Home Run Inn Cheese Pizza Review

My new favorite frozen pizza

The final frozen pizza on sale at Safeway last week was Chicago’s Home Run Inn pizza. I got both a cheese and a pepperoni one and my daughter made the cheese. We both loved it. It’s hard to describe a pizza, but this one reminded me of the pizza served at La Vals in Berkeley when I want to college. It’s quite a bit thinner, but flavor wise it’s very close to what I can remember. It is probably my favorite frozen pizza ever.

Signature Reserve Wood Fired Gorgonzola & Bacon with Pear Chutney Neapolitan Style Pizza Review

A success!

Safeway had a bunch of frozen pizzas on sale this week, so it seemed like a good opportunity of giving them a try. I’m not generally fond of thin crusted pizza (which is what I gather Safeway means by “Neapolitan style”), but it’s overall healthier.

This flavor particularly intrigued me, as pear and gorgonzola pair beautifully and bacon could only make it better. This time, I was right. The flavors actually all worked very well and the pizza was very good. I’d have it again (despite its crispy, thin crust).

Gorgonzola by itself would be overwhelming, so the pizza also has mascarpone and Mozarella cheeses – but I had to read it in the box, as it’s not apparent. The predominant flavor is gorgonzola, but in a reasonable amount. I did like both the bacon and the arugula, but felt it could have used more of both. The pear came in the way of a very sweet chutney. Of course, fresh pears would be better – or even a less sweet chutney, but it did provide a nice note to the pizza.

It’s made me want to try the other pizzas from this series – though only as long as they’re on sale for $6.

Gino’s East of Chicago Deep Dish Gooey Mozzarella Cheese Pizza Review

The worst frozen pizza I’ve ever tasted

I absolutely love Chicago style deep dish pizza, so when I saw that Gino’s East of Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas were on sale at Safeway for $6, I had to give it a try. The reviews were so good that I got both a Mozzarella cheese one and a Supreme. Boy, was I disappointed!

The pizza tastes of one thing and one thing only: pasta sauce. And while it’s not a bad pasta sauce, it’s not a great one either. On top of some spaghetti, with some Parmesan cheese on top, I might even enjoy it. But it just does not belong on pizza. I am aware that the sauce for Chicago style pizza, unlike that for other pizzas, is cooked – so it lacks the fresh, fragrant flavor of raw sauce. But they still tend to taste different than pasta sauce. Zacchary’s, my favorite Chicago-style stuffed pizza chain in the Bay Area, uses a sauce very similar to just stewed tomatoes, which retains much of the freshness of the raw fruit. Gino’s sauce while still chunky, is really a melded sauce. It’s hard to describe other than it really makes you think of spaghetti sauce.

And while the sauce is on top, as is the custom for Chicago-style pizza, I couldn’t remove enough of it to be able to taste the other ingredients. It was just a mess. No one else in the family liked it either. I hate to waste food, but I ended up giving it to the dog.

It takes 45 minutes on a pre-heated oven to heat up this pizza. I was pre-warned by reading reviews, but you should be aware. At $6 for a 2 Lb pizza, it’s not a bad value while on sale. It should feed two people (or more if you are eating a salad or something else).

Chain Restaurant Reviews: Black Angus Has Gotten Expensive

Then again, so has every restaurant.

I’ve never been one to go to steak houses. Cooking a steak is among the easiest and quickest things in the world* and it’s far, far cheaper to do so at home. Still, after years of getting Black Angus flyers in the mail, I finally decided to give it a try and was surprised that I liked it. The steaks were fine, nothing special, but the advertised Campfire Feast came with plenty of other food that I was far less likely to cook, and was overall a good deal. Over the years before the pandemic, we visited the Black Angus in San Lorenzo many times, then the pandemic came and I pretty much forgot about Black Angus – as our local one doesn’t have outdoor dining.

For some reason, I’ve been having a hankering for food from chain restaurants lately. I can’t explain it, but just in the last week or so I’ve ordered from Panera and Panda Express and got a craving for Black Angus. Nothing specific, just the whole experience. I looked up the Campire Feast and was somewhat amazed at seeing that it now cost $69 ! That’s a 40% increase over the 2020 price ($49). Yes, I know that both food and restaurant prices have gotten ridiculous – but I thought this increase really exemplified how inflation has hit lower middle class Americans – the ones that will eat at Black Angus as a special treat. Salaries most certainly have not gone up by 40% since.

But I digress. I found a Groupon that had the meal for $54, and decided to head there a Thursday night in April, with my husband and younger daughter. I was not overly surprised at how empty the once viving restaurant was. In our pre-pandemic days, there was always a wait and it was always full. No longer.

I don’t think I like Black Angus as much when it’s so sleepy – I think perhaps some of the attraction of chains is the energy you get from other people -, but besides that, it hadn’t change much. Service was good and friendly, and the food was very close to what I remembered.

The Campfire Feast includes a single appetizer, two entrees, four sides, and a dessert. There are several options to choose from within each category, some at a premium, usually $2 to $10. My daughter is not a big eater, so she decided she’d share with us and only order a side salad.

We started with their warm molasses bread which is served with whipped butter (photo taken after we’d consumed most of it). My daughter is particularly fond of this and she enjoyed it as usual. I think the main thing this bread has going for it is that it’s served warm, but different strokes for different folks.

As an appetizer, we all shared the steak quesadilla ($15, $2 supplement to Campfire Feast). I think they might have changed the cut of steak they use in the last few years, it was tougher than I remembered and less juicy. But the quesadilla was fine. It no longer comes with guacamole, which is an additional $2.

I ordered the ribeye steak ($33, $5 supplement to Campfire Feast) with a side of mac & cheese and a side of au gratin potatoes. The au gratin potatoes were pretty good. They were cooked in a thin cheese sauce, and while I’d had preferred a stronger cheese flavor, there was enough of it to cover the potatoes.

As for the steak, it was on the thin side. I was expecting this based on reviews I’d read, and would have preferred a much thicker one (and it’s definitely not worth the $33 full price), but it was OK. It was cooked medium rare as I ordered it, it didn’t have an inordinate amount of grizzle, and it was pretty tasty. It made me think I should consider cooking my steaks on herbed butter (though to be honest, it can be a bit too rich). It was large enough that on top of the potatoes and part of the quesadilla, I couldn’t finish it and I took about half of it home.

Mike ordered a full slab of BBQ pork ribs ($33, $6 supplement to Campfire Feast) to share with my daughter, and two sides of broccoli (given that each one is only a couple of florettes). They both were happy with both choices, though the ribs had too much sauce for their liking. Solid food, nothing amazing.

My daughter also ordered a Caesar salad as a side ($7 as an extra side). She liked that the croutons were made from the molasses bread and overall liked the salad.

My daughter wanted the Chocolate Chip Cowboy Cookie ($9) and really, it’s delicious. It’s hot out of the even, with melting, gooey chocolate chips. It needs perhaps a little bit more of ice cream, as without it it’s too sweet. There was enough of it to satisfy the three of us – though only because Mike only had a bite. It’s more of a two-person dessert.

My daughter had the pomegranate lemonade ($5) and she liked it. It comes in a very large glass and tasted quite fresh to me.

Service was fine, and friendly, and the whole meal ended up costing around $100 after tax and tip – not bad for these post-pandemic times, but not a bargain either.

Black Angus
15800 Hesperian Blvd
San Lorenzo, CA
(510) 276-1400
M - Th 3 PM - 10 PM
F - Su 12 PM - 10 PM

* How to cook a steak: Heat up a skillet to medium high. Trim the steak. Place the trimmings on the pan, allow to melt, and then coat the bottom of the pan with the melting fat. Add the steak and cook for a minute, turn and cook for another minute. Turn heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. Turn and cook for another 3-5 minutes. You’re done.

Santa Cruz Nosh: Akira

Plenty of vegetarian options are a draw at this popular Japanese restaurant

Akira is a very well regarded Japanese restaurant in Santa Cruz. A casual eatery, it doesn’t take reservations and the wait can get quite long. On that early Monday evening in April, we perhaps had to wait for 10 minutes, but it got very crowded soon after. They do have some chairs outside where you can sit while you wait and some patio eating, though it was perhaps too cool for anyone to want to seat outside that evening.

The restaurant itself is quite small, with some seating at the sushi bar. It’s very casual and it doesn’t have much atmosphere to speak of. While our waiter was very pleasant, the kitchen forgot to make the sushi rolls we ordered, and it was quite a while before the waiter realized that. He did ask us if we wanted some edamame ($5) while we waited, but we were charged for it. No matter, we were celebrating friend Libby’s birthday and we were in a good mood.

What annoyed me the most about Akira is the fact that they hide their menu. If you go to the menu page in their website, it refers you to a QR code, rather than just showing you the menu. In any case, you can see it here.

Libby, a vegetarian, had the Veggie Dragon roll ($18.75 – Tempura Green Beans, Tempura Yam, Spicy Nuts, Fried Garlic, Shiso topped w/ Avocado, Shoestring Yams, Unagi Sauce, Spicy Sesame Miso Aioli and Toasted Sweet Coconut). Libby liked it quite a bit, and would have it again. There are plenty of other vegetarian options, so this is a good place to come if you have vegetarians among you.

Mike ordered the Golden frieza ($23 – Tempura’d roll w/ Habanero Tuna, Skirt
Steak, Tempura Onion, Avocado, Cream Cheese, Jalapeño, Fried Garlic topped w/ Unagi Sauce, Basil Aioli, Spicy Mayo and Green Onion). He was disappointed with it. The roll tasted fine and he liked it, but he wasn’t awed by it. He was expecting something more, more flavor, more contrasting textures, just something that would surprise him. It was a large roll, and he did take home some of it.

I had the 2 item Bento Dinner with Skirt Steak Teriyaki and Chicken Katsu ($28). It also came with a miso soup, salad and rice. I loved the salad. The sweetish dressing was absolutely delicious and might have been my favorite part of the meal. The skirt steak, however, was very good. Nicely grilled and juicy. I was less fond of the chicken katsu. It came with the katsu sauce on top, and the sauce was thick and concentrated, with too sour and intense a flavor for confort. I wouldn’t order it again. This was a huge plate of food, as you can see, and I was happy to have the leftovers for the next day.

Both Mike and I had miso soup ($4.75), mine came with the meal while Mike ordered himself a bowl. It was good, very flavorful, but nothing particularly special. The soup is not vegetarian, so Libby couldn’t enjoy it.

In all, we had a pleasant dinner but not a mind blowing one. We’d go back to Akira, if the wait wasn’t too crazy.

Akira
1222 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz, CA
(831) 600-7093
Daily 11:30am–9pm

A Foodie in Oakland: Jo’s Modern Thai

It turns out you can make Thai food even better.

Let’s be honest, Thai food is absolutely delicious. Mind blowing yummy. With its expert combination of sweet, sour and spicy flavorings, and a complete mastering of umami, Thai cuisine ranks among the best in the world. Take your average strip mall Thai joint in Los Angeles and compare it to a three star Michelin star restaurant, and on flavors alone, the Thai joint might very well win. Indeed, one of the most amazing things about Thai food, is how consistently good it is (at least in California). Sure, you can find some duds once in a while, but those seem to be the exception.

So, I was very curious to find out how the very well reviewed and quite expensive Jo’s Modern Thai could elevate Thai food even further. Was it possible to “modernize it,” whatever that meant, in a way that it would improve it rather than just bastardize it? Was there anything new to be done to dishes that achieved perfection after hundreds of years of evolution? It turns out, the answer is a resounding yes. Thai cuisine can be modernized and elevated, and Jo’s Modern Thai is at the forefront of this movement.

I went to Modern Thai with a group of girlfriends for a busy and loud (middle aged) girls’ night out. Thus I didn’t take any photos of the food, nor do I have detailed recollections of every dish – beyond saying that my mind was blown. I will, of course, return to Modern Thai again for a more careful review. But meanwhile, here is what I recall us having.

Coconut Cakes ($22 for 4). These come with “Tom Kha scallops and shrimp ceviche, trout roe, makrut, bird’s eye chili, cilantro.” I’m not a huge fan of seafood, and I do hate shrimp, but I loved these. The combination of flavors was really on point, with the cakes adding very nice hints of coconuts.

Crying Tiger ($17 for 4). These consisted of small slices of grilled short ribs, served on top of sticky rice in some sort of leaf and topped with “tomato jaew sauce, pomegranate, shiso, herbs.” They were quite spicy, thus the name, but also absolutely delicious. A great combination of flavors.

Green Papaya Salad ($16) . I don’t personally remember this salad. We ordered two, and I remember people particularly raving over one of them – but I’m not sure if it was this one or the other one, and I’m not sure what the other one was.

Lobster Pad Thai ($32) I’m not a fan of lobster – though those who were, loved it here -, but I absolutely loved the pad thai itself. You can also order it plain.

Drunken Noodle ($26) I was blown away by the smokiness of these noodles – not just the BBQ brisket. They were absolutely delicious.

Massaman Curry ($25) This is a vegetarian dish, and it was actually quite good. It was, however, spicy.

Pork Belly Curry ($27) & Beef Cheek Green Curry ($33) I can’t remember either of these, though I do know I enjoyed them. They were both medium spicy, but I didn’t have an issue with them.

Pork Laab Burger ($17) I remember this being tastier than I expected, but I only had a bite.

We might have had other food, and I know this is very unhelpful – I really should have written this review right away, but I do know that all in all I was blown away by all the food. There was nothing that I didn’t really like. That is, until it come to dessert.

Pretty much everyone at the table ordered the salted Thai tea panna cotta ($14) and only one person sort of liked it. The dessert wasn’t sweet at all, and it had an off putting taste. It’s dessert, I guess, for people who hate dessert. I had reluctantly ordered the mango sticky rice ($14) and fared much, much, much better. They basically took what is a common Thai dessert, concentrated the flavors, and served it in a small glass. The sticky rice pudding was topped by both mango sorbet and chopped mango, with coconut cream sauce and pandan rice krispies for texture. Absolutely delicious and worth the hefty price.

Pretty much everyone got cocktails and everyone raved about them. I didn’t taste any, so I can’t comment on them.

Service was impecable, very friendly, attentive, informative.

All in all, it was an amazing girl’s night out with incredible food, and I look forward to returning – and writing a more detailed review.

Jo's Modern Thai
3725 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA
(510) 479-3167
Tuesday - Thursday:5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday - Saturday:5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sunday:5:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Chain Restaurant Reviews: Panda Express is Fast, Good and Cheap

In the post-pandemic world, Panda Chef still delivers an affordable family meal.

Restaurant food has become crazy expensive, and we’ve been eating out a lot, so I wanted someplace cheap to go for Mother’s Day. Well, not as much go – because Mother’s Day is too crazy a day to actually dine out – but get take out from. Enter Panda Express. They have a family meal that consists of 3 family size (26 oz) entrees and 2 family size sides for $35 (some entrees were an extra $5) And they had a $5 off coupon for mother’s day. And let me tell you, 78 oz of food is a lot of food, more than enough for four people. I don’t know that you can get a cheaper meal anywhere anymore.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, they also had a deal that gave you a free bowl of your choice ($9) if you bought $30 in gift cards. You can’t use more than one coupon at the time, so I had to order the bowl separately. That required a $10 minimum purchase, so I added a $2 egg roll. All in all, for under $40 tax included, we had a pretty good meal.

Now, Panda Express food is not extraordinary – but it’s consistent and fine. This is what we got:

Orange chicken has been one of Panda Express’ most popular dishes forever. It’s highly breaded, with a thick sticky sweet-spicy orange sauce, and it’s pretty tasty. Of course, you’re eating mostly breading.

Beijing beef is actually pretty similar to orange chicken, but has a slightly less orangey taste and the pieces are smaller. it also comes with slices of onion and red pepper. It consists of breaded beef in a tangy, sticky, sweet and spicy sauce. Also pretty good, though both of them were too much.

The Honey Walnut Shrimp is, once again, sickingly sweet, but Mike liked it. It’s an additional $5 if you order this.

As my first side I got the chow mein. It consists of very thin wheat noodles, with a nice chewiness, a lot of shredded cabbage and some onion slices. In all, the chow mein isn’t very flavorful and it’s in need of something else – soy sauce? They forgot to add some to my order, unfortunately. There is also way too much cabbage. It’s a cheap filler, I guess.

The second side was the “super greens“. On the website it looked like it would be steamed broccoli. Instead, it was a combo of cabbage leaves and broccoli, heavy on the former. Yes, I know, cabbage is cheap. But it’s definitely not a super green. The veggies are steamed and made up for the very sweet entrees.

I also ordered a chicken eggroll ($2) and it was pretty good. It’s rather large, so well priced, and while the flavor is mild, it’s pretty good for an egg roll.

Not long after this order, my daughter had a hankering for Panda Express again, and given how affordable this deal is (particularly if you first buy a gift card and get a free bowl out of it), I decided to go for it.

I got the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, and I think this will probably be my to-go choice in the future, because it does seem to be the best value. Unlike the picture in the website, this consisted of grilled chicken thigh, coarsely cut into pieces and mixed with their mandarin teriyaki sauce. The chicken itself lacked seasoning and there wasn’t enough sauce, but that was simply remedied by adding salt and more teriyaki sauce. It was good. Not great, but good for the price.

I can’t say the same about the Broccoli Beef. The dish consisted mostly of large broccoli florets with very few thin slices of beef – I think there might have been a dozen and a half in this family portion. Most importantly, the sauce was very milk and lacked flavor. You get a much better beef with broccoli from your local Chinese joint.

Panda Express
1271 Marina Blvd
San Leandro, CA
(510) 667-9585
M-Su 9 AM - 10:30 PM

Munching Around the Bay: Cafe Bliss in Belmont

A nice place for brunch

Our dear friend Charlotte was back in town for a holiday after moving abroad last summer, and she suggested we have brunch at Cafe Bliss, a little breakfast and lunch place in Belmont. It was a nice, relaxing place to have a bite in a quiet Sunday.

I had the creamy chicken crepe ($18), which comes with a choice of home potatoes or salad. I liked the salad, but I really loved the crepe. It comes with chicken, mushrooms, onions and jack cheese and is served with a wine creamy sauce. The sauce, of course, is what makes it. The only problem was that I was still a bit hungry afterwards, though I probably wouldn’t have been if I’d chosen potatoes instead of a salad. Still, given the price, I think the portion should have been larger.

Mike had the Pacific scramble ($18) which comes with smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, dill and lemon zest. It came with home potatoes and toast. He was happy with it, but not more than one would expect.

Charlotte had the Bliss omelette ($18) which comes with bacon, avocado, jack cheese, bell peppers and caramelized onions and she was also happy with it.

Service was professional and it was overall a pleasant experience.

Cafe Bliss
2039 Ralston Ave
Belmont, CA
(650) 595-1520
W-M 8 AM - 2 PM

San Leandro Bites: Rocky’s Charcoal Grill

Burger at this popular joint fall flat for me.

Located near Casa Peralta, Rocky’s Charcoal Grill has long been a favorite among burger aficionados in San Leandro. I reviewed it many years ago and I’d visited a handful of times over the years, mostly when I was in the neighborhood. I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but thought I’d give it another try in my quest for finding the best burger in San Leandro. So far, I’m sad to say, this isn’t it.

Rocky’s is a cute, tiny place. It has a handful of tables inside and outdoors and a small kitchen. They serve a large variety of burgers, some grilled sandwiches as well as a steak and ribs. They also have well regarded shakes. Burgers come without condiments, which you add yourself. They are all 1/3 lb.

I had the Guacaburger ($8.75), which came with guacamole. It was OK. The patty was thin, so on the dry side. I prefer juicy burgers, and this was not that. It did have a nice, not too strong, charcoal flavor but I felt the meat was under-seasoned. In all, this felt like a home made burger, which is not what I’m looking when I order one.

Mike had the Oaklandburger ($10.25) which includes Cheddar and Jack cheeses and bacon and comes in a sourdough bun. Mike liked his burger more than I did, though not as much as Nation’s.

I ordered a peanut butter milkshake ($6.25) to take home and wow, was it good. I’d definitely go back for those.

The people who work at Rocky’s are very friendly and the food was prompt.

Rocky’s Charcoal Grill
300 W. Estudillo Ave
San Leandro, California 94577
(510) 351-6228
rockyscharcoalgrill@comcast.net

Chain Restaurant Reviews: Panera has gotten worse

This chain sandwich store seems to have downgraded the quality of its sandwiches.

I discovered Panera during the pandemic, when I was looking for restaurants that offered family meals. I had heard, of course, of Panera before, but never felt compelled to try it. We had it several times during the pandemic, and I became a fan of their tomato soup and their steak and horseradish sandwiches. Still, after a while I forgot about it altogether until last week, when I got an e-mail with a free birthday pastry offer from them, and then saw them in the news for their literally killer drinks. So I got a craving and, after three years, I decided to order another family deal.

Panera has changed a bit since I last ordered. It still serves sandwiches, pastries, salads and soups, but the sandwiches themselves have changed. The prices have sort of increased as well, but it’s the quality going down that is the real problem.

Like in the past, I ordered a family deal. It’s now $36, up 24% from what it cost in 2021. It comes with 4 half-sandwiches, a salad, a quart of soup and a baguette. Pannera no longer has my favorite steak with horseradish sandwich, and instead they now sell a ciabatta cheesesteak ($15) that comes in a ciabatta roll and is served with Provolone cheese, caramelized onions, peppadew peppers and garlic aioli. Ciabatta is a very substantial roll which calls for a lot of filling for balance. This sandwich lacked it, which meant that the overall result was just too bready. Both the onions and the peppadews are served chopped and there were so many of the latter that they overwhelmed the sandwich, I could barely taste anything else. In all, I don’t think I’d order this sandwich again.


I liked the bacon avocado melt ($11) more, and it was probably my favorite of the four sandwiches I tried. It was also the one with the thinnest bread. The sandwich was very simple, but very tasty. It had bacon bits, melted cheddar and sliced avocado. It comes in sliced sourdough bread with chipotle aioli. It needed more avocado, but it was actually quite tasty.


The smokehouse BBQ chicken ($12) was just OK. The chicken itself had no flavor, so the sandwich tasted only of red onions and BBQ sauce. I liked the sauce well enough, but not enough to order it again. this sandwich also came in a ciabatta roll, and there wasn’t enough filling to balance all that bread.

Finally, we had the chicken bacon rancher ($14), which comes with pulled chicken, bacon bits, white cheddar and ranch sauce in a black pepper focaccia roll. The focaccia was good, but it really overwhelmed the filling. The chicken, again, was under-seasoned and while the bacon was able to carry the sandwich through, it wasn’t that exciting. I also wouldn’t order it again.

The tomato soup ($9.50 bowl/$26 quart) was just as good as I remember – but really not significantly better than the packaged Panera soup that you can get at the supermarket. Given that it’s just $10-12 for the 32-oz package at Safeway, it doesn’t seem worth it to get it at the restaurant (unless it’s part of a family deal as in this case). The baguette ($2.20) with a crunchy, hard exterior and a very chewy middle, is quite good.

Finally, both my husband and daughter really liked the Caesar Salad ($10.40). The vegetables are fresh and crisp and there is enough dressing to cover them all. In the past, the family meal included the more expensive chicken Caesar salad, but as my daughter prefers it without chicken, we are actually happy that they’ve removed it.

I might try the family deal again, but I’d probably try other sandwiches to see if any are substantially better.


I also got a cinnamon roll ($4.60) as dessert, given that I had a free pastry coupon. It was the end of the day, so it was hard, but after microwaving it, it loosened. It was quite tasty.

*Update*

A couple of days after this meal, Panera got me again by sending me a couple of big “rewards”. One gave me 50% off a single entree and the other gave me a free drink, treat or cup of soup with a $10 purchase. Of course, the two could not be combined – only one reward per purchase. But Panera still had its “get 15% off gift cards” promo, so I got that as an additional discount. In all, I spent $21 to get 2 sandwiches and a cup of food, which isn’t bad but not super great either.

For my sandwich, I started with the bacon avocado melt ($11) but I got it in focaccia bread, and added tomatoes and caramelized onions. The results were great. I liked it better than the original.


For my freebie, I got a cup of the French onion soup ($7.60), which comes with a piece of bread, a bag of chips or an apple – though they gave me both the bread and the chips. The soup was actually pretty good, it had a nice caramelized onion flavor which was deep but not too bitter. It did need more cheese. I would have added more, but I then would have had to warm the soup – which was barely warm by the time it got home. Still, it was quite satisfactory. In all, half a sandwich plus the soup was a satisfactory meal and left me stuffed, and considering that I have the other half of the sandwich for later, it was a great deal – but only because of the promo. I did read that promos become much more stingy the more you go to Panera, so this will probably be my last time.

I also use the 50% off promo (in a separate purchase) to get a ciabatta cheesesteak for my daughter and her boyfriend. I doubled the meat (and should have doubled the extra lettuce) and half a sandwich was sufficient for each one of them for a mid-afternoon snack. The discount didn’t apply to the extra meat, only to the original price of the sandwich.

While you can make up to five customizations on sandwiches you order by themselves, you can’t customize them in the family meal. So I think I will order Panera again if I get good coupons, but not otherwise.

Panera
24133 Southland Dr
Hayward, CA
(510) 732-0279
M-SU 7 AM - 8 PM