Tag Archives: food

Panera Bread location reviews

As a consultant I like many of my colleagues have established places like Starbucks, Panera Bread, select McDonalds and some local hang outs (Blue Sky Cafe in Bethlehem, PA) as the places to go when you need some wifi and/or a place to have a meeting with others whom have no offices.

Panera Bread is my favorite as I drink tea and they have a nice selection that you get to choice yourself, it is relatively inexpensive at about $2 and normally the music is quieter than at Starbucks.  Plus, they are not as cramped as a Starbucks.  But, there is a variety of good Panera’s and yuck Panera’s.  So here is my on-going guide with a rating of 1-4, plus comments.

Trexlertown, PA  (by the cycling track)

They rate a 3

– cleanish, could be more attention paid

– layout is very quiet with three nice areas, one way in the back which is cove like

– good power outlets near those quiet areas

– WEAK wifi, so sad 😦

– no honey, but water cups

 

Norristown, PA (just off 202)

They rate a 2

– clean

– layout is very open, no breaks so very loud, more so as the music is overly loud all the time (correction, they have a room in the back that is quieter)

– very few power outlets

– weak wifi

– no honey, but water cups

Easton, PA (just off 33 by Barnes and Noble)

They rate a 4+

– Clean, though I was told by Jennifer the Store Manager they are due for a remodel.  Good for them.

– Nice long layout with areas to sneak away for quiet (I also found out that the music volume goes down based on store noise)

– several tables that have access to power outlets (additional ones hidden in the back under the benches by the molding)

– strong wifi signal and bandwidth of 1MB or more (using CNET test)

– they have honey for the tea, free water (I like to get ice to cool down the steam blasted hot water)

Lancaster, PA (route 30)

They rate a 2

– clean

– Okay layout, somewhat cramped

– limited access to outlets

– strong wifi

– they have honey and water cups (darn it Jersey)

– very slow staff, friendly but not real quick especially when a crowd appears – it seems to unnerve them

Wyomissing, PA (just off of 222)

They rate a 4.

– clean

– good layout, one of the best outdoor areas from a viewpoint driving up

– good access to outlets

– strong wifi

– they have honey and water cups (darn it Jersey)

– very friendly staff

North Wales, PA (near Blue Bell) on 309

They rate a 4.

– Clean

– Nice long layout with areas to sneak away for quiet

– several tables that have access to power outlets

– strong wifi signal and bandwidth of 1MB or more (using CNET test)

– they have honey for the tea, free water (I like to get ice to cool down the steam blasted hot water)

Allentown, PA (off of Airport Rd by Five Guys)

They rate  4

– Clean

– Nice long layout with areas to sneak away for quiet

– several tables that have access to power outlets

– strong wifi signal and bandwidth of 1MB or more (using CNET test)

– they have honey for the tea, free water (I like to get ice to cool down the steam blasted hot water)

Phillipsburg, NJ (between 78 and 22)

They rate a 3

– Ok clean

– Good layout with quiet areas (though music is louder here than in others)

– Only two tables with access to power

– strong wifi signal and bandwidth of 1MB or more (using CNET test)

– they have honey for tea, but you have to ask for hot water (so free refills uncomfortable) and no free water cups

Edison, NJ (near Menlo Park mall)

They rate a 3

– Clean

– Good layout with quiet areas in several places

– A few places with access to outlets (could use more)

– strong wifi signal and bandwidth of 1MB or more (using CNET test)

– no honey for the tea and no free water cups

Piscataway, NJ (off of 287)

– They rate a 0 (yep, zero)

– God awful, smelled like a bathroom and I was not sitting near the bathroom, table dirty, chairs

– Quiet, but that is because no one was in this one

– a few places for outlets

– crap wifi, only 300kps (using CNET test)

– yes they had honey, but no free water cups (again what is with Jersey Panera’s)

* I will not be visiting this one again

Aaaah, Baltimore you have pizza

Unlike up in Maine where it took be the better part of year to find any decent pizza.  I found in Baltimore a small chain called Pasta Mista. I was quite worried as the name left me suspicious.

But, the pie was very good.  Not New York thin crust good, they still need to make it thinner, crisper and use sliced cheese instead of shredded.  But, Jersey good.  Reminded me of the pizza we got almost every Friday night from a place in Colonia called Gennaro’s.

It was thin, with a perfect end crust, about 1/2 inch and the right mix of sauce and cheese.  Cooked well, with a crust that cracked when you folded it (yes, you have to fold it – you want to eat with a fork and knife go to Chicago).

 

Having been their twice and received the same very good tasting slices each time, I am quite happy to have found one refuge in Baltimore.  Though this is in Towson, close enough.

 

 

Thank you Pasta Mista for a great slice and a future of trying you sandwiches (a good chicken parm sounds simple is not and even your pasta on occasion).

 

 

and speaking of popcorn

Of all the snack foods that you can have I would prefer popcorn over all of them.  It is perfect.  A crunchy, often warm experience in your month with saltiness and then butter (or something resembling butter flavor).

Whether at a ballgame, sitting home watching a ballgame or just for anything popcorn is the best snack, for me.

Especially and almost a requirement is at the movies.  Skip the Skittles and Gummy Bears, along with even a soda pop.  Get a nice size bag of popcorn, extra butter and a water will be fine.  You don’t have to eat it all, but something about ordering the small just does not seem right.

1. It is tiny and not very manly

2. It is not the value pick, use the uneaten to feed the birds in your neighbors lawn

3. you might find someone to share it with if you are attending alone – never know

a quick breakdown of popcorn

– Movie theater – it must be fresh popped there and if you ask for extra butter, take extra napkins as those bags leak all the time.

– Microwave – don’t get the movie theater butter corn, yuck.  get the plain and melt your own butter to pour over it.

– Air popped – heathy, until you put the 4 tablespoons of butter you must put on it to have it taste like anything.

– Oil popped – just like movie theater, but hard not to burn it as you get distracted by the wonderful smell that is quickly bad when you burn it.

So, skip the chips and dip and stick to the popcorn.  Yum.

The start of the blog

When you find really good food, talking should stop and just quietly enjoy the food.  To start here is the beginning of an ongoing list of things I feel are worthy of talking about – since I am not enjoying them now.

The bakery has this dark rye bread – not pumpernickel, just a darker heavy use of the rye flavoring that is so good you can eat it plain.  Then add the glazed crumb buns, strudel, 7 layer cake and so much more.

Good pizza is thin crust, made in a hot oven (over 550 degrees), without pineapples or grilled chicken – mainly made in NYC, but certain places can offer some part of a replica

Peter Lugers makes the best steaks anywhere and they must be ordered nothing more than medium rare

Broccoli is great steamed with some salt, garlic and butter, but asparagus kicks it’s ass when grilled, but it has to be fresh – no frozen or canned crap.

Bread, oh dear lord good bread is worth more to me than almost anything.  French bread crusty and light inside.  Rye bread with a chewy crust and explosion of rye smell and taste.  Ciabata just so airy and yum.  Again to Vaccaros where they have hard rolls with poppy seeds that is just a great mix of hard flaky crust with a fluffy soft interior.  Perfection there is just a warm roll from the bakery with whipped cream cheese.

more to come…