I have loved Panera since I had my first you pick two combo many years ago, but I'm sad the say I've noticed quite a difference in flavor and quality lately. I used to LOVE the turkey artichoke panini, but I just had one (looks like a new recipe) and it was disappointing. The old turkey artichoke panini was super yummy and the one I had today left much to be desired. The bread isn't as tasty as it used to be...much more bland now. I can't even taste the artichoke spread that used to be the signature delicious ingredient in the sandwich (even though it is still listed as a sandwich ingredient). It just doesn't have that mouthwatering comfort food flavor and texture anymore.
I also tried their sonoma chicken stew which was decent, but not the delicious kind of soup I had grown to love and expect at Panera. This soup tasted much more like the flavor/texture of something you'd find at a cheaper fast food place like McDonald's. The carrots were also in perfectly shaped balls...taking away from any illusion of being anything more than mass-produced, mediocre-at-best, fast food soup. I don't think Panera is awful, sadly, it's just not nearly as good as it used to be. I hope they go back to their higher quality ingredients and preparation :(
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