Have you heard about Panera Bread Company’s “hidden menu” of new food items? Well it’s not really a secret menu, like the one at In and Out Burger (which my fiance dearly misses having spent some time on the West Cost to move back East where we have no idea what an In and Out burger is…). Panara merely says that they tested these few items on a smaller scale, and now are realeasing them nationwide but with little fanfare. The items will not be on the menu board, there are only slick food porn shots of them on-line at their website. The items are a lower carb set of dishes: two breakfast, four lunch/dinner items. The items (with some nutritional values) are:
- Power breakfast egg white bowl with roasted turkey (180 calories; 25g protein)
- Power breakfast egg bowl with steak (230 calories; 20g protein)
- Power chicken hummus bowl (330 calories; 33g protein)
- Power Mediterranean chicken salad (360 calories; 35g protein)
- Power Mediterranean roasted turkey salad (320 calories; 22g protein)
- Power steak lettuce wrap (280 calories; 28g protein).
I was sort of excited to see this. Panara is my go-to fast food joint, because I know I can get food quickly that is good for me (or at least better than any other fast food). I stick with their salads (the Greek one + a protein is my favorite) and soups. I use dressing because LapBand Fun Fact — we really don’t do well with lettuce and many other raw veggies, so I need some sort of lubrication to try *crosses fingers* and keep a few bites down (which does not always work, but I try) Plus dressing just taste good, and yes I get extra. I also eat the bread. I am no low carb-er. There are so few things I can eat (for a food refresher see my earlier blog post on the LapBand and Eating) that I eat what works. Sometimes a toasty baguette piece with my soup works, and so I eat it. Sometimes it does not. Regardless, I was impressed with the nutritional stats of the items, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I ordered the Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey (180 calories, 7g Fat, 7g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 25g Protein — 5 Weight Watchers Plus Points (and the idea of it also being a serving of veggies). The bowl contains egg white, roasted turkey, spinach, and roasted peppers. I pulled up to the drive thru of a local Panera on my way to work, and bravely ordered. They did know what I was talking about, after asking for clarification a few times.
Visuals: When I opened up my bag, I was excited — but then visually I was dissapointed. The meal looked very small and very sad. I wished that it had far more than the five spinach leaves. I wished that the peppers were even increased. The egg white portion was very large though, and the turkey was on the smaller side. They did a great job of food porn photography on the website, none of which was passed into actual execution.
Taste: It did TASTE good. The turkey was the best –a warm and juicy surprise for a morning meal. The egg white was very plain, and I wished I had had some hot sauce or salsa to go with it. The five wilted spinach leaves were good, but again I wished I had had more. And the roasted red peppers perked up the bland egg whites. Again, for a healthy breakfast on the go from a fast-food joint — it was good.
Verdict: I most likely would order it again. I wonder if I could ask for more spinach, or if this is something that came out of a package for them to slide into the box. I really was looking forward to a nice serving of veggies for breakfast to continue to try and (1) eat breakfast and (2) make my daily quota of fruits/veggies which I generally do not do (since for veggies to work they usually need to be cooked). Would I go out of my way for it — no. Not unless my o
rder was a fluke, and it really should look closer in size to the photo on the website (and by size I mean more spinach, more peppers, and more of the pesto that makes the eggs go from bland to better — I wouldn’t complain for more tasty turkey either but that was reasonable).
Has anyone tried any of the other items? I am sort of curious about the lunch/dinner turkey meal, and the chicken meal. I like that the turkey ones come with spinach which I can usually tolerate, even when raw.