Alton Brown went on an Amtrak Rant ...

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crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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You’ll be happy to know that Acela First class gets a boxed meal now! :)

I regret not booking Acela First class on my trip back from Boston to NYC this fall... I didn’t want to risk paying more and being stuck with a reserved aisle seat. But still, I would have liked to experience it before it went away. Besides a cup of coffee, bottle of water, and a kind bar from the cafe was about the price difference anyways.... not even a joke.
 

20th Century Rider

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Jan 26, 2020
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You’ll be happy to know that Acela First class gets a boxed meal now! :)

I regret not booking Acela First class on my trip back from Boston to NYC this fall... I didn’t want to risk paying more and being stuck with a reserved aisle seat. But still, I would have liked to experience it before it went away. Besides a cup of coffee, bottle of water, and a kind bar from the cafe was about the price difference anyways.... not even a joke.
Yup! I know! And feel your frustration. I did take the Acela 1st class last fall and am glad I did.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
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Do you need a cookie or something?

What do you like watching on tv?
Thank you for asking! An oatmeal raisin cookie would make a nice afternoon snack.:)

Don't watch much TV, but when I do, I prefer news programs and sports. Particularly, football, baseball, and some college basketball. I do like to watch golf tournaments when they are in the final day of play.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The first cooking programs I watched were food focused with commentary being more of a flourish while the host demonstrated the tasks required to reach the desired outcome. These shows were generally pretty involved, as though you were making a multi-course holiday meal, but they also had simpler side dishes and gave hints on how to go about preparing everything. The meals were rarely easy or healthy but the host would try to explain details that could be difficult to grasp from a recipe alone. Over time I noticed the focus was moving away from cooking and toward more banter with less time spent on preparing the food itself. Eventually the personalities became the focus with the food acting as more of a prop or backdrop while participants gushed and snapped at each other. Hosts tended to be extremely negative or obnoxiously positive. I didn't mind the drama but I also didn't really see them as cooking shows anymore. These days proper cooking shows are a bit of a niche product with less name recognition than Julia Child or The Frugal Gourmet enjoyed in their heyday. On the other hand we're also kinda spoilt for choice. You can find on-demand videos that cover a vast array of meals and ingredients, from elaborate to simplistic and healthy to heart-stopping, with hosts that range from humble to hotheaded.
 
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Qapla

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I might mention that AB's rant was not about the food service on the train - it was about the train service itself ... he was blasting Amtrak for reducing service away from daily and reducing/removing stops.

He was in favor of increasing the National Rail System and providing a more useful passenger service that would reduce "per person" greenhouse gas emissions. He expressed that train travel was better for the environment than cars or planes. That we needed a more useful and expansive rail system instead of expanding the already overcrowded road system resulting in even larger traffic jams.
 

20th Century Rider

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Jan 26, 2020
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I might mention that AB's rant was not about the food service on the train - it was about the train service itself ... he was blasting Amtrak for reducing service away from daily and reducing/removing stops.

He was in favor of increasing the National Rail System and providing a more useful passenger service that would reduce "per person" greenhouse gas emissions. He expressed that train travel was better for the environment than cars or planes. That we needed a more useful and expansive rail system instead of expanding the already overcrowded road system resulting in even larger traffic jams.
Let us not forget passenger rail travel is most favorable to the environment!
 

anumberone

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As far as "celebrity" chefs go - much better to have Alton speaking positively on the topic (of trains) as opposed to Guy Fieri !!!
Why you ragging on my guy, Fieri? The dude has a fast moving show that show cooks doing what they do best. If you don't like the meals, drive to the next dive.
 

BLNT

Train Attendant
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Nov 5, 2019
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Why you ragging on my guy, Fieri? The dude has a fast moving show that show cooks doing what they do best. If you don't like the meals, drive to the next dive.
I met him on a cruise - he's an ASS
 

the_traveler

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Well, in his defense, if he can highlight good food on DDD made in the back of a food truck, think what could be done in the small confines of a dining car kitchen!:)
 

anumberone

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His show is entertaining but he has attitude and prejudicial issues that are well documented.
I'm not hanging out with the guy, and since it's the only way I can travel to the various towns he visits, because of Covid-19. I like the show and the food usually looks great.
 
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sttom

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Jan 23, 2019
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Basic question -- is Amtrak in the transportation business, the hospitality business, or both?
The answer is, it depends on what you pay for. If you pay for room in a sleeping car, then its hospitality and potentially transportation. If you only pay for coach, its likely only for transportation. But this doesn't mean you should treat your passengers who ride primarily for transportation like they don't matter. I am one of these people and I may not be very demanding when it comes to the quality of Coach on regional trains, that doesn't mean someone like me should be treated like we are disposable.

I might mention that AB's rant was not about the food service on the train - it was about the train service itself ... he was blasting Amtrak for reducing service away from daily and reducing/removing stops.

He was in favor of increasing the National Rail System and providing a more useful passenger service that would reduce "per person" greenhouse gas emissions. He expressed that train travel was better for the environment than cars or planes. That we needed a more useful and expansive rail system instead of expanding the already overcrowded road system resulting in even larger traffic jams.
We do need a better national network, but I don't think many advocacy groups (us included on this forum) really have a good idea as to what a national plan would be like. Getting all of the long distance trains up to twice a day and adding some historical ones back is nice, but that isn't going to make the most useful national transportation system. Making a useful rail system in this country would require Congress to mandate Amtrak to run like a county bus system, give it the financial backing to do so, and frankly ignore the states that don't want it. Even when one part of a county flatly rejects bus service, they rarely get 0 bus service or bus service that only runs once per day.
 

Hytec

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Nov 17, 2009
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I agree with all the positive comments and recommendations to have Alton Brown as an advocate for Amtrak dining. However that doesn't change the fact that Amtrak, including its President are at the whim of Congress. With the exception of Joe Biden when he was a Senator, virtually every member of Congress couldn't care less about Amtrak. Congress controls Amtrak's Board of Directors and manipulates them as puppets. The Board hires and fires all Amtrak's Presidents. Amtrak has had a few exceptional Presidents, experienced railroad CEOs who knew how to run Amtrak as a successful rail passenger operation. But the Congressional puppets on the Board couldn't handle being told that Amtrak can never make a profit, so fired all of them.

Until members of Congress and the people who voted for them understand and accept that railroads are a public service, and a more efficient method of moving people than airlines or automobiles, nothing will change. Amtrak must always be subsidized, just like highways, airports, and air traffic control. Rail transportation is accepted as a public service in every country in the world and funded accordingly, except in America.
 
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