Amtrak Dining

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20th Century Rider

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I'm heading from Buffalo, NY to Seattle (EB), then Coast Starlight to LA, then Southwest Chief back to Buffalo...Should I be good for traditional dining other than the Buffalo to Chicago and Chicago to Buffalo LSL segments? (Which are pretty much sleeping the whole way both times based on schedule, maybe breakfast)...
You will enjoy indulgent dining most of the way except the East of CHI on LSI. Please have an extra piece of carrot cake for me. Yum!
 

Cal

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I'm heading from Buffalo, NY to Seattle (EB), then Coast Starlight to LA, then Southwest Chief back to Buffalo...Should I be good for traditional dining other than the Buffalo to Chicago and Chicago to Buffalo LSL segments? (Which are pretty much sleeping the whole way both times based on schedule, maybe breakfast)...
Yep
 

NYP2NFL01

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Correction: The Cardinal and the CONO don't have menus yet. A prompt to download the menu results in the following error message:
"Failed - No file". I'll assume Amtrak's IT Department will fix that some year!
 

20th Century Rider

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I got that too… I believe they are on the process of updating their website… also no longer available are the food facts.

The only difference in the changes are that the casserole dishes taste batter and are of a higher quality. But only the size of a tapas dish or snack.

No improvement in the salad bite or those same old brownies.
 

zephyr17

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Correction: The Cardinal and the CONO don't have menus yet. A prompt to download the menu results in the following error message:
"Failed - No file". I'll assume Amtrak's IT Department will fix that some year!
Make no assumptions about Amtrak IT.

If a thousand chimps coded for a thousand years, you'd get Amtrak IT.
 

me_little_me

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The only difference in the changes are that the casserole dishes taste batter and are of a higher quality. But only the size of a tapas dish or snack.
Ew! Was the batter cooked? :)

Batter and tobacco. Hmm! Who said the meals are better? Well, at least batter and tobacco are an improvement - hey, the tobacco is a vegetable! :):)
 

MARC Rider

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The only difference in the changes are that the casserole dishes taste batter and are of a higher quality. But only the size of a tapas dish or snack.
Are the "casserole dishes" the same size the the ones from the previous version of flex meals? If so, that's plenty of food. One problem with food service these days is that the portions are too large. I can't even eat the full portions that are served at most restaurants.

Unfortunately I won't be able to personally try them out on my trip tomorrow, as I ordered the kosher meals. (Well, who knows, maybe they'll screw up delivery of the kosher meals and I will try them out, but perhaps that's not as likely in New York.)
 

Rambling Robert

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I'm heading from Buffalo, NY to Seattle (EB), then Coast Starlight to LA, then Southwest Chief back to Buffalo...Should I be good for traditional dining other than the Buffalo to Chicago and Chicago to Buffalo LSL segments? (Which are pretty much sleeping the whole way both times based on schedule, maybe breakfast)...
... if only the LSL Amtrak Cafe would sell WINGS (the real kind) and BEEF ON WEK au jus .... there’d never EVER be another food complaint.
 

Triley

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Hopefully the LSA has time to take food preorders, that way there’s time to cook them in the oven. Otherwise, they’re likely being done in the microwave. They could be precooking popular entrees and putting them in the steam tray too, though.

I’ve got no idea what the menu will look like that far out. Honestly, aside from very rare occasions, we generally don’t find out about menu changes until a few weeks in advance at best.
 

drdumont

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Flex dining lunch & dinner is all premade & microwaved or convection oven reheated (depending upon whom you ask) and served in the cooking containers. Breakfast is a limited selection of packaged items. Dessert is limited to a packaged snack, usually a brownie or blondie.

Traditional dining is prepared by a full crew in the kitchen. Some people say that traditional dining fare is also premade and reheated or finished off in the kitchen, but obviously at least some items are cooked to order, e.g. steaks, French toast, and the Artisan Grilled Cheese. And everything is plated prior to bring served.
---------------------------------------------
Indeed, there was some preprepared and blanched/precooked/Cryovaced food. Mashed potatoes were instant but were the good kind. Corn and green beans were canned/reheated, just like at home. Steaks were semi cooked, Cryovaced and grilled. Eggs were prepared fresh. We even had grits sometimes on the Crescent! I think some of the FSAs would bring seasonings and condiments, including Tabasco A-1, and Worcestershire, when AMTRAK did not supply it.
It was in the main very tasty, plated, as you say, in a very nice presentation.
The original china and silver was replaced with hard plastic disposable dishes, but still stamped metal flatware.Eventually plastic cups, cardboard cups and individual containers of wine, milk, and of course, beer.
Sodas (Pepsi, then - YAYYY! - CocaCola) in cans. An actual cooking staff downstairs in the Superliners and in the galley in Viewliners.
When I was commuting weekly from AUS-FTW, I named the head cook "Chef DuJour", and had an a=engraved tag for him to wear. He never got grief from management about it.
The execrable nuked garbage, lack of presentation and crudity of service nowadays, compounded with overstretching the Food Service Attendants is a huge smirch upon the AMTRAK escutcheon and should be remedied forthwith.
 

drdumont

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Hopefully the LSA has time to take food preorders, that way there’s time to cook them in the oven. Otherwise, they’re likely being done in the microwave. They could be precooking popular entrees and putting them in the steam tray too, though.

I’ve got no idea what the menu will look like that far out. Honestly, aside from very rare occasions, we generally don’t find out about menu changes until a few weeks in advance at best.
AFAIK, they entrees are nuked. But if they are sometimes heated in the oven, it might explain the overcooked on he perimeter and undercooked in the center slop I have experienced. This was the reason I went to bringing my own.
 

Triley

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Somewhere between VAC and EUG
AFAIK, they entrees are nuked. But if they are sometimes heated in the oven, it might explain the overcooked on he perimeter and undercooked in the center slop I have experienced. This was the reason I went to bringing my own.
…If they were cooked in the microwave it would could be undercooked and overcooked at the same to time, not if they were done in the oven.

The only entree that came out of the oven terrible was the omelette. That was actually better in the microwave.

But again, it was preferred that the meals be done in the oven, if time allowed.
 

tgstubbs1

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Mar 3, 2020
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Take a look at Amazon. They have a number of small ones. I tote mine in a rollaboard, which contains my coffeemaker, and some supplies in the cavity.
I found some smaller ones... not exactly miniature though.

Does yours fit in a regular bag?
 

JWM

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Sarasota, Florida
…If they were cooked in the microwave it would could be undercooked and overcooked at the same to time, not if they were done in the oven.

The only entree that came out of the oven terrible was the omelette. That was actually better in the microwave.

But again, it was preferred that the meals be done in the oven, if time allowed.
Remembering the sick U.S. Military joke about MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) was "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians".
 

me_little_me

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Are the "casserole dishes" the same size the the ones from the previous version of flex meals? If so, that's plenty of food. One problem with food service these days is that the portions are too large. I can't even eat the full portions that are served at most restaurants.
Too large? yes, only if you can stomach eating the whole flex meal. I end up picking and choosing based on the salt content, the likelihood of chemicals, the condition of my stomach and whether some of it is still cold.

As to restaurants, that's what take-home packaging is for - to get a second meal. Once, in Albuquerque, I ordered the full rack of beef ribs from the County Line BBQ because it was about 50% more than the 1/4 rack. I got 3 more meals out of it.

As to flex food, the only reason to ask for a "doggie bag" is to use it as ant and roach poison.
 

20th Century Rider

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Jan 26, 2020
Messages
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Oregon Coast
Are the "casserole dishes" the same size the the ones from the previous version of flex meals? If so, that's plenty of food. One problem with food service these days is that the portions are too large. I can't even eat the full portions that are served at most restaurants.

Unfortunately I won't be able to personally try them out on my trip tomorrow, as I ordered the kosher meals. (Well, who knows, maybe they'll screw up delivery of the kosher meals and I will try them out, but perhaps that's not as likely in New York.)
RE: newest version of flex - everything's the same as before except that the quality and taste of the dishes has improved considerably. IMHO it should be enough food for most folks... however, portion sizes tend to be small. If the salad were larger and had more to it such as some cheese / croutons / which are included in many packaged salads, this would be a good meal. Many AU'ers including myself would like to see more diverse selections such as sandwiches, chef salads, and fruit.

After this cross country on Amtrak I am going to do a review comparing the updated flex with kosher offerings. I definitely feel the kosher meals are more satisfying and a slightly more healthy choice than flex... and am enjoying them on this trip. IMHO the new flex bkfst tastes better than the Kosher... but excludes role etc. For me the flex bkfst is perfect because I don't want to weigh myself down with a heavy meal in the AM... although it may not be enough food for others. With the Kosher breakfast you can slather on the included cream cheese and bask in tabasco if you like. Lots of opinions and ideas! Pics below: kosher vs flex...

These are my personal opinions... and I remain respectful of other points of view even when they are different than mine.

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