PEr FYI

December 20, 2014

Panera Bread, Washington DC…reliable, tasty, somewhat healthy

I have a love hate relationship with the Panera Bread. Love the food. Panera is officially my go to spot for bread and soup…they have a large variety of bread, pastries, and sandwiches. Hate the lacklustre service staff. Panera is also the first in its industry to post calorie information voluntarily at all company-owned cafes.

I always go for the “Pick 2” option which allows you to combine 2 of the following: Half Pasta · Cup of Soup · Half Sandwich · Half Salad.  It comes to around $9-10 but more than anything else, it is the perfect portion size for me! Their soups especially when served in the soup bread bowl, are so DELISH and good enough to pop up in my dreams!!! The bread had a nice crunch to and it was fresh.

I am not saying Panera Bread is the best place ever.  But then again, there are times when you are not looking to be fancy and you need a reliable, tasty, somewhat healthy (oh, the sodium!) meal and Panera is just the spot. This is the true truth as I say it as it is….

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December 10, 2014

Coastal Flats, Washington DC…the best seafood is no longer relegated to the coastline

Coastal Flats specializes in American seafood fare. The tropical decor at the entrance – a colorful metal fish hanging from the ceiling above the hostess stand – reminded me of theme restaurants like Planet Hollywood and Rainforest Cafe but I was pleasantly surprised. Our waitress was friendly, cheery, engaging and knew her facts about the menu. The restaurant is located in Tyson’s Corner – my absolute fav mall in Washington DC.

It didn’t start well. The classic crab and corn chowder turned out to be “big time salt lick.” They over-seasoned with salt and it buried the expected sweetness of the corn. It was a seriously salty soup. Just avoid the salt shaker for the rest of the day. Grouper fingers – an arsenal of crisply fried fillets (all meat, no filler) in coastal flats lager beer battered tartar sauce, accompanied with shoestring fries and extra chunky home made coleslaw – was very fresh and true to its word, crispy, perfectly fried and generously portioned. I sometimes run out of adjectives to replace words like ”really good” and this is one of those times. Jumbo lump crab cake sauteed with fries and coleslaw were also amazingly crispy and flavorful.  Lord, lord, it was heaven in my mouth!! It was the second place so far for me where I got to eat really good crab cakes, the first being at Old Ebbit’s Grill.

The best seafood is no longer relegated to the coastline. Coastal Flats is an interesting experience – and you’ll be amply rewarded for taking the plunge. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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