Amtrak dining and cafe service

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I was thinking of something like a Panera or Pret a Manger, assuming they might have ingredient lists — I know there is a Pret at PHL but don’t know about WAS. The CHOPT suggestion above sounds good.
There is Pret, at the end of the concourse near the Metro entrance. There's an Au Bon Pain right across from Pret, which is similar to Panera, but I don't know how natural they are. I had a sandwich there, and it was good.
 
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These are from out October 2022 visit. Sorry, I misread your question. These photos are from the Moynihan lounge.
Here are a few shots of Chicago in March for comparison. This was late morning, so some of these may be breakfast items. IIRC there were also chips & candy which I didn't consider photo-worthy. Oh, and there was some yogurt in the upstairs lounge.
 

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stevie

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Good points here @Rasputin. The Superliner Roomettes and Bedrooms have the same pull-out table, so I can totally see how it would be crowded for two to dine in the room. 👍

The dining car is my preference. I love the table service, the views, the camaraderie with fellow passengers. As I stated elsewhere, the only time I have opted for in-room dining was when I wasn't feeling well one day and not in the mood to be social.

I have never experienced a problem with cleanliness -- let alone vermin! -- in the rooms I've stayed in. My next trip is in a couple of weeks (Roomette outbound; Bedroom return). I'll check it out and report my findings here.

I'm back from my trip on the 5 - RNO > EMY. The Dining Car was open to all passengers for lunch -- I think it was $25/person for coach riders. The food and service were excellent as always, as was the company. I hope that Amtrak will bring back dessert choices from the Traditional Dining menu (lemon, blueberry, and mousse cakes) for lunch. The packaged butter cake and the brownie aren't bad, but I miss the dessert choices and restaurant-style presentation.

Off the subject of dining but a continuation of the thread: This was my first time in a lower-level room. I definitely prefer the upper level. It was only slightly annoying to go up and down the stairs to go to the Diner and Sightseer, but the lower level was relatively loud, and cluttered with cleaning equipment.

But, to be fair, it was indeed clean! 😃 The washrooms were maintained quite well and my SCA (probably my third time in his car) was awesome as usual.

For my next trip, I'm booked in rooms 2 and E. I'm happy about that. No more lower-level rooms for me, if I can avoid it.
 
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BTW, I found it impossible to get a list of ingredients on flex meals, but I was informed by CR (by jumping through many hoops) that every flex meal entree contains garlic. In years past, I was able to get a "special" meal (generally a salad) but lately, I have to hope that the LSA will allow me to get a cheese tray or something similar from the cafe. On my recent trips to and from ALX and Tampa on the Silver Star, I was pleased to be able to get traditional dining. I got the salmon entree with no sauce and I was fine.
Its starting to look more and more like I will be eating bread and butter for my dinner on the Capitol or going outside to Union Station and getting something to bring onboard. I just checked and it looks like quite a few places are now open like Cava, Potbelly, Roti Mediteranean food, Jersey Mikes subs, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Going vegetarian may be a good option.
 

pennyk

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Its starting to look more and more like I will be eating bread and butter for my dinner on the Capitol or going outside to Union Station and getting something to bring onboard. I just checked and it looks like quite a few places are now open like Cava, Potbelly, Roti Mediteranean food, Jersey Mikes subs, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Going vegetarian may be a good option.
I would call Amtrak and ask them to put a note on your reservation that you are allergic to garlic. That may or may not help. It will depend on the crew, but they may let you substitute something from the cafe car (at no charge).
 

Hytec

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Rode 19 and 20 (Crescent) this past weekend. The flex meals were reasonable, tasteless, tough, or inedible. Pancakes were inedible for one half of each, and barely chewable for the other half. The inedible half could not be cut by either teeth or knife. The barely chewable side required lots of water while chewing to enable swallowing. The omelet was dry, tasteless, and tough, needing a knife to cut. My SCA took pity and voluntarily replaced it with oatmeal, He was well rewarded. The salmon was severely overcooked being tough, dry, and tasteless. The ribs were reasonable, though lacked flavor, Thai noodles were fairly good. My final lunch, a turkey roll from the snack bar, was quite good. If it weren't for needing a bed, I'd book coach and buy snack bar food.

I was told that 58/59 (CONO) will be getting a diner in the next few weeks, though for flex only, Also 19/20 will get a diner shortly after, again flex only.
 

Hytec

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This is the first time in years I would actually like something on the Acela first-class menu. One time several years ago I liked none of the choices. So I skipped them and bought a cheeseburger from the snack car. The attendant was surprised and stated he would have gotten it for me. He was genuinely concerned about my experience.
 

Hytec

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Yes, for the lunch and dinner meals I expect better than unappetizing when paying first-class fare, so I am "picky". However, there was no excuse for the breakfasts. I assume those meals were produced correctly by the catering kitchen. My assumption is that the snack car attendant did not follow reheat instructions, and/or was inattentive for one reason or another. When a pancake cannot be cut with a knife, that's not being picky, that's unacceptable.
 
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Yes, for the lunch and dinner meals I expect better than unappetizing when paying first-class fare, so I am "picky". However, there was no excuse for the breakfasts. I assume those meals were produced correctly by the catering kitchen. My assumption is that the snack car attendant did not follow reheat instructions, and/or was inattentive for one reason or another. When a pancake cannot be cut with a knife, that's not being picky, that's unacceptable.
It could also be equipment shortcomings, like an oven or microwave with cold spots.
 

Sidney

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Yes, for the lunch and dinner meals I expect better than unappetizing when paying first-class fare, so I am "picky". However, there was no excuse for the breakfasts. I assume those meals were produced correctly by the catering kitchen. My assumption is that the snack car attendant did not follow reheat instructions, and/or was inattentive for one reason or another. When a pancake cannot be cut with a knife, that's not being picky, that's unacceptable.
I’ve had three French toast breakfasts and each time I broke a knife and fork trying to cut it. Couldn’t imagine ordering the pancakes or omelettes. Lately on flex trains I have the breakfast sandwich and cereal. At least it’s been consistent.
 
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I would call Amtrak and ask them to put a note on your reservation that you are allergic to garlic. That may or may not help. It will depend on the crew, but they may let you substitute something from the cafe car (at no charge).
Just called today and they added that note to my reservation. The problem is that garlic seems to be in a wide number of foods. Eating a small amount causes an annoying itch. By consuming a larger amount its redness and hives. The allergy is so bad that antihistamines and light dose prednisone is carried wherever traveled. Thank you for your suggestion. It is much appreciated.
 

TEREB

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Yes, for the lunch and dinner meals I expect better than unappetizing when paying first-class fare, so I am "picky". However, there was no excuse for the breakfasts. I assume those meals were produced correctly by the catering kitchen. My assumption is that the snack car attendant did not follow reheat instructions, and/or was inattentive for one reason or another. When a pancake cannot be cut with a knife, that's not being picky, that's unacceptable.
My husband keeps trying, without success, for a decent pancake. They always seem to be burnt around the edges. I also find that the broccoli served in the lunch/dinner is also over cooked and burnt with that nasty smell. No excuse
 
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Is dinner served on Train #59 City of New Orleans after it departs Chicago ay 8:05 pm?

Last week I was in the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge for a short segment on the Texas Eagle. The lounge attendant announced that dinner would be served on all long-distance trains leaving Chicago for the rest of the day - except for the Lakeshore Limited.

Is this correct?

Yes... I Know that the meals are flex.
 
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From where I live, I could just as easily board the CONO in Kankakee (if Son #1 would drive the hubby & me to the station there) as in Chicago. If we were to board in Kankakee, I'd assume that we'd want to eat supper before boarding (probably in Kankakee), and not "enjoy" our first Flex meal until breakfast the next day. Boarding in Chicago, though? It would be a bit late compared to our normal supper hour, and I'd probably want to fill up on snacks in the Metropolitan Lounge before boarding (assuming there's a long enough layover there after we'd arrive on the Lincoln Service), but I'd certainly be willing to try a late supper immediately after the train leaves Chicago.
 

pennyk

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MODERATOR NOTE: Please try to keep your comments on the topic of Amtrak dining. Several posts discussing fares were moved to the following fare thread:


Thank you for your cooperation, understanding and participation.
 

stevie

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He was genuinely concerned about my experience.
Last year on the CS (LAX > EMY), I dozed off in my room and was late to the dining car for dinner. I asked my SCA if I might have dinner anyway, and he made arrangements with the dining car. I was served a great dinner and ended up dancing in the aisle to Lady Antebellum with the dining car attendant. She advised: "Call that husband of yours and tell him that you're ours now on the Starlight, and we're taking you all the way to Seattle!"

Aside from one poor experience with a lazy and aloof SCA who couldn't have given a crap less about her passengers, I have yet to come across anyone on the train -- sleeper, diner, conductor, whatever -- who doesn't care about the passengers' experience.
 
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Last year on the CS (LAX > EMY), I dozed off in my room and was late to the dining car for lunch. I asked my SCA if I might have lunch anyway, and he made arrangements with the dining car. I was served a great lunch and ended up dancing in the aisle to Lady Antebellum with the dining car attendant. She advised: "Call that husband of yours and tell him that you're ours now on the Starlight, and we're taking you all the way to Seattle!"

Aside from one poor experience with a lazy and aloof SCA who couldn't have given a crap less about her passengers, I have yet to come across anyone on the train -- sleeper, diner, conductor, whatever -- who doesn't care about the passengers' experience.
Ride more and you will, unfortunately. Lazy and aloof SCAs are most definitely out there, as well as outright surly ones. Conductors with "little tin god" complexes are also around.
 

stevie

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Ride more and you will, unfortunately. Lazy and aloof SCAs are most definitely out there, as well as outright surly ones. Conductors with "little tin god" complexes are also around.
Fair enough. I'm just glad that the majority of my trips over the past few decades have been enjoyable.

I look forward to my next trip, in August.
 
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