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Amtrak's Current Food

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cpamtfan

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
841
Location
Long Island, NY.
I'm interested to see what current Amtrak foods, from cafe, lounge, bistro, and dining cars people like. This is off recent menus, not past 2009-2010.

I also need some help choosing what to east from the dining car on the southbound Capitol Limited. Does anyone know what the specials and deserts there might be?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,741
Location
Austin Texas
I'm interested to see what current Amtrak foods, from cafe, lounge, bistro, and dining cars people like. This is off recent menus, not past 2009-2010.

I also need some help choosing what to east from the dining car on the southbound Capitol Limited. Does anyone know what the specials and deserts there might be?
On the Superliner Trains the Breakfasts are usually First rate, especially the Omeletes and the RailRoad French Toast! Most of the Time for Dinner on the Superliner Diners (which the CL has) the Steak, the Crab Cakes and the Salmon are Good IF Cooked Right by the Chef! (the AmVeggies are another Story as are the so called "Dinner Salads"!) As to Desserts, the Cheese Cake, Bourbon Pecan Pie :wub: and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie :wub: are VERY Good!

Amtrak recently raised the Prices a Couple of Dollars on Most items, the Stuff in the Cafe Car is Overpriced, you can Eat in the Diner and get a Better Deal IMO on such things a Burgers/Sandwiches etc. since Meals include Non-Alcoholic Drinks! The Veggie Burger is very good, so is the Lunch Special most times but Watch Out for the Veggie Pasta Dishes, they are Terrible!

BTW-Since youre Riding the Cap East, Rememeber you are entitled to a Breakfast and a Limited Menu Brunch on the Way to WAS!!This Doesn't apply Westbound, only Dinner and Breakfast on that Train!
 
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rrdude

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,693
Location
Baltimore/DC Area
I'm not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I have to agree, when cooked correctly, the Amtrak veggie burger is way good! Surprisingly good.

I've only had it served to me once as a "hockey puck", and I sent it right back.

The steak CAN be good, but in my mind it's crap shoot. Same for fish. I've had great, I've had it where I sent it back.

Nothing on the Cardinal is good, they just don't have the facilities. If you are on the CS, sleeper, try to eat in the PPC.

Every meal on the Builder was pretty good, I'm getting hungry just thinking about that.

Look at the menu, look at the diners choices around you, and if you have a halfway decent server, ASK them what the chef downstairs does best.

It's a crapshoot though, in general. Too bad, cause food / service can make or break an otherwise not-so-good trip. (late, faulty AC, etc.)
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,592
Location
Virginia
In my experience over the years, you get the following on the Cap for dinner:

-Chicken (guaranteed on most trains as a listed menu item)

-Vegetarian pasta of some kind (usually to be avoided, as it is the most easily bungled and is more or less an ersatz fill-in to satisfy vegetarians)

-Steak (of some kind; guaranteed, though the cut will vary; NY Strip is very popular, and Amtrak has good steak buyers)

Other than this, you have a variable seafood dish. Types of fish are popular, but the Cap also often has crabcakes (which were always a winner for me). And finally, there is a "mystery dish" (the daily special), which can vary from braised beef (good when I had it on the SWC) to another seafood dish to just about anything else. At the holidays, there is frequently an additional turkey dinner available in addition to the regular menu items (turkey, stuffing, etc.); it tends to be solid but not spectacular, but I'll buy it both to get a variation from the steak (which I buy about 2/3 of the time) and because of the season.

As to dessert, you are guaranteed a "chocolate" option and a "cheesecake" option, as well as ice cream and/or sorbet on the menu. This can vary widely...popular desserts have included creme brulee cheesecake and peanut butter pie (both from the Meteor, both excellent). Other than this, the quantity and variety of selections can vary wildly from train to train.

With breakfast: French toast and bacon is my preference. The scrambled eggs are a roll of the dice, and I've never had either the quiche (the usual "good morning special" is a quiche of some kind) or the continental (though I did get someone else's grapefruit when they declined theirs due to health concerns).

Finally, as a caveat: Anything can sell out, and the last seating can get a little "tight" on this front.
 

Crescent ATN & TCL

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
691
Location
Tuscaloosa/Lincoln, AL
Honestly its all up to the dining car crew. I've had everything off the menu but seafood, wonderful on one train terrible on the next. The New York chefs are the worst. The rest are hit and miss. The California Zephyr has at least one top notch chef, everything was perfect.

As far as the cafe its hard to mess most of that up. There are some who have trouble reading the directions on the pizza box and put the tray in the microwave upside down and the pizza sticks to the paper instead of browning on the metallic side like it should. The stupidest thing I saw was one who microwaved the donut holes so they were soggy and glued to the half melted plastic box they came in, honestly why mess up something that is perfectly fine as is.
 
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yarrow

Conductor
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Messages
2,222
Location
nine mile falls, washington
i'm not a big steak fan (the rest of the family really enjoys the amsteaks). i usually get fish for dinner and other than some flavorless crab cakes i have been very happy. especially the salmon and trout. i like the beef burger for lunch but also the entree salads are usually great. my favorite, all time, was last year on the crescent when they had shrimp and grits and crawfish etoufee(sp?). i wish amtrak could feature more regional cuisine
 

trainman74

Conductor
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
1,661
Location
Sherman Oaks, CA
-Vegetarian pasta of some kind (usually to be avoided, as it is the most easily bungled and is more or less an ersatz fill-in to satisfy vegetarians)
On the Coast Starlight earlier this month, the vegetarian pasta dish was a spinach lasagna that was well-prepared, and very tasty, I thought.
 

manderson

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
176
Location
Seattle
Duck with orange sauce a couple of weeks ago was great. I think it was on the SWC. It was prepared well and the sauce was light and not overly sweet. It was a nice alternative to the tasty but often dry roast chicken.
 
R

Rider

Guest
I frankly can't remember which train I was on - maybe the Empire Builder? Where they featured barbequed pork ribs - they were excellent! MMMM; made a mess but SO worth it.
 

dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,154
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
Here how we rate some of the following food choices that we've tried.

Breakfast. The RR French toast is very good. The original Santa Fe French toast made to the old Fred Harvey recipe is better but we have to make that at home. The meat selections of sausage, turkey sausage and bacon are as good as you will find anywhere. The scrambled eggs are a bit rubbery but still good.

Lunch: We usually order the Angus Burger. It a large 1/3 lb patty with onions, pickle, tomato and lettuce. It is very good. The Chipotle veggie burger is also good but we only tried it once

Dinner:

Surf and Turf (Autotrain only) VG,

Oven baked Herb roasted Chicken VG but they sometimes substitute fried chicken

Butchers cut steak. VG to ex

Shrimp Scampi. Gd but it tases more like Shrimp creole

Crawfish Etouffee- a specialty sometimes served on the Crescent VG+

Any Amtrak pasta dish poor-good avoid the vegatarian pasta dishes.

Seafood Catch- Its not always seafo0d but could be halibut or monkfish G-VG

Those are some of the dishes that come to mind
 

deimos

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
418
Location
Maryland
Breakfast - RR French Toast

Lunch - Angus Burger

Dinner - steak, usually with a brew :)
 

amamba

Conductor
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
4,083
Location
Providence
I actually was very impressed with some of the vegetarian pasta dishes on amtrak. In particular, I thoroughly enjoyed this eggplant parm in the PPC on the CS:



I also had a very good vegetarian pasta dish on the LSL this year. I can't seem to find a picture of it. It was a mushroom manicotti. It was DELICIOUS, perhaps one of the best dishes I had in the dining car on the LD network during my cross country trip.

This was a very good dessert from the PPC on the CS as well:



I have also had some very good vegetarian pasta dishes in the first class car on the acela.

I personally had a terrible steak on the SWC this year, but since everyone else has had such a good experience with the steak, I am going to chalk it up to a one off bad steak and perhaps a bad chef in the diner. Here is the picture of my steak:
 
D

DB

Guest
I was on the LSL, the Builder and the CS this May...having not been on LD trains since the SDS implementation, I was disappointed compared to my prior trips. Believe it or not, the Lamb Shank on the LSL was the best meal of the trip (the consensus of our 6 passengers)....the meals on the Builder were very average with the crew being the biggest problem. I recall seeing a beef entree being served to a passenger literally hanging off the plate....just no finesse, no care shown. I know they claim that the dining car prepares all entrees onboard on the Builder, but I swear the chicken was a reheat (SDS style), though I suppose I could be wrong. The CS had a great crew, except for one dining car stewardess. I didn't eat in the PPC as the overall cleanliness around the buffet left alot to be desired. The best thing coming out of the diner were the cream puffs! Wow, they were great! We had a great time, but the meal service in general was disappointing, overall. - Spare the french toast!
 
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