Favorite snacks to bring onboard

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Suze10860

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Feb 2, 2020
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I did a search and saw that this has been discussed in the past, but I thought I'd try to get it started again to help myself out a little bit.

What are your favorite snacks to bring onboard for your Amtrak trip? Do you use a soft sided cooler for easy storage? It is my imagination, or are the pull-down tables in the roomettes really small? In other words, are you pretty comfortable snacking in your room? During non-meal hours, is it ok to bring a snack down to the sleeper lounge car and sit at one of those tables?

We're on the LSL from NY to Chicago (in a sleeper obviously) and honestly, one of the things I'm most looking forward to is some snacking (and cocktailing?) during the trip. Sort of like our own private Happy Hour!

Anyone have any fun ideas?

Just one request: Please don't turn this into a "I hate the new flexible dining" thread. I've read enough of those to last a lifetime. I'd love just positive suggestions.

Thanks all.
 

pennyk

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It may depend on the crew as to whether they will permit your bringing your own food into the sleeper lounge. There are signs in the cafe car that say outside food is not permitted, however, I am not sure it is enforced. However, they do enfoce the rule against bringing your own alcohol into public areas.

I bring fruit and nuts with me for snacking. I do not use the table in the roomette for snacking and I prefer to eat my meals in the sleeper lounge.

I enjoy drinking wine and snacking on a cheese tray purchased in the cafe car while sitting in the sleeper lounge, watching scenery and relaxing.
 

Suze10860

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It may depend on the crew as to whether they will permit your bringing your own food into the sleeper lounge. There are signs in the cafe car that say outside food is not permitted, however, I am not sure it is enforced. However, they do enfoce the rule against bringing your own alcohol into public areas.

I bring fruit and nuts with me for snacking. I do not use the table in the roomette for snacking and I prefer to eat my meals in the sleeper lounge.

I enjoy drinking wine and snacking on a cheese tray purchased in the cafe car while sitting in the sleeper lounge, watching scenery and relaxing.
Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it.

But of course, now I need to ask more because I think I confuse easily.

Are you saying you can buy food in the cafe car and bring it to the sleeper lounge to eat, but depending on the attendant, you might not be able to bring your own food into the sleeper lounge? And also, is the wine you are enjoying in the sleeper lounge from the cafe car or purchased in the sleeper lounge?

I think because I have no experience with this I'm having a hard time imaging how it all works...

Sorry if these are silly questions.
 

Sauve850

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I bring a soft side cooler on my all my LD trips.Usually put beer in there. I get ice at hotel before trip or at the station lounge if available. I also pick up some pretzels or a candy bar or two, nuts or whatever strikes me. When Im leaving from Was to Florida I pick up a chocolate donut or two at Union Station and store in a Tupperware container I always travel with. Kinda perks up breakfast. I leave from one of the west coast locations, stop in Chicago for a day or two and then on to Was and Florida. Basically I eat rather poorly for a few days and then when home Im back to a healthier diet!

Pull down tables are big enough for snacks and drinks. Enjoy.
 

flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
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My experience has been that you can only drink your own alcohol in your bedroom or roomette. Though I will say that once on the Coast Starlight we brought a really nice bottle of red wine into the diner, offered a taste to the lead dining car attendant, and had no problems at all drinking it with dinner!
 

pennyk

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Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it.

But of course, now I need to ask more because I think I confuse easily.

Are you saying you can buy food in the cafe car and bring it to the sleeper lounge to eat, but depending on the attendant, you might not be able to bring your own food into the sleeper lounge? And also, is the wine you are enjoying in the sleeper lounge from the cafe car or purchased in the sleeper lounge?

I think because I have no experience with this I'm having a hard time imaging how it all works...

Sorry if these are silly questions.
First, your questions are not silly.

Yes, the LSA (Lead Service Attendant) in the Sleeper Lounge may or may not permit outside food in the sleeper lounger.

Yes, the wine I drink and the cheese I eat are purchased in the cafe car. I generally purchase a half bottle and drink half during the afternoon and finish it at dinner. Since it was purchased on the train, you are able to consume it in public. A small single serving of wine is provided gratis with flex dining. If I have had enough wine, I will keep it and drink it later.
I am more of a beer drinker than a wine drinker, but I like craft beer and Amtrak's selection on the Silver Meteor (my home train) is lacking.
 

Devil's Advocate

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What are your favorite snacks to bring onboard for your Amtrak trip?
I have a few snacks that I bring on most trips, such as Chile Limon Dinamita chips, Snyders Honey Mustard & Onion pretzel pieces, and Chile Picante Corn Nuts. ...But what I'd really like to know is where to find preassembled variety snack kits like United Airlines sells (or at least used to sell) in coach. Does anybody have an idea of where to find such things?
UnitedAirlinesSnackBoxes.PNG
Whiskey in a pocket flask.
I've received flasks as gifts but something about drinking from a Chinese sourced container you can't inspect or clean thoroughly gives me an off feeling.

You must know my husband. It will be Bourbon for him...
I used to dislike bourbon but then I realized it was only because I didn't know which brands to order and falsely assumed they all tasted like Jim Beam.
 
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Rasputin

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Since you are in a New York sleeper on the Lake Shore, be aware that the café car will be about 6 cars forward so you will have to walk through the sleeper lounge (a/k/a picnic table car) and four or five coaches to reach the café car. Perhaps not worth the effort esp. since the sleeper lounge car will be only one or two cars away from your sleeper.

We never carry a cooler but we always have snacks such as granola bars, M&Ms, etc. to get us through to Chicago where better food choices await. We sometimes bring some bourbon or wine to drink in the room.

The café car has limited seating and some of that is taken up by supplies and the crew. It does not appear to lend itself to wild and raucous partying.

Despite that, I hope you have a great trip!

P.S. There is a recent rumor that café service will soon be restored to the Lake Shore between Albany and New York.
 

railiner

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I bring a bag of Chip’s Ahoy, chocolate chip cookies, my favorite snack.
They can get me thru a transcontinental train ride, (or a nonstop FL to NY drive in my car...).

I will bring some into the lounge car, along with a cup of complimentary coffee from my sleeper.
 

MccfamschoolMom

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My daughter would grab a couple of sausage biscuits (on the All-Day Breakfast menu) from the McDonald's in Chicago Union Station when catching the Lincoln Service home to us while she was in library school up there. It was quick, which was essential for her, because she'd have very little time to make the connection between the Metra train from near campus to Amtrak.
Haven't been on Amtrak myself in a LONG time, but for long road trips we'd bring bottled water (free to sleeping car passengers, of course), cans of soda and bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino in a small cooler, plus single-serve bags of chips/crackers/cookies and an assortment of "road trip candy" (non-chocolate varieties in warm-weather months). It was all relatively non-messy stuff which could be consumed without utensils.
 

Maglev

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I vacuum seal individual servings of mixed nuts. We get these by the case at Costco and store them in a freezer, as they are a staple snack food in our diet.
 

Saddleshoes

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I live midway between 2 LD routes. I use one of 3 different stations depending on which way I am heading out.
HOWEVER, all 3 stations have subway sandwich shops close by. My go to train snack is a 12 inch Subway Club Sandwich. I typically eat half of it soon after boarding and nibble the reminder as the day and miles go by. I'm usually 2 states away from home before I need to eat a real meal again.
 

Qapla

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I have only traveled coach. If I am riding long distance and/or overnight, I carry on my two allowed bags. In these I usually include some beef jerky, pretzels and a Pepsi or two - I can get ice from the cafe car, especially since I bring me insulated mug with me. Depending on what time the train is departing and what I may have eaten before I boarded, I may also take a cold sub WITHOUT mayo (it spoils too easily) that I can eat when I feel like it. I find that, if I wrap the sub in a t-shirt or towel, it stays fairly cool and edible.

I have sat in the cafe car and eaten my food and drank the Pepsi I brought with me and have never had any Amtrak employee tell me I could not do this.

If I am on a "day trip", I only carry on what I want to eat shortly after boarding - since I do not take any luggage for a day trip.
 

Dakota 400

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I enjoy drinking wine and snacking on a cheese tray purchased in the cafe car while sitting in the sleeper lounge, watching scenery and relaxing.
I enjoy doing that as well. As you said, buying a bottle, drinking half, and then finishing it during or after dinner is a money saver as compared to buying by the glass.
 

hlcteacher

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soft side cooler, salami and chees cut into small portions, crackers, candy bars, fruit and nut bars, cookies, salty snacks (chips, pretzels), soft drinks, drink packets, water (napkins, small paper plates/bowls) we travel coach long distance as we found that the roomettes were not worth the extra cost; we also like to eat a couple of meals in the dining car (depending on where we are starting, the first night may be a sandwich brought at subway (or made at home)
 
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I just bought one of those Crew Coolers from eBags. I like it because it looks and acts like luggage (has a pass-through sleeve for use with rolling luggage handles). If I wanted, at some point, I could just remove the zip-out cooler compartment liner and use it as an overnight train case. I even have a whole COVID-compartment to dedicate to nothing but mini Lysol, hand wipes, and alcohol prep pads.

Usually my kids and I are in sleeper and just bring things like trail mix, squeezable fruit pouches, granola/protein bars, and Snyders pretzel nuggets, those little canned Starbucks espresso drinks for me. But we're doing Business Class on the Starlight next week for the first time, and don't care enough about the diner to pay for it (heathens, I know!), so we're adding things like McMuffins, carrot coins, bagels and cream cheese, chicken strips, mini soft drink cans, and Yoplait.
 

west point

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Good idea of skipping mayo. You could get separate packages of Mayo if you just have to put some on the sandwich. In fact recommend packages of all condiments to preserve any sandwich you buy or purchase.
 

Qapla

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Yes, the packets of condiments re easy to carry and negate the problems of spoilage --- although, mustard is pretty impervious to going bad for the short time it would be on a sandwich ... even if the short time was a couple days.
 

pennyk

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MODERATOR NOTE: Please note that staff will remove any posts that encourage or suggest any violation of Amtrak's rules. Please be reminded that Amtrak only permits consumption of personal alcohol (alcohol not purchased on Amtrak) in one's sleeper accommodation (not in coach, not in the cafe car, not in the dining car/sleeper lounge).
 

jloewen

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Good idea of skipping mayo. You could get separate packages of Mayo if you just have to put some on the sandwich. In fact recommend packages of all condiments to preserve any sandwich you buy or purchase.
No, it's a bad idea to skip mayo. For decades this has been an example of theory without data. Mayo is too acidic (vinegar) to support or allow bacteria (probably viruses too). Try this: make a tiny batch of chicken salad with and another batch without mayo. Put each in between quarter sections of bread to make two small sandwiches. Then leave them unrefrigerated until one has clearly gone bad. Then report to us which one went bad.
Or, another experiment: leave your jar of mayo, opened and partly used, in your fridge for a month. (Easy for ME to write; my jar of mayo has already BEEN there for a month.) Take a small piece of chicken, cooked, put it in a ziploc bag, and leave IT in your fridge for a month. Did the chicken go bad? Did the mayo?
 

Qapla

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Try that with a ham sandwich instead of chicken ... I won't trust the chicken any more than the mayo - but then, I don't put mayo on my sandwich anyway ... I like mustard
 

Suze10860

Train Attendant
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Feb 2, 2020
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No, it's a bad idea to skip mayo. For decades this has been an example of theory without data. Mayo is too acidic (vinegar) to support or allow bacteria (probably viruses too). Try this: make a tiny batch of chicken salad with and another batch without mayo. Put each in between quarter sections of bread to make two small sandwiches. Then leave them unrefrigerated until one has clearly gone bad. Then report to us which one went bad.
Or, another experiment: leave your jar of mayo, opened and partly used, in your fridge for a month. (Easy for ME to write; my jar of mayo has already BEEN there for a month.) Take a small piece of chicken, cooked, put it in a ziploc bag, and leave IT in your fridge for a month. Did the chicken go bad? Did the mayo?
I know this has gotten a bit off-topic, but since I started the thread I'm leaning into it.

I agree with you totally and absolutely. You are 100% correct. It's not the mayo that tends to go bad, but the stuff with which we are mixing it. That's a fact.

As you said in your first line: "For decades this has been an example of theory without data."

However, I'm going to pretty much guarantee that you won't convince anyone who believes otherwise to change his/her mind. You either accept it or not - no amount of data will make a difference.

Sometimes an idea gets so deeply engrained in a person's beliefs it's impossible to budge.
 

Devil's Advocate

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It's true that many ingredients we typically refrigerate will remain benign at room temperature. That being said, even if we accept that unrefrigerated mayo probably won't harm us it still doesn't change the fact that it tends to darken and congeal in a rather unappetizing manner. Although unhealthy to eat on a regular basis there are many dry snacks that are unlikely to change in any meaningful manner for years at a time regardless of storage or exposure.


 
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