Flexible dining - Requesting a review from a recent rider

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Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,358
How are the new dishes on the West menu? https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/menus/routes/Flexible-Dining-Menu-West-0720.pdf

Does anyone have nutrition facts on the ENCHILADAS, CHICKEN MARSALA, and SHRIMP IN LOBSTER SAUCE?

I'm of the opinion that Amtrak will use this opportunity to conveniently get rid of "Traditional Dining" for good. They might as well also remove the Diner and let folks get meals in the Sightseer (or use the Viewliner Diner on Eastern trains and remove the Cafe car). The Viewliner Diner could become the Sightseer for Eastern trains.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
705
So here's the deal with the Red Wine Braised Beef... sodium 2340 - a dangerous level for anyone with blood pressure issues. I am researching that meal and am preparing to post a review on one of the threads. See below the stats on this meal. BTW... having 'red wine' in the title is sure a misnomer. The meat was bland; some fatty, and the polenta was puddling into the watery broth. Did you actually notice a 'red wine flavor?' I've also added a youtube account of the 'flex meal experience' that really brings home the sentiment most feel.
Thanks for posting that information and the youtube video. Sadly it makes me feel better about not travelling on Amtrak this year (and maybe not next year or the year after, etc.). It seems like Amtrak travel as we knew it is gone.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
How are the new dishes on the West menu? https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/menus/routes/Flexible-Dining-Menu-West-0720.pdf

Does anyone have nutrition facts on the ENCHILADAS, CHICKEN MARSALA, and SHRIMP IN LOBSTER SAUCE?

I'm of the opinion that Amtrak will use this opportunity to conveniently get rid of "Traditional Dining" for good. They might as well also remove the Diner and let folks get meals in the Sightseer (or use the Viewliner Diner on Eastern trains and remove the Cafe car). The Viewliner Diner could become the Sightseer for Eastern trains.
Aw c'mon... flex this and flex that... twirl it on your head or juggle it between your arms while going from car to car... it's all the same stuff... we all know it... it's desperately ridiculously inconsiderate to the traveler and we're all saying the same thing... 'not good!' OMG! This is my 250th post... sorry to have to waste this milestone of sorts on such unfortunate catastrophic cuisine clumsiness on the part of Amtrak's total disregard for it's patrons!

If you wanna go by train, get a good loaf of rich wheat grain and seed bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of really good strawberry jam, add some bon bell cheese, fruit, wine... and enjoy the view out the window! And be happy!

Flex dining is sooooo...
No Taste
No Texture
Small portion
Unsatisfying

 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
705
With all these "bring-your-own-meals" suggestions, I can help but think of boarding a train, going to my roomette and accidently sitting on or putting my arm or hand on the leftover remnants of the meal preparation endeavor of the last passenger to occupy the room (or to find the leftover remnants under my seat). Not to mention the enhanced opportunity to encounter vermin.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,146
With all these "bring-your-own-meals" suggestions, I can help but think of boarding a train, going to my roomette and accidently sitting on or putting my arm or hand on the leftover remnants of the meal preparation endeavor of the last passenger to occupy the room (or to find the leftover remnants under my seat). Not to mention the enhanced opportunity to encounter vermin.
You're not wrong. Consider the condition of airline tray tables and seat areas pre-Covid when little or no cleaning was happening, multiplied by more food and drink. I've generally found Amtrak trains to be clean when boarding at the start of any route, however this cannot be said if you join the train mid-trip after your seat or sleeper space has been previously occupied. The bathrooms are another barometer of this.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,570
How are the new dishes on the West menu? https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/menus/routes/Flexible-Dining-Menu-West-0720.pdf

Does anyone have nutrition facts on the ENCHILADAS, CHICKEN MARSALA, and SHRIMP IN LOBSTER SAUCE?

I'm of the opinion that Amtrak will use this opportunity to conveniently get rid of "Traditional Dining" for good. They might as well also remove the Diner and let folks get meals in the Sightseer (or use the Viewliner Diner on Eastern trains and remove the Cafe car). The Viewliner Diner could become the Sightseer for Eastern trains.
Welcome back!
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
With all these "bring-your-own-meals" suggestions, I can help but think of boarding a train, going to my roomette and accidently sitting on or putting my arm or hand on the leftover remnants of the meal preparation endeavor of the last passenger to occupy the room (or to find the leftover remnants under my seat). Not to mention the enhanced opportunity to encounter vermin.
Not to worry... the attendant is supposed to clean, vacuum, replace bedding, etc. That's part of the job description. When Amtrak was in it's infancy I took a trip in a roomette between St. Louis and San Antonio... as meals weren't included, These were the old roomettes where the facilities were in the room... leaving even more that needed to be serviced and cleaned. Everything was sparkling and squeaky clean when I entered.

Remember packing a really nice picnic supper of cold chicken, fresh veggies, fruit, and some cake. Really enjoyable memory from decades ago. There was complimentary coffee the next morning that went well with the leftover coffee cake. Even then when I was young and skinny, I skipped lunch cause just sitting there I didn't need it.

Folks have been doing this for a long time. And the attendants for the most part are conscientious and should take good care of you. 😇
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
705
Not to worry... the attendant is supposed to clean, vacuum, replace bedding, etc. That's part of the job description.
Whenever I get ready to detrain and leave my roomette, I am in the habit of taking a flashlight (which I pack) and look under the seats to be sure that I have not forgotten something or that some of our belongings have not fallen on the floor and gone under the seat. I find that uniformly the results of this inspection are not encouraging. It is not what I would call clean and often there are water bottles and other debris left by a prior occupant. I have found clothing left behind in the overhead storage bin of viewliner roomettes when boarding at the originating station.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
Whenever I get ready to detrain and leave my roomette, I am in the habit of taking a flashlight (which I pack) and look under the seats to be sure that I have not forgotten something or that some of our belongings have not fallen on the floor and gone under the seat. I find that uniformly the results of this inspection are not encouraging. It is not what I would call clean and often there are water bottles and other debris left by a prior occupant. I have found clothing left behind in the overhead storage bin of viewliner roomettes when boarding at the originating station.
Sadly I have to agree with you. The intention of the message above was to be optimistic and respectful to Amtrak and its staff, and perhaps a little compassionate as well. But such professionalism has been deteriorating in recent years as workers risk losing their jobs due to cutbacks. You are indeed correct in pointing out an overall failure of service, and I do become annoyed when I enter a dirty and messy roomette or bedroom. I have expressed my own frustration many times in posts regarding service, tipping, and expectations from Amtrak. We should expect more and we deserve better!
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,841
So here's the deal with the Red Wine Braised Beef... sodium 2340 - a dangerous level for anyone with blood pressure issues. I am researching that meal and am preparing to post a review on one of the threads. See below the stats on this meal. BTW... having 'red wine' in the title is sure a misnomer. The meat was bland; some fatty, and the polenta was puddling into the watery broth. Did you actually notice a 'red wine flavor?' I've also added a youtube account of the 'flex meal experience' that really brings home the sentiment most feel.
View attachment 17897


The "presentation" of the breakfast items available shown in the video ought to make someone(s) in the hierarchy of Amtrak disgusted and embarrassed.

When airlines served complimentary meals to Coach/Economy Class passengers, the meals were more attractively presented than what the video shows currently. Even when lunch or dinner was available in domestic First Class, the meals were more appetizing in appearance than what is now available.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
The "presentation" of the breakfast items available shown in the video ought to make someone(s) in the hierarchy of Amtrak disgusted and embarrassed.

When airlines served complimentary meals to Coach/Economy Class passengers, the meals were more attractively presented than what the video shows currently. Even when lunch or dinner was available in domestic First Class, the meals were more appetizing in appearance than what is now available.
You are so right! But it all goes back to management... does anyone upstairs really care??? I feel sorry for Amtrak workers who get caught up in this diminishing service plan... important to have empathy and don't blame them... they are given little to work with and are just struggling to make a living. There have been many posts on the flex breakfasts... when what is offered is even less than the paltry printed menu; and did you notice... the hard boiled eggs which offered some semblance of actual protein have been removed? The 'hot sandwich' is another story... mostly fat and sodium. I saved mine after breakfast for a mid morning snack when riding on the Cardinal... it had congealed into mushy fat. Pitched it. Sad. 🤮
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,497
Even when lunch or dinner was available in domestic First Class, the meals were more appetizing in appearance than what is now available.
October 2019 Amtrak Sleeping Car on the way to New York City.

October 2019 Delta First Class on the way back from New York City.
 

Attachments

Manny T

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
478
^OMG. That Black&White is a nice touch (Delta).

(My guess is the fares, Amtrak Sleeper vs. Delta First Class, were pretty comparable.........)
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
For dinner, I always got the Asian Noodle Bowl, but I see that's now gone. It was fine.

The "specialty dessert" is nothing special: a bland brownie or a bland blondie, in the plastic wrapper.

Flexible Dining breakfast is terrible:

* No fresh fruit (due to Covid-19)
* Prepackaged oatmeal with hot water stirred in
* Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich microwaved in the plastic wrapper
* Lots of attitude from the cafe car staff

I would bring my own food for breakfast.

At least the one free drink helps dull the hunger pangs.
Oh my! But but but!!! Even in dire situations, a thoughtful and resourceful cafe car staff could have made at least in small part a better experience for you! This is exactly where there needs to be BETTER MANAGEMENT FROM THE TOP! :eek:
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,841
October 2019 Amtrak Sleeping Car on the way to New York City.

October 2019 Delta First Class on the way back from New York City.
It was awhile ago, but on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Juan in a DC-8 as a Coach passenger, we were served a good steak dinner. I was quite surprised when it was offered as an option for dinner.
 

TheCrescent

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
24
Is the Crescent the only train on which Amtrak totally eliminated one meal?

On the last day of the trip when you’re heading north, the Crescent is scheduled to arrive in NYC at 1:46pm. Breakfast and lunch used to be served.

Now the only meal served is Flexible Dining Breakfast. Even if you sleep until 8am, that’s a long time for just breakfast.

I could gripe about the train being late and the sleeping car rooms that rattle and shake but I’ll comment only on the food, which is lacking.

I could also comment on the high ticket price, but I won’t.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
358
Is the Crescent the only train on which Amtrak totally eliminated one meal?

On the last day of the trip when you’re heading north, the Crescent is scheduled to arrive in NYC at 1:46pm. Breakfast and lunch used to be served.

Now the only meal served is Flexible Dining Breakfast. Even if you sleep until 8am, that’s a long time for just breakfast.

I could gripe about the train being late and the sleeping car rooms that rattle and shake but I’ll comment only on the food, which is lacking.

I could also comment on the high ticket price, but I won’t.
Same nonsense with the Capitol Limited that gets into WAS well after the lunch hour... and which is frequently late. The bits and pieces of that small 'continental breakfast' gotta hold you till they arrive well after lunch. Cheep cheep! :mad:
 

TheCrescent

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
24
With all these "bring-your-own-meals" suggestions, I can help but think of boarding a train, going to my roomette and accidently sitting on or putting my arm or hand on the leftover remnants of the meal preparation endeavor of the last passenger to occupy the room (or to find the leftover remnants under my seat). Not to mention the enhanced opportunity to encounter vermin.
I have found leftovers from Flexible Dining dinner in the luggage storage area in my sleeping car room.

And I was so hungry after Flexible Dining dinner that I ate the leftovers (brownies still in plastic wrappers).
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
705
That’s a shame. I always thought it was fun to eat lunch in the diner while traveling at 100+ mph. Not many places you can do that :(
That is true. I always enjoyed lunch on the northbound Crescent. Even when many items would be sold out and the selection was limited, it was still a pleasant meal.

They are making trains not worth riding. It is 1967-70 all over again.
 
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