I'll start out by saying that I don't like Panera. Every time I hear Cramer rave about this place on Mad Money I just want to call him and tell him "No, no you're wrong". I've had so many things I didn't like; I mean really didn't like, that I'm never going to another one. Unless it's a new opening, in which case I am obliged to do so.
This one is pretty typical; a big place with several rooms with tables and booths.
I don't like their coffee, I had a sandwich I didn't like and the tomato/mozzarella salad I had was just awful, so I decided to try something different. They have a new chili that sounds pretty good, and the vegetarian black bean soup fits my diet. So I ordered a combo where you get 2 small containers of each and a piece of bread.
The black bean soup tasted similar to eating a container of black beans; there's really nothing to it. No onion or garlic flavors. The chili has a lot of good stuff in it, but it's not particularly tasty. It's one of those things that you can eat and feel like you're eating something that's good for you without achieving much enjoyment. If someone dragged me to Panera I'd probably get the chili as opposed to anything else I've had at one of these places. In fact, when I mixed the chili with some of the black beans from the soup it was a lot more interesting. You won't have to worry about sodium; because there's no seasoning used in these dishes.
All I can say is that Tijuana Flats next door looks like it's going to open soon, which is the best reason to come back to this area.
Panera Bread 5975 N Federal Hwy Fort Lauderdale FL, 33308 (03/01/2013)