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Wake Up LA: Panera

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Cobblestone, Cheese souffle, and coffee @Panera | Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/LAist

Occasionally breakfast-time can't be a thing of luxury. Granted, it's the most important meal of the day, but it's also not something we all get to sit down for and order up a spread of tantalizing goodness, particularly if its a weekday and there are things that need to get done. Breakfast criteria then equals: Coffee, sustenance, and free wireless internet.

This is how I ended up at Panera in Studio City, laptop unfolded and my fast ready to be broken. The bakery chain, which has 73 locations in the state of California alone, caters to the carb-craving workaholic (or, as was the case in Studio City, screenwriters recently allowed to pick their pencils MacBooks up again). Bread and pastries at reasonable prices abound on the menuboard, and they offer free refills on coffee, which made this caffeine junkie's veins tingle with glee: "I can haz lotz of coffeeeee?" Ahh, yes.

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Despite the fact that sitting inside Panera is akin to sitting inside an airport coffeeshop (minus the ill-placed luggage carts and unintelligible loudspeaker announcements) the baked goods are effing good. I picked out an egg and cheese souffle baked in bread (one of the few glimpses of breakfast protein on the menu) and couldn't resist something called the Cobblestone, which is basically a muffin goodie that's the best of all worlds in the category of breakfast breads; it's a little bit cinnamon roll, little bit bear claw, little bit muffin, and a whole lot of good.

The deal with the free wifi isn't as delectable as the free refills of coffee; whereas your intake of java is largely unmonitored following the initial purchase, the internet gets overburdened by all its users, and has a half hour cap during the midday rush, which means if you're, oh, let's say just for example's sake, writing several posts for a website like LAist, getting booted offline mid-post in order to get you logged in for your allotted half-hour at the stroke of 11:30 a.m. isn't exactly the most congenial thing. Then again, internetaholics who table-surf for hours on the price of a bottomless cup of coffee aren't exactly congenial, either.

Bottom line: In a pinch, Panera really fits the bill, and the food is pretty damn tasty, too. And sometimes, that's how we have to Wake Up LA!

Panera-Ventura Boulevard/Studio City
12131 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-2226