Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Postcards from Bunny: Warm Comfort Foods at Pret a Manger

Bunny tends to pick the worst possible times to visit Chicago.  Recently, she was merely meant to be passing through between trips between Crete and Guam, but the surprise blizzard of 2015 grounded her flight and she found herself in a posh hotel room in the Loop and nothing to do.  "I do love you, my dear, but there is no way I will be going out in this snow," Brandy told her dear friend when she phoned her, "I mean, I might get stuck in a snow drift and never be heard from again!  And then where will Chicago get their brunch recommendations?!"  "It's perfectly understandable," Bunny sighed, "But how am I to pass the time?"  "Well, if memory serves, you're within walking distance of a Pret a Manger, and I've heard they are serving lots of new dishes.  Why don't you go try some of those?"
"Good idea!" Bunny grinned, instantly cheered.

First, Bunny took a look at the new Hot Pots, which came in Korean BBQ Pork and Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry.  Bunny most certainly would have gone for the curry, but sadly, a friendly worker let her know that he had just sold the last one, so she gladly settled for the BBQ Pork.  She found the bowl to be a hearty mix of the aforementioned meat, which was melt-in-the-mouth tender and smothered in a sweet, tangy sauce, with red peppers, and black sesame seeds, all topping a bed of red quinoa.  Bunny was instantly warmed by the Hot Pot, just as her tongue was tingled by the mix of spices in the sauce, and so smitten was she with the flavor that she found it hard to believe that the entire things was under 500 calories.

Another day stuck downtown necessitated another trip to Pret for more warm goodies.  This time, Bunny went for the Tomato Spinach Mac and Cheese, another shockingly low calorie option that also came in under 500 calories, having had it's creamy cheese sauce cut with cauliflower.  Bunny had seen that Brandy had sampled the Bacon Mac and Cheese last fall, so she knew she would love the rich, creamy dish, but she hadn't expected the delightful pops of sweetness from the slices of cherry tomato that really made each bite come alive.

On the last day of her snow confinement, Bunny's eye was caught by one of the new sandwiches called the Posh Cheddar, which came on a multigrain baguette with arugula and a tomato chutney.  Even though it wasn't hot, Bunny thought she wouldn't have minded if the sandwich was placed in a toaster oven briefly, which would have just slightly melted the sharp white cheddar, wilted the peppery greens, and brought out the flavors in the sweet chutney even more, but that being said, she actually quite enjoyed the sandwich cold as it was.  "Ah, this reminds me of home," she sighed, thinking of the Ploughman's lunches she used to enjoy as a child.

Luckily soon after that, Bunny and able to continue on her merry way to Guam for some sun and excavating with her husband, Benedict, though she did wish she could have stayed just a little longer in Chicago in order to track down that elusive curry Hot Pot.  "Ah well," she thought, "I'll just have to come back to Chicago sooner rather than later.  I wonder when the next blizzard will arrive..."

The writers of this blog were provided with the items mentioned above by the restaurant free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

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