Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My love for Panera is borderline ridiculous

crav·ing: [krey-ving]
great or eager desire; yearning.

My eager desire for Panera Bread is borderline ridiculous. You know that show called 'Intervention' ? Neither do I, but I've seen it when I scroll through the guide on tv. Either way, I might need one. I may need a Panera Intervention.

Some time ago, I deemed Tuesday's 'Panera Day'. So every 2nd day of the workweek around 1:30pm, I get in my car and drive 2.2 miles to my food intake Mecca. If for some reason I can't make it there that day - I'm instantly crabby. It's like my world is caving in on me like a cave would cave in on me. I walk through those glorious double-glass doors and it's as if the voice of the establishment calls out to me..."Jake...," Panera says, "Welcome to a place that aims to keep you content and satisfied". I swear to god she says it to me. She has a soft, soothing voice. But when I step foot into that place, an ear-to-ear smile comes over me. Directly in front of me is the bakery station. Complete with bagels, sourdough bread, stone-milled rye, double chocolate cookies...I could go on forever. But I have to bypass that splendid section, as I only have 45 minutes to achieve what I can only describe as 'gullet-orgasm'.

I always see the same people working when I stop in. They never recognize me. Or maybe they do, it's just that they're afraid to talk to someone with such a stupid shit-eating grin on their face. I'm guessing it's the latter reason. But oh no, that sure doesn't mess with my Panera Time. The sounds, the smells, the tastes, and oh, the sights - it's an sensical information overload. Is this making any sense to you? I even like the colors. Seaweed green, a light tannish brown, everything just mixes together so perfectly.

I used to take my lunch at Panera. It was like a little mini-heaven on Earth. Unfortunately one fateful day, my cell phone fell out of my pocket and got lodged between my booth seat and a large, well, 'divider'. After many attempts to retrieve my cellular device from the depths with my short stubby arms, I contacted management. For some reason, I believe a large pair of pliers was summoned, and after a minute or two, the gentleman manager presented me with my phone. Slightly embarassed, I thanked them and went on my way. Since then, I haven't gotten the courage back to choose the 'dine in' option. Perhaps some day I will sit somewhere else, as that would solve the problem of me losing my phone. I think I need help.

Can this place get any better? I mean, look at the fricking LOGO. Even that is near perfection. If you were wondering, yes, that's the woman whose voice I hear when I enter the gates of this beautiful foodcropolis. It's like the building is the woman, and she's holding me. She keeps me warm, and looks out for me during my lunch hour. She's holding me close, and I'm a loaf of bread, just sucking at the Panera teat. Yeah - that's me! She's rocking me gently to Panera bliss. And I'm wishing, waiting, wondering...how a food chain can be so great and cater to my tastebuds' every need.

Naturally upon exit of the establishment I get a punch in the face of real worldism. Car horns, insects buzzing, people being people - you know - dumb real-life shit. Technically, my Panera experience isn't over yet though. Whether I choose to eat at back at the office or not - I still have one piece of Panera power still at my fingertips. The receipt. On every receipt is the option to complete a short 5 minute survey describing your 'Panera experience'. Every month, the gods that be pick a lucky survey taker to win $2,000. Whether they actually do or not, I have no idea. But what I do know is that 9 times out of 10 - I complete that online survey. And not only do I complete the survey, but the give this beautiful stomach-saving business high marks. I figure, after completing about 40 of these, they'd finally break down and give me some cash. I haven't received a dime. Maybe they'll pick me after I spend $2,000 there, which is totally within reach, being as I usually spend between $6 & $8 every visit.

In closing, upon investigating my favorite sandwich, The Frontega Chicken Sandwich, I sadly have discovered that it contains 800 calories and 2150 mg of sodium - aka 90% of my daily value. Hmmm. But no - OH NO - I will not let them put a damper on the gloriousness of Panera.
My body may suffer, but my heart and my mind will live on forever...

So to end this post on a high note, I have made a haiku about my favorite menu item at Panera. You're the best, Panera.

Frontega Chicken

Sandwich, how I long for thee

My mouth shouts for you


Sara Giddee said...

you might be the funniest person i know.
i, too, heart panera.

Dustin said...

odd, I thought Giddee knew me.

FYI - borderline creepy on the obsession. I can see the headline "Man arrested for exposing self inside local Panera...logo 'made' him do it"