So, a few weeks ago Panera Bread emails me and says "would you like to be part of our blog program? We'll pay you." Well, you know, in so many words.
Turns out, they wanted to pay me to eat their baked goods. Now, I would have eaten baked goods without being paid, but money is cool. Plus, I'd been curious, anyway-- they just opened a retail location a few short blocks from my store, and I had never tried their baked goods.
So, Mr. Spy and myself made a trip to the new Panera Bread location on Broadway in Seattle, and sampled some of the goods.
First: the French Toast Breakfast sandwich, because, well, how could we not? Sort of a breakfast version of the Krispy Kreme burger made famous by Paula Deen, this delightfully unhealthy breakfast nicely mixed savory (eggs, cheese, and, if you want it, sausage) by sandwiching it with sweet. Though technically it was served on a bagel, I would like to assure you that this bagel was really, really close to its pastry re-assignment as a doughnut, what with its lightly sweet, soft interior, studded with raisins, and its gentle, sweet glaze of cinnamon and sugar on the crispy, grilled exterior.
Second: The "Cobblestone" sweet roll (pictured top) which was sort of like the muffin love child of Monkey Bread, Coffee Cake and a Cinnamon roll--and I mean that as a compliment. Made up of "Cinnamon Raisin bread dough mixed with chunks of apples and spices, topped with streusel and white icing", I'd have to say that if you are what you eat, you're living large when you eat this baby.
Third: After taking a break to digest, we tried out the Mint Crinkle cookie, which is new on their menu. Once again, a sweet sort of fusion was going on here: it had the texture of a molasses cookie, but the flavor of a rich, fudgy chocolate crackle cookie mixed with a Thin Mint. And this is a very, very winning combination.
Moreover, I have to say I was pretty impressed by Panera Bread--their menu is interesting, their baked goods are alluringly displayed when you walk into their cafe, and--most importantly--the sweets tasted good. I'd go again, even if I weren't being paid.