton of other salads!  Who knew?!  The lowest carb options seem to be the Steak and Blue salad and the Cobb salad with avocado!   Ooo…avacado!!!  I’m sold!

So today was the first time EVER that I ordered another item other than the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.  And I may never go back!  The Cobb salad had romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, hard boiled eggs, gorganzola cheese and dressing (which seemed to have a slightly spicy kick!)…it always surprises me when there is no corn in Cobb Salads!  I coupled that with another first time: no baguette,  chips or apple please…but a pickle spear!  Pickle is my middle name!

So there you have it…how Erica moved from the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad to the Chicken Cobb with Avocado. 

And I may never go back!

Sorry…no pictures!   I was too busy nom nom noming.

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