Amtrak Dining

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Rambling Robert

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Dakota 400

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Of course, but I'm curious what's in it besides turkey -- cheese, guac, sprouts, lettuce, bacon, ... ?
I don't for certain, but I will take a guess. Some type of cheese, lettuce, tomato with some type of spread on the bread.
 

me_little_me

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Of course, but I'm curious what's in it besides turkey -- cheese, guac, sprouts, lettuce, bacon, ... ?
Higher prices. Fancy names. When it becomes a common thing like on a chain restaurant or Amtrak, it is no longer "Artisan". It just becomes "Marketing Turkey Sandwich".
 

Maverickstation

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Rambling Robert

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Here is the current Downeaster Cafe menu, the offerings were scaled back due to COVID, but it retains a number of local and regional foods. The Downeaster service is funded by the Northern New England Rail Passenger Authority, Amtrak is the contracted operator. Schedules, Cafe Offerings, and the like are decided by the local authority, not Amtrak.

Thanks for the update. I omitted part of my earlier post.
I couldn’t find menu rev date. In October 2020 I found the cafe car was closed but you could order from your seat. In June 2021 I found the cafe car was opened again
 

lordsigma

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Since the value of the dining experience would be reduced (significantly IMHO) by not being seated in the diner and having to eat at one's seat, there needs to be an alternative. Possibly a portion of the cost refunded if there are no available diner seats is one possibility. I can't imagine walking into any restaurant charging those prices and having already paid for my meal and have the manager tell me that they are full so I'll have to take my meal home and eat it. Also, Amtrak needs to dramatically increase their food reliability. Again, if I've paid for a meal and x entree is unavailable or they have run out of desserts (like on our return trip last Sunday), Amtrak will only drive potential business away. Their inability to provide sufficient product for their diners and cafes is well known in this forum. To make it worse by charging one in advance and not being able to deliver is downright criminal. Remember, this is not a unique thing but something that seems to happen regularly on Amtrak.
Hopefully after COVID this will be less of an issue.
 

lordsigma

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I think the loophole is that an introduction was made, the passenger(s) were don't asked to sit there without a choice. It may be a while before we get back to Amtrak seating people together as a matter of form if ever. I think we may end up with a hybrid of people will be given the option or can eat in their rooms. Sitting alone on a first come first serve basis. I was asked for a dining appointment when I was on the Star Tuesday even though there were only 3 booths taken including myself. I am ready to mingle but I understand others are in different positions.
They did it for a short while this past summer when traditional dining first came back before Delta started becoming a big thing. They would ask you before your first meal if you were ok with communal - and they appeared to set aside some tables for those who said no. I said yes and was seated the traditional communal way all my meals.
 

Lonnie

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It’s great that you agreed to do so, as it really helps out your diner crew, but….they are going against Amtrak policy, and this should not be expected.
On our recent trip west on the CZ I was surprised to see them doing this. One couple politely refused and they were totally fine with it, while another couple welcomed a single diner. It does seem quite counter to the very clear warnings about what happens to the "problem child" who repeatedly is caught not wearing a mask. While I really love eating with strangers, the possible consequences are really too dire for me to agree to this at this time. It's too bad.
 

lordsigma

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Covid had no effect on this issue. Running out of food is an Amtrak specialty.
Was referring to table reservations being unavailable I should have shortened the quote. With COVID they aren't doing communal seating which limits the amount of reservations - which makes it more likely they'll run out and people will have to eat at their seat.
 

fillyjonk

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I'm wondering if the much-vaunted supply shortages/increase prices are gonna hit Amtrak. The last time I rode (very late July), they had two or three meals (of the not-very-extensive-already list) crossed off as unavailable - this was for a train originating in Chicago, so no one had had dinner before I got on.

I'm a bit of a picky eater and I hope I don't find a menu selection of two: "take it" or "leave it" on any of my upcoming trips, I guess I try to at least take some granola bars and dry fruit in case. (I don't have enough luggage allowance for a cooler - get on at a station without checked bag service, so I have a suitcase, a carry on, and my purse and that's already a lot to carry)
 

me_little_me

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I'm wondering if the much-vaunted supply shortages/increase prices are gonna hit Amtrak. The last time I rode (very late July), they had two or three meals (of the not-very-extensive-already list) crossed off as unavailable - this was for a train originating in Chicago, so no one had had dinner before I got on.

I'm a bit of a picky eater and I hope I don't find a menu selection of two: "take it" or "leave it" on any of my upcoming trips, I guess I try to at least take some granola bars and dry fruit in case. (I don't have enough luggage allowance for a cooler - get on at a station without checked bag service, so I have a suitcase, a carry on, and my purse and that's already a lot to carry)
As I mentioned, Amtrak has a history of not loading sufficient items on their trains. Hard to believe when you know well in advance in nearly every case what the passenger load will be. You also leave money on the table when you don't have enough for coach passengers. Rampant incompetence was not caused by Covid.
 

Skylark

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Praise should be given when due - food on SWC with trad dining recently was generally quite good.

I didn't order it as mushrooms are about the 1 vegetable I just really don't care for, but I did try the roasted chicken breast with mushroom sauce and it was good (not too mushroomy either). Chicken was tender and a good portion. Wish I could source the chicken for my own cooking! I heard another passenger raving about it too. 3 others in my travel party enjoyed their food as well. Vegan chili was good as well, I'm wondering what type of meat substitute they used.
 
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cassie225

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When are we gonna get this on the Crescent? I’m waiting patiently. Also I know this might be in another thread that I can’t find but will Crescent ever get new sleepers, coach cars, etc
 

jis

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Also I know this might be in another thread that I can’t find but will Crescent ever get new sleepers, coach cars, etc
Crescent already has the same Coach cars that the other Eastern LDs have. Anything newer than that is at least ten years away. Crescent is unlikely to get all new Sleepers. It might get one new Sleeper at some point.
 

Dakota 400

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As I mentioned, Amtrak has a history of not loading sufficient items on their trains. Hard to believe when you know well in advance in nearly every case what the passenger load will be. You also leave money on the table when you don't have enough for coach passengers. Rampant incompetence was not caused by Covid.
It's poor planning when the SWC runs out of small bottles of one type of wine before the end of the first night's dinner out of Los Angeles.
 

Bob Dylan

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It's poor planning when the SWC runs out of small bottles of one type of wine before the end of the first night's dinner out of Los Angeles.
Sort of like the Diner running out of items during the first Dinner setting upon leaving Chicago. I've had this happen numerous times on the Eagle,the Zephyr,the Chief,the Builder, the Cap and the CONO (when it still served real food!)
 

Dakota 400

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Sort of like the Diner running out of items during the first Dinner setting upon leaving Chicago. I've had this happen numerous times on the Eagle,the Zephyr,the Chief,the Builder, the Cap and the CONO (when it still served real food!)
An imaginary conversation between the LSA and the Conductor, then between the Conductor and the Engineer:

LSA: Mr. Conductor, we need to make a grocery stop when the train passes through city X. There is a grocery store next to the tracks.

Conductor: I'll contact our Engineer.

Conductor: Mr. Engineer, there is a grocery store in city X next to the tracks. Please make a stop there so that our LSA can make a grocery run and replenish the dining car's supplies.

Engineer: Will do. Ask the LSA to pick up a bag of potato chips for me. I need a snack.
 

Bob Dylan

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An imaginary conversation between the LSA and the Conductor, then between the Conductor and the Engineer:

LSA: Mr. Conductor, we need to make a grocery stop when the train passes through city X. There is a grocery store next to the tracks.

Conductor: I'll contact our Engineer.

Conductor: Mr. Engineer, there is a grocery store in city X next to the tracks. Please make a stop there so that our LSA can make a grocery run and replenish the dining car's supplies.

Engineer: Will do. Ask the LSA to pick up a bag of potato chips for me. I need a snack.
When the Diner Crew used to get off the Eagle @ Austin ( resulting in "Dinner" being served very Early and "Breakfast"being a Boxed Meal)the Crew used to shop @ Local Markets and board with great ingredients for Crew Meals that the Excellent Chefs on that route would prepare.

I was fortunate enough to be invited several times to share these feasts when I was a frequent rider on the Northbound Eagle and knew all the Crews, most of whom are now retired or working other routes!
 

Maverickstation

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Helping a friend navigate the Amtrak website in general, and Amtrak Food Facts in particular we had an interesting discovery.
While Food Facts is far from perfect, it does help people who need to monitor issues like sodium in take make smart choices.

At first we could not figure out why the scrambled eggs, with potatoes was so high in sodium (they way the potatoes are made, perhaps), then I noticed, Amtrak is not using fresh cracked eggs as they were in pre-COVID traditional dining service.


Ken
 

neroden

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Helping a friend navigate the Amtrak website in general, and Amtrak Food Facts in particular we had an interesting discovery.
While Food Facts is far from perfect, it does help people who need to monitor issues like sodium in take make smart choices.

At first we could not figure out why the scrambled eggs, with potatoes was so high in sodium (they way the potatoes are made, perhaps), then I noticed, Amtrak is not using fresh cracked eggs as they were in pre-COVID traditional dining service.


Ken
That also shows that they're adding milk to the eggs for no readily explicable reason. (Which makes them inedible for my dairy-allergic friends.)
 
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