Amtrak dining

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Rambling Robert

Service Attendant
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May 30, 2021
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In the dominion of the train, like a very small town, a pax has rules and ordinances, etc. to follow during travel for a safe, enjoyable trip. That would include the LSA advising a pax the limited use of say an iPad in the dining car. Of course the pax could ignore the LSA. Then it’s in the LSA’s court.

In early summer last year I was westbound on the LSL, 100% full, aisle seat. The window seat guy put his laptop out. I established in a few sentences if he’d like to chat. He said sure, a little. That was very helpful for me.

He could have switched seats with me - but it was about six hours of silence - him looking at his laptop ... and me looking out the window AND him looking at his laptop ... Boston to Syracuse (his stop).
 
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Whether or not to chat with a coach seat neighbor is its own thing... especially on a full train. Especially in the East where there are many traveling for business... I would respect the needs and desires of others when seated in coach.

BTW: Very awkward where the isle pax needs to reach across the window passenger to plug in a device. I don't find this pleasant but am inclined to accept what is. Especially if they ask to move to the window which I covet for the experience of riding the train. The alternative would be to deny the isle pax to plug in... which could result in a hostile situation.

The best thing to do is to actually offer to help them plug in across your space. Gratitude is better than hostility!

What do others think?
 

Devil's Advocate

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What do others think?
On planes USB power is usually per-seat and AC power is between the seats. This is easier in some ways but it can also be awkward since the plug is sometimes near your seatmate's thigh. Frequent fliers will understand what you're up to but someone who rarely flies and never tried to charge a laptop may have a confused and unwelcome reaction. I've also noticed that AC plugs can be so new that they require excessive force or so old and weak that chargers simply fall out on their own. I agree that civility is better than hostility and advise bringing a short length of lightweight extension cable so you can keep the amount of at-plug fidgeting to a minimum for the benefit of both parties on planes and trains.
 
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Rambling Robert

Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
169
Location
Boston
Whether or not to chat with a coach seat neighbor is its own thing... especially on a full train. Especially in the East where there are many traveling for business... I would respect the needs and desires of others when seated in coach.

BTW: Very awkward where the isle pax needs to reach across the window passenger to plug in a device. I don't find this pleasant but am inclined to accept what is. Especially if they ask to move to the window which I covet for the experience of riding the train. The alternative would be to deny the isle pax to plug in... which could result in a hostile situation.

The best thing to do is to actually offer to help them plug in across your space. Gratitude is better than hostility!

What do others think?
If I had the window out of courtesy offer helping with the laptop power cable around the tray table support for example. I always carry a triple tap on the train - phones and computers - wires everywhere!

For consuming food/drink the aisle seat is a little roomier. Fortunately I ate in the cafe - one of the first - before about 50 irritated pax waiting for the LSA to perform double duty Coach/Sleeper. While near the front of the line I noticed the double duty. Despite the stress and delay the LSA was very efficient at double duty - deserved a 30% tip (pandemic)
 
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If I had the window out of courtesy offer helping with the laptop power cable around the tray table support for example. I always carry a triple tap on the train - phones and computers - wires everywhere!

For consuming food/drink the aisle seat is a little roomier. Fortunately I ate in the cafe - one of the first - before about 50 irritated pax waiting for the LSA to perform double duty Coach/Sleeper. While near the front of the line I noticed the double duty. Despite the stress and delay the LSA was very efficient at double duty - deserved a 30% tip (pandemic)
That sounds just like the Texas Eaglet!
 

Cal

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Flower is back in the Super Star Diner …

View attachment 28269

My Salmon dinner on the way to New York. The train was pretty full and the Diner well patronized. But still majority of people ate in their rooms.
It might not be permanent. In March of 2021 there were flowers in the diner on my SWC, but that was (AFAIK) only because of that particular crew. On the TE/SL the same week there were no flowers in the diner.
 
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277CAF4B-4F15-4891-8895-046B2C5EE7A1.jpeg

…and I am on the SuperStar southbound today! Flowers for us too and a very enthusiastic and fun crew.

Of course, we are all anxiously awaiting the return of Traditional Dining - but just like jis showed In his photo, if you go to the trouble of putting your meal together nicely – you can end up with a pretty reasonable result. By all means if Amtrak gives you lemons – feel free to make lemonade.

All in all - I enjoyed my dinner very much. This really IS a nice train.
 

Cal

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View attachment 28270

…and I am on the SuperStar southbound today! Flowers for us too and a very enthusiastic and fun crew.

Of course, we are all anxiously awaiting the return of Traditional Dining - but just like jis showed In his photo, if you go to the trouble of putting your meal together nicely – you can end up with a pretty reasonable result. By all means if Amtrak gives you lemons – feel free to make lemonade.

All in all - I enjoyed my dinner very much. This really IS a nice train.
Whats that on the top left?
 

jpakala

Service Attendant
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Jul 13, 2014
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Both prior to Amtrak and since, our experience always has been positive as we shared dining car tables. On the LSL to NYC + Silver to FL we had a couple from the UK who had taken the QE2 and then Amtrak to CA and now back, a couple from Calgary, a NY retired teacher, etc.; on the CS an Australian & New Englander, a mother & daughter visiting from China, etc. On the TE dining car we even exchanged addresses with a woman from TX because we shared so many interests. In 1959 on the North Coast Ltd we were a family of 4 at a table but the NP "great big baked potato" was unforgettable & I have a colorful picture blotter even shaped like one that I guess was given to me on the train. On the PRR's General in 1962 my college roomate & I (headed west to Pittsburgh by coach) sat adjacent to a celebrity (likely in Pullman headed to Chicago).
 

Devil's Advocate

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Thank you for your post and photo. But, your entree, served as it was, reminds me of a Stouffer's or Marie Calendar entree. Personally, I would prefer a Swanson Hungry Man Dinner 😀.
To be fair to Amtrak what I've been seeing in reviews of premium meals on long haul flights shows a rather severe hit to quality and quantity on airlines as well. The combination of global pandemic, supply chain collapse, and Russian military aggression seems to have made everything worse for everyone.
 
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Nice review of the dining car (likely sponsored.) interestingly they mentioned the plates - I wonder if Amtrak is just starting to roll out the new plates.
 
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Rambling Robert

Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
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Location
Boston

Nice review of the dining car (likely sponsored.) interestingly they mentioned the plates - I wonder if Amtrak is just starting to roll out the new plates.
It gives the impression they turn the tables in a half hour? Written on a positive note for sure because not mentioned was the crudy (literally) flex meals were pre/pandemic ... and some routes haven’t switched back to traditional dining in eastern US - both Amtrak mistakes. Was there communal dining? 8 steps .... now I have to try a Bloody Mary!
 

NYP2NFL01

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Aug 8, 2014
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Currently on the Super Star (5/1). Has anyone seen this item on the Flex menu?
It’s a Buttercake - extremely rich! I’m not a fan myself. According to Kumar, my SCA, this has replaced the Blondie Brownie. The chocolate one is still available.96AA2E76-F41C-4599-9A4F-37DE34AC4971.jpeg
 
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Currently on the Super Star (5/1). Has anyone seen this item on the Flex menu?
It’s a Buttercake - extremely rich! I’m not a fan myself. According to Kumar, my SCA, this has replaced the Blondie Brownie. The chocolate one is still available.View attachment 28291
It's great when Amtrak sources from local restaurants... they've done this in the past with pax enjoying some really authentic and quality foods... hoping this is a sign of 'Buttercake' better things to come in the Amtrak diner!
 
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It's great when Amtrak sources from local restaurants...

I just looked them up. Italian family deli and bakery — huge sandwiches, plus lots of other baked goods in addition to the butter cake. Frank and Louie are brothers, and assorted other family members also help out.

Yes, much better than just getting stuff from a chain.
 

Rambling Robert

Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
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Location
Boston
The DownEaster’s new menu_- now available will hopefully be an early highlight to my upcoming 132 hour Maine to LA (LSL EB CS) via PDX only a few weeks away. The new menu features more breakfast items which I’ll fill up on because I almost didn’t get fed in Coach on the LSL.

My last trip the LSL had a dual cafe with the LSA preparing food orders from sleeper cars vs Coach with a priority of sleeper orders. That was June 2021 and I think there’s a new National menu on the LSL..

DownEaster menu:
 

joelkfla

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The DownEaster’s new menu_- now available will hopefully be an early highlight to my upcoming 132 hour Maine to LA (LSL EB CS) via PDX only a few weeks away. The new menu features more breakfast items which I’ll fill up on because I almost didn’t get fed in Coach on the LSL.

My last trip the LSL had a dual cafe with the LSA preparing food orders from sleeper cars vs Coach with a priority of sleeper orders. That was June 2021 and I think there’s a new National menu on the LSL..

DownEaster menu:
I don't think that's a new menu. You're looking at the Amtrak Vacations site which is actually just a travel agent, and the URL points to a folder named 2021-02.

The menu on the official site is here: https://amtrakdowneaster.com/sites/default/files/users/user10/New Menu Board Vertical 1.pdf
 
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