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Amtrak Dining

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Larry H.

OBS Chief
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
977
I have friends who have taken the Acela first class and said the food was very tasty on that train. They have written Amtrak a number of times asking why the same vender or quality can't be available on the regular long distance trains. Being on a low carb diet lately I have found that many frozen dinners are just plain awful while a few others are really rather good. If they could do a study of possible travelers and let them say which dinners are acceptable. Having said all that there is nothing like a full service diner that has a good chef with real food. Their experiment probably 30 years ago by now, proved that great food was still possible, but after than its been a total run downhill. In fact it has reduced my desire to travel by rail considerably.
 

MilwaukeeRoadLover

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
35
Location
Milwaukee
The expectations of anyone traveling right now are going to be very low. Airlines are giving first class passengers a snack bag and most restaurants have modified menus including fast food restaurants like McDonald’s.

I don’t think there is a magical line drawn between “enthusiasts” and the general public.
First class? I would be so lucky. Even business class is out of reach. But I've had some fine meals on international flights in Economy.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
I have friends who have taken the Acela first class and said the food was very tasty on that train. They have written Amtrak a number of times asking why the same vender or quality can't be available on the regular long distance trains. Being on a low carb diet lately I have found that many frozen dinners are just plain awful while a few others are really rather good. If they could do a study of possible travelers and let them say which dinners are acceptable. Having said all that there is nothing like a full service diner that has a good chef with real food. Their experiment probably 30 years ago by now, proved that great food was still possible, but after than its been a total run downhill. In fact it has reduced my desire to travel by rail considerably.
It's a good idea but right now the Acela first class meals are also suspended. They are getting a snack box similar to several airlines - and the menus seem to hint that you may also get a cafe voucher along with the snacks but that's not totally clear. Even if you do, the cafes are also reduced to only the microwavable long shelf life items - no salads, sandwiches, etc.

Basically in the Acela/NER café you can get the cheeseburger, the vegan burger, the personal pizza (pepperoni only), or the hot dog. The rest of it is snacks and sweets. Breakfast in the corridor café is actually identical to flex dining on LD trains right now - they have the same Jimmy Dean sandwich and the same Blueberry muffin. The LD café cars offer a few more microwavable items (but no "fresh" items.) One thing that I noticed recently that's new - it appears on NER business you now get unlimited soft drinks sort of like Flex Dining on LD trains - previously I think you got 1 soft drink..
 
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Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,703
Location
Gator Country Florida
Many of the meals that were served "in the past" have changed since C-19 and may change back to something more palatable once things return to "normal" - except Amtrak :eek: The meals being served system-wide were already being served on the East trains when no one had ever even heard of or even suspected C-19 would happen ... there is no excuse for these poor quality meals - they cannot blame them on the pandemic since they were already serving them
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
Many of the meals that were served "in the past" have changed since C-19 and may change back to something more palatable once things return to "normal" - except Amtrak :eek: The meals being served system-wide were already being served on the East trains when no one had ever even heard of or even suspected C-19 would happen ... there is no excuse for these poor quality meals - they cannot blame them on the pandemic since they were already serving them
Officially traditional dining is still slated to return out west - yes I know most people don't believe they will - but officially they still are - presumably at the same time they bring back what's been cut out of café cars and Acela first.
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,104
Location
LAX
Many of the meals that were served "in the past" have changed since C-19 and may change back to something more palatable once things return to "normal" - except Amtrak :eek: The meals being served system-wide were already being served on the East trains when no one had ever even heard of or even suspected C-19 would happen ... there is no excuse for these poor quality meals - they cannot blame them on the pandemic since they were already serving them
Yep, fall of 2019 I experienced "Flexible Dining" on the Lake Shore Limited and Crescent. This was implemented before any mention of Covid-19 at all.
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
198
Thanks to Richard Anderson flex dining was introduced on the Capitol and Lake Shore in June 2018. They proved so wildly popular they were added to all the Eastern trains in October 2019. I trust you realize this is sarcasm at it's finest
 

me_little_me

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,659
Thanks to Richard Anderson flex dining was introduced on the Capitol and Lake Shore in June 2018. They proved so wildly popular they were added to all the Eastern trains in October 2019. I trust you realize this is sarcasm at it's finest
I couldn't wait to go back for more after my trip from ABQ to GRV at end of 2019. But I forced myself to wait. Just thinking of those thick, juicy flex boxes makes my mouth water. Thinking of the food in them makes my eyes water and my mouth gag.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
Flex dining menu refresh is imminent - there will now be a breakfast omelette meal as an alternative to the continental breakfast and a minor refresh to the main entrees. And there will be periodic limited time extra meal choices that may be available that aren’t listed on the printed menu that you’d check with the LSA or SCA to see what’s available on your train (it appears the manicotti pasta meal is the first example of that.)

Additionally Acela first will be getting a form of hot meals back - it sounds like they will be prepackaged meals sourced similar to the flex dining meals on LDTs. An omelette choice or the current breakfast snack box for breakfast (it sounds like the same omelette meal becoming available on LD trains) and three lunch/dinner choices. You’ll still be able to get the snack box or cafe burger/hot dog as choices.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
21,621
Location
Austin Texas
Flex dining menu refresh is imminent - there will now be a breakfast omelette meal as an alternative to the continental breakfast and a minor refresh to the main entrees. And there will be periodic limited time extra meal choices that may be available that aren’t listed on the printed menu that you’d check with the LSA or SCA to see what’s available on your train (it appears the manicotti pasta meal is the first example of that.)

Additionally Acela first will be getting a form of hot meals back - it sounds like they will be prepackaged meals sourced similar to the flex dining meals on LDTs. An omelette choice or the current breakfast snack box for breakfast (it sounds like the same omelette meal becoming available on LD trains) and three lunch/dinner choices. You’ll still be able to get the snack box or cafe burger/hot dog as choices.
Sounds like change for the better is coming to Amtrak' s Food and Beverage Service! 😍

Let's hope they're a little bit "Healthier" with Less Sodium and Sugar!
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,317
Location
Oregon Coast
Flex dining menu refresh is imminent - there will now be a breakfast omelette meal as an alternative to the continental breakfast and a minor refresh to the main entrees. And there will be periodic limited time extra meal choices that may be available that aren’t listed on the printed menu that you’d check with the LSA or SCA to see what’s available on your train (it appears the manicotti pasta meal is the first example of that.)

Additionally Acela first will be getting a form of hot meals back - it sounds like they will be prepackaged meals sourced similar to the flex dining meals on LDTs. An omelette choice or the current breakfast snack box for breakfast (it sounds like the same omelette meal becoming available on LD trains) and three lunch/dinner choices. You’ll still be able to get the snack box or cafe burger/hot dog as choices.
Wondering where this information is available??? And while initially it sounds like good news... it may also signal that traditional dining may not be returning.

Many issues with flex concept... tiny portions, monotonous sameness, small 3" nothing salads, and what could be called a nice dessert choice... those brownies that stretch the concept of monotonous even further. 🥺
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,163
On Amtrak food facts there is already the cheese omelette listed as a kosher breakfast meal. I’m wondering if someone saw that and assumed a change was coming?
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,317
Location
Oregon Coast
Flex dining menu refresh is imminent - there will now be a breakfast omelette meal as an alternative to the continental breakfast and a minor refresh to the main entrees. And there will be periodic limited time extra meal choices that may be available that aren’t listed on the printed menu that you’d check with the LSA or SCA to see what’s available on your train (it appears the manicotti pasta meal is the first example of that.)

Additionally Acela first will be getting a form of hot meals back - it sounds like they will be prepackaged meals sourced similar to the flex dining meals on LDTs. An omelette choice or the current breakfast snack box for breakfast (it sounds like the same omelette meal becoming available on LD trains) and three lunch/dinner choices. You’ll still be able to get the snack box or cafe burger/hot dog as choices.
Where is the source of this information? Couldn't find anything on the Amtrak website or google. ??? :rolleyes:
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
The Acela first menu has been posted. Flex dining not yet. A photo of the new Acela meals on social media shows they are basically the same as flex dining meals. The entrees are different but clearly the same vendor and even feature the same trays. .
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
I wanted to add the lunch/dinner changes on flex dining are minor. There’s one new meal and maybe one meal going away the rest are the same
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,060
On the eastern trains - the Cajun shrimp and andouille sausage is coming back replacing the shrimp and lobster sauce. On the western trains the Cajun meal is being replaced by a garlic and herb cod. Both now also have the text “ask your server about today’s specials” referring to extras that won’t be on the menu.
 
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