Review: Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

For a good long while, Panera mac has been my go-to whenever I challenge someone’s perception of “What is a good mac and cheese?” On further examination, it’s merely OK.

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The picture does not lie, the Panera mac is rather creamy and of a good consistency. The pasta is cooked to near perfection. However, like many pastas, it does not travel well. Eat it outside of the “Dine In” window at your own peril.

I am normally stoked to get some Panera mac (mixing it with Potbelly chili is the perfect flavor combo notwithstanding the extreme gastrointestinal stress one would experience over the following 4-5 hours). This time as I dug in, I noticed a distinct lack of flavor. Maybe it was a bad batch or some one was training on how to make it because they believe it is difficult to screw up. The cheese just did not come through as it had in the past.

I will go back and get it again because I feel that one batch was a fluke, but my patience for bland mac is not unlimited.

Review: Newk's Eatery

The Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich is currently gripping the nation. The quality is very high and as an alternative to Chic-Fil-A, it’s only a plus. My aunt and I went to the local Popeye’s to taste test and it was packed. Unreasonably so. After 10 minutes of waiting in line, the cashier informs us the much sought after sandwich is sold out. The 10-15 cars in the drive-thru were also out of luck but wouldn’t find out till much later when they’re stuck in the funnel. I had no Plan B. Regroup! Enter Newk’s Eatery.

This is my second time here in the last few months or so. It not often disappointing, even though I’ve only gotten a few different items during my time at Newk’s. The Five Cheese Mac & Cheese is terrible. The first time I visited, I ordered a nice big salad which was chock full of greens, meat, and other vegetables. My aunt got the kid’s pizza. This is rather tiny but smelled great. I vowed to get it the next time I went.

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Little Newk’s Pepperoni Pizza - While my hand was forced due to only having 700 or so calories left in my day, it was a pleasant situation. This pizza is rather small, but mighty tasty. The flavor is what a pepperoni pizza should taste like. Newk’s has all kinds of other pizza toppings. You needn’t waste time choosing. Now I can only imagine what the big one is like.

Review: Miss Shirley’s

I had been to Miss Shirley’s a few years ago and remembered it being really good. I got something that was market price and really enjoyed it. This visit could not have been more the opposite. The service was kind of slow despite the lack of customers in the dining room and the food was a big meh.

The first thing I noticed was the difficulty in finding a meal or food item that wasn’t super high calories or a breakfast item that was not loaded with sugar. The specials were strawberry kiwi pancakes (I think, I can’t really remember because I was shocked at how much sugar was in these items) and french toast stuffed with key lime cream cheese. I couldn’t find any nutritional information on their menu or website, so calorie counters beware.

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BBQ Chicken Fried Deviled Eggs - Everyone at the table was intrigued with the fried deviled eggs, however, no one could eat them for a good five minutes before the server gave us small plates. She thought “they were all for me.” When it came to eating them, I found the egg to overpower the BBQ and the chicken. One goes for deviled eggs for the egg, so I guess I couldn’t expect too much variation from that flavor or formula.

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Southern Slammer Sandwich - According to the menu, this sandwich is the “Best Breakfast Sandwich in America, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine.” I have no idea of the competition that year, but the best word to describe this sandwich is “OK.” Pumpernickel has very strong flavor and often overpowers the rest of the ingredients. The other ingredients range from a fried egg to fried green tomatoes. My dinner calories just shrunk to almost nothing after I finished. The fried green tomato was rather watery, but that could be how they are normally. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve had them solo. I’m not a fan of unwieldy sandwiches and this one was hard to ensure all ingredients remained inside while eating. I would not order this again.

Watermelon Feta Salad - My introduction to the wonders of watermelon continue with this dish. I ordered it as a side instead of grits to cut calories and introduce a little color and vegetable into my meal. After not liking watermelon for the better part of 99% of my life, I’m finally coming around. So far I have yet to eat just straight watermelon. It’s always been served with cheese. I think that’s the way to go. Something savory along with the fruit. This salad had watermelon, feta, cucumber, and onion. Delicious. The best thing I ate during that meal.