Amtrak dining and cafe service

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just rode the coast starlight and I felt like the dining car was operating as usual.

Forced community seating. (or room service.

Business class passengers were invited to dine. Was $25 for lunch. $45 for dinner.

Tables were set with a vase and roses.

Plasticware for lunch. Silverware and cloth napkins for dinner.

I had the baked potato for lunch. Was good, but a small portion for an entree. Needs a side salad with it. Lemon Cake for dessert. Was fine, nothing special.

For dinner I had Gin and Tonic, Empanada, Salmon, and cheesecake.

Empanadas was ok, a little sweet for an appetizer. Salmon was ok, was a small piece and I've definitely had better fish dishes on Amtrak but there wasn't anything wrong with it. The Couscous was very good. Green beans were green beans.

The true star was the white chocolate blueberry cheesecake. Was excellent. So much better than those little cheesecake cups they were serving
prior to covid.

Crew was average Amtrak crew.

This is my first “traditional dining” experience in many years. Was great to be back!
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After returning from a Silver Star journey, which will be shared in an upcoming Trip Report, all I can say is, bring food, bring food, bring food. Especially items that don't go bad quickly, like nuts, bagged veggies or crackers. Cheese can last at room temps for a while too. In any case, unless you're generally uncritical when it comes to food, do not depend on Amtrak when they are having these challenges just operating their schedules. First off they seem to be having trouble with delays on many routes, the Transitdocs show lots of daily red and yellow.
Second, in terms of flex meals: If you can subsist on these, you will not starve. The portions are generous and the warm roll adds heft, especially with butter. But they are highly processed microwavable plates and maybe it's because I'm getting older, for the first time I felt the effects of sodium overload. Also, if the southbound Star is late into south FL there is no dinner. so you can have many hours elapse between meals.
 
just rode the coast starlight and I felt like the dining car was operating as usual.

Forced community seating. (or room service.

Business class passengers were invited to dine. Was $25 for lunch. $45 for dinner.

Tables were set with a vase and roses.

Plasticware for lunch. Silverware and cloth napkins for dinner.

I had the baked potato for lunch. Was good, but a small portion for an entree. Needs a side salad with it. Lemon Cake for dessert. Was fine, nothing special.

For dinner I had Gin and Tonic, Empanada, Salmon, and cheesecake.

Empanadas was ok, a little sweet for an appetizer. Salmon was ok, was a small piece and I've definitely had better fish dishes on Amtrak but there wasn't anything wrong with it. The Couscous was very good. Green beans were green beans.

The true star was the white chocolate blueberry cheesecake. Was excellent. So much better than those little cheesecake cups they were serving
prior to covid.

Crew was average Amtrak crew.

This is my first “traditional dining” experience in many years. Was great to be back!
View attachment 29065View attachment 29066View attachment 29067View attachment 29062View attachment 29063View attachment 29064
That potato does look rather small, sitting next to the sour cream packet. I wonder whether the chunks of cheese scattered on the edge of bowl were sloppiness, or art.
 
That potato does look rather small, sitting next to the sour cream packet. I wonder whether the chunks of cheese scattered on the edge of bowl were sloppiness, or art.
I think the cheese was a “we don't have shredded cheese so let's cut up some slices of cheese” - so more like a clever solution to a problem. Haha.

I miss the veggie burger for lunch!
 
... and ALSO when it’s Covid-septic, i.e. now, to offer residual dinner reservations to Coach Class.

Oh yeah and Amtrak owes me two orders of Coconut Shrimp I missed out on during a recent trip on the CS..
 
This weekend, I’ll turn 62 years old, and I’ll do it as a passenger aboard the Southwest Chief. A bouncy bus ride up from Monterey to the San Fransisco airport, an overnight flight to Chicago (first class don’t you know…😊it’s done on miles from business travels), then the SW Chief back to LA and a 2 hour connection to the Coast Starlight back up the coast. I hope it works out, maybe it wont, I’m not even sure I care! My sister will join me in Chicago, and we will fight over who has to stay in the top bunk, but, well, we’ve done that a few times when we were younger. A gin and tonic in the roomette and an Amtrak steak for dinner should smooth it over. Cant wait!
 
This weekend, I’ll turn 62 years old, and I’ll do it as a passenger aboard the Southwest Chief. A bouncy bus ride up from Monterey to the San Fransisco airport, an overnight flight to Chicago (first class don’t you know…😊it’s done on miles from business travels), then the SW Chief back to LA and a 2 hour connection to the Coast Starlight back up the coast. I hope it works out, maybe it wont, I’m not even sure I care! My sister will join me in Chicago, and we will fight over who has to stay in the top bunk, but, well, we’ve done that a few times when we were younger. A gin and tonic in the roomette and an Amtrak steak for dinner should smooth it over. Cant wait!
Have a great trip and Happy Birthday....I'm right behind you, 62 in 12 days!
 
This weekend, I’ll turn 62 years old, and I’ll do it as a passenger aboard the Southwest Chief. A bouncy bus ride up from Monterey to the San Fransisco airport, an overnight flight to Chicago (first class don’t you know…😊it’s done on miles from business travels), then the SW Chief back to LA and a 2 hour connection to the Coast Starlight back up the coast. I hope it works out, maybe it wont, I’m not even sure I care! My sister will join me in Chicago, and we will fight over who has to stay in the top bunk, but, well, we’ve done that a few times when we were younger. A gin and tonic in the roomette and an Amtrak steak for dinner should smooth it over. Cant wait!
No better place than on a train to celebrate your 62nd birthday young guy! I remember my celebrating my 62nd birthday more than a decade ago and still feel just as good now as I did then... am still training... and with a backpack!
 
What? That carrot cake was delicious! What did they replace it with.? The cheesecake and the chocolate flourless cake still remain I hope. I loved all three of these desserts!
 
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What? That carrot cake was delicious! What did they replace it with.? The cheesecake and the chocolate flourless cake still remain I hope. I loved all three of these desserts!
New desserts are a lemon cake, chocolate toffee (very good, better than the old one) and a new blueberry something cheesecake. I prefer the old cheesecake and I don’t eat lemon, but still good.
 
On Amtrak.com

under:
Onboard
Traditional dining
Menus

Still had the old menu with “lobster crab cake” on top. As well as the carrot cake.

That’s the site, right? I looked elsewhere and would just like to know WHERE to find the current menu.
 
Haha.
So AU is the official site!

Something isn’t right and is Amtrak misrepresenting itself? False advertising?

“I WANT ANSWERS”
“YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY ANSWERS”
“CAN I HAVE THE CARROT CAKE?”
 
Advice needed please.
We got in very late to Chicago eventually and didn't want to waste time seeking out a customer service agent to politely complain about our food experience.
Now it's Monday morning should we visit the office at Union Station in person or email the national Amtrak office.
Thanks in advance.
 
Traditional Dining:

  • A glass of wine should be a minimum 6 oz. pour. The current 5 oz. pour looks like a couple of swallows left over, if that. The pour should be no less than the small bottles were (187 ml or 6.323222 oz.).
  • A small garden salad should be available at all times, in addition to whatever is on the Traditional Menu.
  • I don’t mind smaller portions, since I always “clean my plate” unless inedible. However, a really small potato or really small entre portion is ridiculous.
  • If potato chips are offered, let people choose between regular and the terra chips. If I’m served terra chips, they stay on the plate (an alternative choice, yes, but dreadful).
  • Bread or rolls should always be an option to avoid waste.
  • Thank goodness the desserts have been lightened up a bit. The new Meyer Lemon Cake was very good and light.
  • I would like the porcelain china to come back, but only after trained staff is back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Traditional Dining MUST return to the Texas Eagle (with a full dining car) and the Eastern Trains.
 
Traditional Dining:

  • A glass of wine should be a minimum 6 oz. pour. The current 5 oz. pour looks like a couple of swallows left over, if that. The pour should be no less than the small bottles were (187 ml or 6.323222 oz.).
  • A small garden salad should be available at all times, in addition to whatever is on the Traditional Menu.
  • I don’t mind smaller portions, since I always “clean my plate” unless inedible. However, a really small potato or really small entre portion is ridiculous.
  • If potato chips are offered, let people choose between regular and the terra chips. If I’m served terra chips, they stay on the plate (an alternative choice, yes, but dreadful).
  • Bread or rolls should always be an option to avoid waste.
  • Thank goodness the desserts have been lightened up a bit. The new Meyer Lemon Cake was very good and light.
  • I would like the porcelain china to come back, but only after trained staff is back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Traditional Dining MUST return to the Texas Eagle (with a full dining car) and the Eastern Trains.
That's a reasonable wishlist considering the amount charged for sleeper accommodations!

I connected with someone in Amtrak management who was working calls Sunday and he told me the root of many problems is work shortages. He said Amtrak wants to bring back dining cars in the east along with full food service; hopefully repairs at Beechgrove will bring back the SSL and full service dining car to the Eaglet... as well as increase service system wide.

BTW was able to reserve a cross country trip for January but almost everything up to then is sold out due to lack of equipment and pent up post pandemic demand.
 
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