Sunday, June 11, 2017

Breakfast Sandwich #93 - Panera aka Fool Me Twice, Won't Get Fooled Again

Sandwich: Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Location: Panera Bread
Date: June 10, 2017
Cost: $4.29

I had an early appointment on the east side with plans to go out for breakfast immediately after. When I learned that my destination of choice would not open for another hour I had to come up with a new angle. The only place on the far east side that I could think of that I haven't reviewed is IHOP, and that didn't strike me as a particularly good option. Still, I pulled up their menu on my phone to see what their breakfast sandwich offerings are. Things weren't looking so good. The only breakfast sandwich listed is the Ham & Egg Melt and that gave me flashbacks to the awful Moons Over My Hammy sandwich from Denny's. That was enough to steer me away from IHOP.

Potbelly's has recently relocated and I know that they offer breakfast sandwiches at some of their locations, but this one was closed. It turns out none of the Madison locations offer breakfast. Then I saw Panera. I had already reviewed Panera in 2016 but figured I would order something different and there could still be sandwich enlightenment.

Sometimes if the top part is a little crooked it looks jaunty and cheeky but this time it just looks like somebody doesn't give a fuck about their work.

<sad trombone sound>
The Sandwich - Sausage, Egg and Cheese. Generally I will order the bacon sandwich if a menu has options. I didn't look up my previous Panera review and assumed I would have ordered bacon, so I went with sausage this time. As I write this I am learning that I ordered sausage on my previous trip as well, so we have consistent data here for comparison. Or, we're just wasting our time. I have pulled up the link to the previous review but have not read it so as not to color my opinions today.

They don't offer choice of cheese or bread, which is odd considering "bread" is part of their name. They also don't offer additional toppings although they have them on hand. When you order a Sausage, Egg and Cheese sandwich that's exactly what you get. According to my receipt the cheese is a white cheddar. The bread is ciabatta.

The bread was nicely toasted and had an outer crunch I liked but things went downhill fast after that. The cheese was melted and gooey and was the overwhelming flavor here. The sausage may be the blandest sausage I've ever had. If you had told me later than it was a vegan-tempeh-fauxsage I would have believed you. There isn't much to say about the egg. Like all chain restaurants, it was cooked so as to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, which is to say there was no runny yolk. 

The Result - 2 Mistaken Repeat Reviews out of 5 Mistaken Repeat Reviews. I'm giving a point for the bread and a point for the cheese. This wasn't a terrible sandwich but it didn't have much going for it, it was mostly just bland. Everything about this visit was bland. The idea to go there was bland. All the people eating there were bland (SHIT! I was one of those people!) Next time I'll look at my old reviews so I don't wander down the same bland path. It's my own damn fault, hell, my previous review was named "I Think I'm Done With Chain Restaurants". If I had looked that up I might have just gone home instead of getting fooled again. Shame on me

Epilogue - Now that I have finished this review I went back to read about my first Panera experience. In both cases I used the word "sad" in a photo caption. Although this sandwich was assembled better I gave it a much lower rating. Reading the previous review the score of 3.5 seems way too generous. In the previous review I said the sausage wasn't too salty or grisly but didn't complain of the absence of flavor. In both cases I grumbled about the egg being overcooked for my tastes - nothing new about that, is there?

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