First Day Back at Panera

I made the choice to return to Panera Bread and my old and new coworkers. Today was my first day back, in shiny new non-slip shoes.

A couple things changed since I was there last: The panini presses were replaced with stone grills similar to the toaster in Subway. But with fancy stone and pizza-oven-like paddles for pulling sandwiches out of them. New food items!

I was looking forward to my favorite sandwich from last fall, the turkey cranberry flatbread. I was so excited about getting to eat it again, only to find out that it isn’t on the menu! We do have a new ham sandwich and a new Cuban sandwich. I haven’t tried the ham sandwich yet. I had the Cuban sandwich with extra slices of the sweet and spicy pickles for dinner, and it was really good! The garlic mustard and the delayed effect of the pickles paired with ham, pulled pork, and Swiss cheese was delicious!

Talking about the menu items makes me think of an idea for a blog post or several. Working at Panera, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the ingredients as well as what flavor combinations pair well together, and delicious modifications to the regular items. If you’d like a guide to the menu, what I like, how I modify it and why, comment below! I’d love to know you’re interested.

I learned how to make the new sandwiches and use and clean the new grills. I also noticed problems with how some of the new people are doing their work and plan to set an example to work on improving things.

The problems:

(1) The mid-shifters weren’t flipping pans every day. We’re supposed to get new pans and move the ingredients from their current pans into the new pans and make sure they have a current label telling when they expire. I made sure all the pans were flipped today, and I will continue doing that everyday I work.

(2) No one marked when the grills were cleaned. After my coworker and I cleaned the grills, I wrote in the little box for Thursday “Both” so the closer tomorrow knows both grills were cleaned. The boxes for earlier in the week are all empty. Hopefully other people will start marking when and which grill they clean.

(3) No one else takes all the supports in the bars to be cleaned. When we close, we put all the pans in the bar into the pull-out refrigerated drawers beneath the bar. I take out all the supports, including the four on the outside edges, to the dishwasher to be cleaned. When I asked the dishwasher if he’d rinse the long bars for me, he said he could, but no one had ever done that before. I plan to suggest to the other workers that they do that as well to improve the cleanliness of the bars.

I had a great first day back at Panera, and I’m sure I’ll have a great day tomorrow too!

Comment below if you’d like a post about the Panera menu items and what your favorite menu item is!

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The Coffee Explorations: Sam’s Choice Mandheling Sumatra

I bought a French press a couple months ago and want to figure out what kind of coffee I like best because we only had an espresso maker at my house before. It might be interesting later for me to look back and see what I thought about various coffees while I was drinking them for the first time. For those of you who also love coffee, you might enjoy this post as well. I also wrote about Starbucks Sumatra, the Papa Nicholas House Roast, and the Papa Nicholas Hawaiian Roast.

I actually still haven’t finished the Hawaiian Roast, but my dad bought some Sumatra so I wanted to try it.

It had a strong, rich dark smell when I opened it. The finished coffee smells the same.

With cream and raw sugar it is smooth and dark and sweet but not too sweet. I want to taste the coffee, not hide it.

It’s really good. I’m not sure how it compares taste-wise to the Fresh Thyme, but it’s far better than the Starbucks.

It seems I like medium and dark roasts better. Perhaps that is due to my experience with espresso after mostly not having coffee for years. I’ll never know.

The rating: 7/10.

(Today’s rating is based solely on taste with no adjustment for the price as I didn’t purchase it.)

Poetry Prompts: “Apple Dumplings”

Recently I have been struggling with my writing habits and motivation to work on things. To add some more fun to writing poetry and get some fodder for inspiration, I decided to find some poetry prompts.

If you have any suggestions for poetry topics or writing prompts that struck your fancy, share them in the comments!


The prompt, taken from Think Written: Grandma’s Kitchen

 

Image result for apple dumplings
Apple Dumplings (picture credit)

 

“Apple Dumplings”

An evening long ago,

distant, as it feels,

a lesson in preparing

an after-dinner treat.

We core apples,

mix cinnamon and sugar,

roll out pie crusts,

butter the lot.

Together we made

apple dumplings

and small pieces of

cinnamon sugar pie crust.

The Coffee Explorations: Papa Nicholas Hawaiian Roast

This is perhaps an unusual post for a mostly creative-content blog. I bought a French press a month or so ago and don’t know what kind of coffee I like best because we only had an espresso maker at my house before. It might be interesting later for me to look back and see what I thought about various coffees while I was drinking them for the first time. For those of you who also love coffee, you might enjoy this post as well. I also wrote about Starbucks Sumatra and the Papa Nicholas House Roast.

This addition to the series has been a long time coming, as it took a while to drink a whole bag of coffee.

When I opened the bag this morning, I liked the smell of the grounds. It was not quite as “Wow that smells amazing” as the House Roast, but it was good. After steeping the grounds in boiling water in my French press, the coffee smelled slightly bitter but with a noticeable tinge of another smell. I’m not sure what it was, exactly, I’m still trying to decipher it, but it was good.

My first taste, after raw cane sugar and heavy whipping cream, was that it is very smooth. It has a stereotypically coffee flavor to it, followed by a sweet and tangy after taste reminiscent of the second smell I noticed.

It’s good, but I would like it to be stronger. It’s a light roast, so perhaps I prefer medium or dark roasts.

Overall, I give this coffee a 7/10 for flavor.

I’ll try brewing it with additional scoops of coffee in the press to see if that makes any difference.

 

 

The Coffee Explorations: Papa Nicholas House Roast

This is perhaps an unusual post for a mostly creative-content blog. I recently bought a French press and haven’t the slightest idea what kind of coffee I like because we only had an espresso maker at my house before. It might be interesting later for me to look back and see what I thought about various coffees while I was drinking them for the first time. For those of you who also love coffee, you might enjoy this post as well.

I also wrote about Starbucks Sumatra.

When I opened the bag of coffee grounds, a pleasant coffee aroma hit my nose. I hoped that this would be a sure sign of enjoying the taste as well. I was not disappointed. I initially chose this coffee at Walmart because it had a one dollar off coupon attached to it with no clue whether it was a good choice. Now I think it was.

Two scoops of coffee grounds steeped in a “four cup” French press in boiling water for seven minutes. After I filtered out the grounds, I poured both cups into my large Harry Potter mug emblazoned with the crest of Slytherin. Yesterday I found the second cup of coffee poured to be a bit thin, and this might be a way to combat that.

I smelled the black coffee; it had a rich smell similar to the grounds. I tend to dislike black coffee because of its bitterness, so I declined to sip it black. I stirred in raw sugar and then heavy whipping cream. Sipped it. It was hot and smooth and delicious.

Without the coupon, it was $5.48 plus tax. I would buy it again, with or without a dollar off. I’ll probably try more of their roasts in the future.

I give Papa Nicholas House Roast an 8/10 for price and an 8/10 for taste.

The Coffee Explorations: Starbucks Sumatra

This is perhaps an unusual post for a mostly creative-content blog. I recently bought a French press and haven’t the slightest idea what kind of coffee I like because we only had an espresso maker at my house before. It might be interesting later for me to look back and see what I thought about various coffees while I was drinking them for the first time. For those of you who also love coffee, you might enjoy this post as well.

When I opened the cabinet with the tea and coffee this morning, I discovered that while I had bought coffee on Friday, my dad had bought coffee as well. Since we had a little of the Fresh Thyme Sumatra left and he had bought Starbucks Sumatra, I decided to make my mixed cup entirely Sumatra.

I used one scoop of Fresh Thyme Sumatra coffee grounds and one scoop of Starbucks Sumatra grounds. When I opened the Starbucks bag, it had a noticeably over-roasted smell to it, especially compared to the Fresh Thyme. The grounds were also a slightly darker color.

Once the coffee was ready, I used heavy whipping cream and raw cane sugar as is my preference. I also have dry hazelnut creamer but I wanted to get a better idea of how this coffee tasted before using it.

Just like it smells, it tastes a bit over-roasted, not a lot, but the Fresh Thyme Sumatra is definitely better. I probably will not be drinking it again after today. Unless I run out of the coffee I bought, which I’ll review tomorrow when I make it.

I give Starbucks Sumatra a 5/10.

If I try it alone I’ll update the review according to how it tastes without Fresh Thyme Sumatra too.