Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuna Salad Sandwich Challenge #1: Panera Bread

I am teaming up with a friend for a series of taste tests. This friend is Stacey and she lives in Southern Alabama. I live in Southern California. So how different would certain foods be two time zones apart? Would one region excel in something the other would not? What about chain eateries versus "mom and pop" places? Not to mention our own personal taste differences. We begin with a sandwich. Not any sandwich, but the tuna salad sandwich. How would Panera Bread prepare it for me in California and for her in Alabama?

Panera Bread Tuna Salad Sandwich

Cost: Stacey; 5.59 plus tax. 6.15 total. Rob; 6.19 total, no tax.

Rob: I was surprised that California, eager to tax virtually everything from water to air to thoughts, DIDN'T tax my sandwich.

Stacey: Weird. Mine was taxed.

Rob: Oh well. Turns out the cost was virtually the same. Let's show yours first.

Stacey: I ordered the tomato basil bread and asked for extra lettuce. The bread was delicious, soft and fresh. I tasted the tomato and basil, yum, but the edges were tough and hard to chew. It might just be the type of bread, but tough edges are not to my liking. Other than that, the sandwich was excellent. Good tuna salad to bread ratio and lots of fresh lettuce, just as I wanted.
Stacey's son: I like the tough bread. The tough bread is to my liking.

Rob: Well it certainly looks hearty. The lettuce appears healthy and fresh.

Stacey: I asked that they leave out tomatoes. The tomato basil bread was delicious and there was really no need for tomatoes.

Rob: I like fresh tomato slices on my sammich.

Stacey: I gave the chips that came with it to my kids.

Stacey's son: They were crisp and good. The chips were good.

Stacey: I liked the big dll pickle spear they included with it.

Rob: Now let's take a look at mine.

Rob: I went with their standard tuna sandwich, no alterations. This meant I got Honey Wheat bread and nothing extra. The bread was soft and fresh, the mayo and mustard perfect. I removed my lettuce as I don't eat it and I eventually had to remove the tomato slices as they were raw. The tuna salad I agree was on the sweet side.

Stacey: When I make it at home I don't make it that sweet, but it was fine.

Rob: I agree, though without the pepper yours had, it was still good and there was a lot of it. You get a lot for the money.

Stacey: I'd like your pickle spear.

Rob: You can't have it.

Stacey's son: Did you like the crust?

Rob: No. Not a fan of crusts.

Stacey's son: I enjoy tough bread.

Rob: So overall a good sandwich.

Stacey: Oh I agree. And I called it in, so there was no wait.

Rob: I didn't call ahead but the wait time was less than 4 minutes.

Taste (1-10)

Stacey: 8
Rob: 7.5

Value (1-10)

Stacey: 6
Rob: 6.5


Stacey: 8
Rob: 7

Final Thoughts:

Stacey: I was full after finishing it and it tasted very good. I think the next sandwich place had better be good in order to compare with this one.

Rob: 6 bucks for a tuna salad sandwich is a bit much but it WAS good and filling. The next place may be Quizno's. See you there.

Stacey: I'll be there!

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