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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Panera Bread Holiday Offerings

True confession. I love Panera Bread so much that MyPanera card is so scratched up you can’t even read the barcode. So you can imagine how happy I was when a Panera franchise opened last summer in my neighborhood of Huntington Beach. One of the things I like about Panera Bread bakery-cafes are their seasonal menus (yes, and their strong free Wi-Fi!) For the holidays, they are taking comfort food to a delicious new level.

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Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Photo courtesy of Panera Bread

Consider the Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwich, with Vermont white cheddar, fontina cheese, reduced-fat chive and onion cream cheese spread on an Italian four cheese blend, melted to perfection on a thick traditional French white bread, called miche.

Try the Chicken Tortellini Alfredo Pasta, which is a rich blend of ricotta, Swiss and Romano cheeses in Alfredo sauce, topped with smoked, pulled antibiotic-free chicken and Asiago-parmesan cheese.

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Panera Bread Hot Cocoa. Photo courtesy of Panera Bread

Indulge in the new, decadent Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Marshmallows, which is made with premium dark chocolate, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and steamed milk, topped off with whipped cream, chocolate chip marshmallows and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. Now that’s a drink and dessert in one, with a dash of holiday spirit!

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Panera Bread Holiday Bread. Photo courtesy of Panera Bread

Other holiday menu additions include the Peppermint Mocha, Holiday Bread, Cranberry Walnut Bagel, Red Velvet Crinkle and Christmas Tree Cookies.

By the way, kudos to Pride Bakeries, the Panera Bread franchisee in North Orange County for being recognized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation for contributing over $12,500 through the Panera Bread Community Breadbox™ program, through which all customer donations went directly to Make-A-Wish Orange County last year (2012). In addition, from July 31 – September 30, 2013, Panera Bread in Huntington Beach donated $1 for every new MyPanera loyalty card opened during that period, to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. It’s always nice to know there are companies in our own neighborhoods that are always looking for ways to pay it forward.

Marcie Taylor is a freelance writer and social media strategist. She writes about travel, food, business, and digital entertainment. She is an adventurous foodie but admittedly an average home cook. Having grown up in Asia, eating weird wasn’t so weird where she feasted on pigs ears, blood stew, and ox tongue on a regular basis. She lives in Huntington Beach with her husband and two sons, where she publishes surfcityfamily.com Follow her on Twitter @suburbanmama; Instagram @marcietaylor and marcietaylor.com

Author was a guest of Panera Bread for research of the story

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