Right Stuff vs. Food Porn
HIDDEN & HEALTHY
"#DidYouKnow we now offer a Hidden Menu? Check out our fresh twist on some of your favorite menu items."
With that January 9th tweet, Panera (@panerabread) announced a new secret menu to its Twitter followers.
As of February, the menu was still hidden. The stores offer no clue, but if you ask, they're happy to take your order. Ask.
The Hidden Menu has six "Power" meals. That means they have fewer calories, "limited processed carbs," and are an "excellent source of protein." They're also free of salty, fatty ingredients like cheese, commercial salad dressing, and fried tortilla strips.
For breakfast, try the Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey (and baby spinach, roasted red bell pepper, and pesto). It's got 190 calories, 25 grams of protein, only 1 gram of saturated fat, and no bread or other refined carbs. Sodium (500 milligrams) is the only downside.
For lunch, choose from the Chicken Hummus Bowl, Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad, or Steak Lettuce Wraps. All have 280 to 360 calories and 22 to 35 grams of protein. The sodium (310 to 590 mg) is surprisingly low for a restaurant lunch. (Exception: the Roasted Turkey has 830 mg, but you can trim it to 380 mg if you skip the olives and pepperoncini.)
The olive oil packet holds a tablespoon—the perfect amount to complement the fresh-squeezed lemon juice that comes on the salads.
Don't eat meat? Panera is often willing to swap ingredients. Psst. Pass it on.
Panera: (314) 984-1000
"Ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso and coffee liqueur layered with Mascarpone, dusted with cocoa powder and served with chocolate shavings." That's how Maggiano's Little Italy describes its Tiramisu.
And when it arrives at your table, you won't think "big splurge." It's not a towering slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory or a pizza-sized cookie from Uno Chicago Grill. Tiramisu looks like, well, a mini-splurge.
That diminutive rectangle holds 830 calories and 28 grams of saturated fat (1½ days' worth) plus 15 teaspoons of sugar. Gulp.
Who would guess that it's about equal to a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza topped with a half cup of Häagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream? Or a dozen Dunkin' Donuts Glazed Munchkins doughnut holes?
And we're guessing you didn't show up at Maggiano's just for dessert. So those 830 calories—okay, 415 if you share your tiramisu with a friend—come after you've polished off your entrée (800 to 2,400 calories), which may have come after your appetizer (600 to 1,700 calories). Talk about higher math!
Despite its dainty-ish looks, tiramisu is never a light dessert. Even so, Maggiano's version manages to top the tiramisus at other popular Italian chains like Romano's Macaroni Grill (690 calories) and Olive Garden (510 calories).
It may be Maggiano's Little Italy. But the menu makes for big patrons.
Maggiano's Little Italy: (800) 983-4637
Dish of the Month
Stir ¾ cup of bulgur into 1 cup of boiling water. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand until the water is absorbed, 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, chop 1 pint of cherry tomatoes and toss in a large bowl with 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ tsp. salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss in the warm bulgur.