Saturday, December 16, 2006

Panera Bread on Roosevelt (Danada), Glen Ellyn

You may think of Panera Bread as an upscale sandwich shop, which it is. But, for the past year, the eatery has been offering its Crispani (aka, pizza). But this is not the kind of pizza you'd find at Barone's (one of my all-time favorites) or Pizza Hut.

Panera's delicious version has a perfect flatbread crust with a variety of topping choices: Roasted Wild Mushroom--roasted crimini mushrooms, fresh Shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, roasted garlic, olive oil and fontina & mozzarella cheeses; Three Cheese--fontina, fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, roasted garlic, salt and pepper; Pepperoni--all-natural Wellshire Farms pepperoni, organic Muir Glen tomatoes, fresh basil and fontina & asiago-Parmesan cheeses; Sweet Sausage & Apple--all-natural Niman Ranch sausage, fresh apple slices, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, roasted garlic and fontina, Parmesan and romano cheeses; Tomato & Fresh Basil--organic Muir Glen tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic, asiago-Parmesan and fresh mozzarella; and, just added, BBQ Chicken--smoked and pulled white meat chicken, mild BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, fresh cilantro, roasted garlic and fontina and mozzarella cheeses. The bread is crispy, but not at all dry or flaky. All of the ingredients, no matter which one you order, taste fresh. I particularly like the Sweet Sausage & Apple version--the combination of the apples, sausage and caramelized onions is such a perfect pairing, coupled with the aromatics and cheeses you may find yourself ordering two! While a hungery adult would have no problem finishing off an entire Crispani, two adults would be content by complementing their order with a hand-tossed salad or a hot soup. Kids would absolutely love ordering the flatbread, and enjoy it even more devouring it. Crispanis range in price from $6.95-$8.95, and are offered hot from the oven after 4 p.m.--allow 15 minutes for preparation, which is brought to your table by a server (the "dining room" is another aspect of this particular Panera I like...there's a fireplace, a few comfy chairs, and tables that are nicely spaced out for privacy and comfort). You can't go wrong with the Crispani--I highly recommend it, and will make me way through the entire flatbread menu.

For more information, visit (541-543 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, 630/942-8955.

On a scale of 1 to 5 forks (1 fork is not good), I'd give Panera Bread's Crispani 4 forks. Happy Eating! Mr. Foodie