Power Steak Lettuce Wraps @ Panera

Panera launched their “Hidden Menu” earlier in the year and unfortunately (and oddly) enough the menu is not listed in-stores, but it is featured on the company’s website. This, like many hidden menu options, means many folks don’t know what healthier alternatives are available.  One thing I’ve noticed when ordering off the Hidden Menu at Panera locations, is that I need to know the exact name of the dish or the individual taking the order typically thinks I want a different dish. I will say, the longer the hidden menu has been active, the easier ordering off it has become.
With that, I decided to give the Power Steak Lettuce Wraps a shot.  The meal is quite simply loaded with power foods – and power foods are right up my alley.  The dish is pulled together with slices of steak, lettuce, tomato, red onions, cucumbers and a basil pesto drizzle. The dish is to also be accompanied by a fresh lemon for squeezing, but my salad did not have one present, which was fine because the basil pesto drizzle was more than enough.
Flavor wise the dish is delicious – it has that light quality from salad, but it’s bold with fresh vegetable flavors, pesto and good quality cut of steak (which is served chilled).  It’s listed as a “steak lettuce wraps” but trying to make a wrap out of this dish would be far too messy to even contemplate. So a fork and a knife do the trick and may very well keep you from wearing your lunch or dinner.
The meal itself is 210 calories or 5 points plus values. Quite worth it in my opinion!
If you’re interested in checking out any of the other items on Panera’s hidden menu, go to http://www.paneranutrition.com/and search under “Hidden Menu” and choose your item for nutrition information.
What is your favorite dish to get at Panera?

Power Chicken Hummus Bowl @ Panera

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Did you know that Panera has a hidden menu?  This menu is hidden because well, it’s not advertised on the Panera menu itself – you have to know what it is you want to order. You can check out the 6 options available off the hidden menu here.  While if you’re wondering what the nutrition facts are (or maybe are interested in calculating the Points Plus values) for these said items, you can find that information here. In order to obtain the nutrition information you need to select “Hidden Menu” from the Choose a Menu Category on the left-hand side drop down menu.
Two of my friends from high school wanted to get together for dinner since one was up visiting from New Jersey.  Panera was decided on, so I did my research and decided I was going to order the Power Chicken Hummus Bowl because it looked the most appetizing to me in that very instance.  According to the Panera hidden menu the salad consisted of all-natural antibiotic-free chicken with a cilantro jalapeno hummus, baby spinach, cucumbers, diced tomatoes and red onions.  It’s supposed to be garnished with chopped cilantro and topped with a fresh squeezed lemon.
When ordering my bowl I forgot the name of it and started saying “I want the grilled chicken….” The girl taking my menu asked “Caesar salad?” I said (having a big major brain freeze) “No, no .. umm… it’s the hummus bowl!” to which she replied, “Oh okay, from that menu.” I do have this odd thing about eating cold poultry (aside from deli meat) so I asked if the chicken was served hot or cold.  I was told cold, but they can heat it if requested.  So, I of course, requested for it to be heated!  My order was put through, I was given my buzzer and I waited for my salad to be prepped.
Picking up my salad at the counter, I thought it looked appetizing. I love hummus and the hummus was drizzled over the whole salad.  The veggies and chicken were plentiful and I was satisfied.  I did find, since it was missing the lemon finish it was a little dry, so I had some fat free poppyseed dressing to dip my fork into to give it a bit of wetness.  The great thing about the fat free poppyseed is 2 tablespoons is only 1 points plus!  Overall, I was quite pleased with my meal and I would definitely order it again.
The salad was pretty big, packed with power foods, it was filling AND it was only 8 points plus values!
Have you tried anything from the hidden menu at Panera? Or did you even know there was a hidden menu?