4

Sampling the Summer Menu at Panera Bread

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Hot weather does not stimulate my appetite. The other day I was hungry, and driving around aimlessly, but nothing appealed to me. I passed restaurant after restaurant, in strip mall after strip mall, and nothing piqued my interest. Burgers? Too heavy. Chinese? Not in the mood. Grocery store? Too much assembly required. I had just about resigned myself to going home and eating a bowl of cereal when I caught the sign for Panera out of the corner of my eye. I loved the idea of a fresh, crisp salad, so I decided to go for it.

But you know what they say about best laid plans!

I always intend to order the salad ... until I remember how much I love simple carbohydrates, and then order the pasta. With bread. And why not a creamy soup for the dunking of the bread? The problem is not lack of willpower, but long lines that give me too much time to give in to temptation.

Panera Bread was advertising several new summer items: a strawberry, poppyseed, chicken salad; a shrimp roll; pesto sacchettini pasta; a sweet, summer corn soup. I liked the sound of pesto, and I can never resist a yummy corn soup, so I ordered both items to go and opted for a side of fresh baked Panera baguette.

Given that my appetite was already on the low side of the scale, I can't say that the pasta really wowed me at all. The pesto was a little oily, and combined with the cheese, felt awfully heavy; the freshness from the basil was not enough to lift and brighten the dish on its own, especially given that the pasta was overcooked and gummy. Too rich and hearty for summer, this dish is far better suited to comfort food--basil alone does not communicate summertime.

The sweet summer corn soup, while delicious, suffered from similar problems. Between the creamy base and the chunks of tomato it didn't feel quite "summery" enough for a hot, June day. I loved the sweetness, with a hint of heat behind it, but it just felt too heavy--and so did I, after eating it. I can't quite remember the last time I said this, and meant it, but ... I should have ordered the salad.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.