Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Strawberry Poppy-seed and Chicken Salad - Panera

Strawberry Poppy-seed and Chicken Salad - Panera
The other day my mother and sister went to the farm to take care of my sister’s horse, and they got me a salad from Panera on the way home.

I LOVE Panera. I actually worked for Panera for several years as an associate trainer, and I can honestly say it is a great place to work and eat. I don’t have any food horror stories from behind the scenes, and I still go back to visit my old bosses and grab a bite to eat. (Unlike my time working at Friendly’s, I haven’t eaten there since 2004.)
The packaging Panera uses for their to-go salad orders has really changed. When I worked there, the clear plastic containers used in restaurants were used for to-go orders. Now, the company uses this nifty, waxed, cardboard box with a clear window. It functions the same way, stacks in the fridge the same way, but it feels more recyclable now. I’ll have to look into it, but I am pretty sure this is more Eco-friendly. I like it.

I have had this salad at least once almost every summer since 2008. It is always delicious! The fruit is sweet, and I can honestly tell you that about 90% of it is fresh and cut by hand. (If memory serves, the pineapple and mandarin oranges are from large restaurant supply cans, but everything else is hand washed and cut. There is even a deli slicer on the premises, so the chicken is hand cut and portioned.)
The poppy seed dressing is very sweet at first, but there are savory notes. The dressings are not made in-house, so I can’t even begin to tell you what’s in it, (poppy seeds, garlic, and sugar are all I can really detect) but it is very good. I haven’t been able to find any bottled dressings exactly like it.

This is a really refreshing salad for summer, and it covers a lot of nutritional bases. You have fruits, lettuce, and antibiotic free chicken. I look forward to this salad every summer. (In the fall I look forward to the Orchard Harvest salad. Basically a fall fruit variation.)
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