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Large increase in Empire Builder fares?

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Qapla

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I can't stand coffee - why should I drink it - and many people drink coffee with sugar

Perhaps I should have said hot cocoa - sugar is not "required" in it anymore than sugar is required in coffee
 

Nick Farr

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Dec 25, 2019
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Do you think the Millennials will go for this?
All it would take is one lifehack video of someone cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner on an LD route end-to-end in a Zojirushi rice cooker.

I'm actually tempted to see what I could do for dining options on Amtrak if I were cooking for myself, if I only had an electric teakettle and a rice cooker.

Would take me back to my truck driving days for sure.
 
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When I travel I like to have some of those Tasters Choice single serve packets. They have the Hazelnut but I prefer the House Columbian, or a mixture. Sometimes I add a Folgers, I think it is a darker roast.

It's much more tolerable when it's really hot. Once it starts to cool it's time to nuke it.
I’m glad to hear that someone else does this, too!😊. I carry a few packets when I travel just in case the hotel staff has forgotten to leave coffee in the room (or has left just decaf!). I will especially do it from now on because with the new virus rules I won’t know if coffee will be left in the room or not.
 

caravanman

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All it would take is one lifehack video of someone cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner on an LD route end-to-end in a Zojirushi rice cooker.
I'm actually tempted to see what I could do for dining options on Amtrak if I were cooking for myself, if I only had an electric teakettle and a rice cooker.
Would take me back to my truck driving days for sure.
While it is not likely to impress foodies, you could heat up a packet of microwave rice with hot water from a travel kettle. I boiled eggs in a kettle in India, but I would rather just buy some fruit, nuts, cookies, etc before boarding the Amtrak train... :D
There are small electric "saucepans", no idea of the power requirements, that would open self cooked train cuisine to the Cordon Blu crowd... maybe!
Just noticed a rice cooker from Walmart, only 300watts, so less juice needed than for my electric travel kettle. Go for it!
 
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tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
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Yeah. I'm not sure what Amtrak would think. Could it be a safety issue?

I like the Tasters Choice because it's consistent. Those room or lobby coffee machines usually don't impress me.
I use a small immersion heater if there's no microwave.
 

desertflyer

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Since about 2016, I've made coffee every morning in my room using a portable bonmac pourover kit and an electric kettle. It's fun because I can buy a bag of beans from wherever I'm travelling. Good, fresh coffee!


I've never tried making food, but that's actually a good idea if the flex dining continues. Maybe I should get a mini-rice cooker.

2020 has sure been a weird year for travel. I wonder how demand will change with the 3x week service change? Fewer rooms available each week, but also a less flexible schedule. I could see it going either way, regardless of room fares.
 

WWW

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While it is not likely to impress foodies, you could heat up a packet of microwave rice with hot water from a travel kettle. I boiled eggs in a kettle in India, but I would rather just buy some fruit, nuts, cookies, etc before boarding the Amtrak train... :D
There are small electric "saucepans", no idea of the power requirements, that would open self cooked train cuisine to the Cordon Blu crowd... maybe!
Just noticed a rice cooker from Walmart, only 300watts, so less juice needed than for my electric travel kettle. Go for it!
Interesting - what are the power outlet specs for a Roomette or Bedroom ?
Obvious electric shavers toothbrushes are not going to trip any breakers or blow fuses -
But what about gear that doesn't plug into a USB outlet ? Coffee maker ?
And who wants to tote along a microwave extra baggage -
and is Amtrak going to let you use one of theirs - remember what happens when
you pop popcorn and that distinct burnt smell lingering - did you bring enough to share ?

Buying fruits and nuts and the alike is convenient at the start of a rail trip -
But what about resupplying in route at reasonable cost -
You are not going to find a 7-11 at a whistle stop let alone have time to shop.
Are we there yet and I am hungry !

A nightmare for the Phileas Fogg* travel nut - train scheduling and food provisioning !
* "Around the World in 80 Days"

Don't worry be happy (sic) LOL !
 

Rasputin

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Jan 17, 2019
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I enjoy seeing the creativity of others but I have a concern about people cooking food or even heating coffee in an Amtrak bedroom or roomette due to the danger of fire. I have experienced fires on passenger trains and cars can fill with smoke quite quickly and pose a dangerous situation. I associate passengers cooking food on trains as a third world phenomenon but I guess we have come to that.
 

MilwaukeeRoadLover

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Sep 21, 2020
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Milwaukee
Since about 2016, I've made coffee every morning in my room using a portable bonmac pourover kit and an electric kettle. It's fun because I can buy a bag of beans from wherever I'm travelling. Good, fresh coffee!


I've never tried making food, but that's actually a good idea if the flex dining continues. Maybe I should get a mini-rice cooker.

2020 has sure been a weird year for travel. I wonder how demand will change with the 3x week service change? Fewer rooms available each week, but also a less flexible schedule. I could see it going either way, regardless of room fares.
My attendant indicated coffee available in either cafe car or dining: that was enough for me. Those roomettes are so small. She also indicated the EM will drop from staff of 11 to 5. ( If I heard right.)
 

gwolfdog

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Mar 27, 2020
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I enjoy seeing the creativity of others but I have a concern about people cooking food or even heating coffee in an Amtrak bedroom or roomette due to the danger of fire. I have experienced fires on passenger trains and cars can fill with smoke quite quickly and pose a dangerous situation. I associate passengers cooking food on trains as a third world phenomenon but I guess we have come to that.
I expect it won't be long before chicken cages will be acceptable on board. 🤣 😷
 

Ziv

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Oct 25, 2011
Messages
643
When I traveled on trains in China they had a huge samovar of hot water at the end of each sleeper car, as did the Russian trains. It was cool to see everyone chatting about what types of tea and accoutrements (they put flowers and mushrooms and stuff in their tea) they were brewing. It also made it really easy to make "ramen" if you didn't feel like going to the dining car. Sadly, Chinese ramen cups are just as boring/basic as American/European ramen or were 10 years ago. You can go spicy hot, but you seldom ever get anything that tastes like real ramen. I ended up going with a split pea soup most days, pretty tasty, filling and high in fiber. I never thought to do it on Amtrak trains but I should have considered it for one lunch on my EB runs.
 

flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
Messages
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When I traveled on trains in China they had a huge samovar of hot water at the end of each sleeper car...It imade it really easy to make "ramen" if you didn't feel like going to the dining car. Sadly, Chinese ramen cups are just as boring/basic as American/European ramen or were 10 years ago. You can go spicy hot, but you seldom ever get anything that tastes like real ramen. I never thought to do it on Amtrak trains but I should have considered it for one lunch on my EB runs.
There's a new generation of better-quality instant ramen products out there. Nissin Raoh comes in three flavors--miso, tonkatsu, and soy sauce--and all three are very good. The ramen noodles are not fried, and the seasoning comes in two packets, one dry and one of infused oil. Of course, you won't get the yummy ramen fixings of jammy egg, sliced scallions, and pork belly on your ramen if you eat it on a train, just plain ramen. Momosan is another brand, sponsored by Iron Chef Morimoto--likewise unfried noodles and the two packet approach to seasoning. Both of these brands cost about 2 dollars a packet at my local supermarket, and a bit less at the Asian grocery store. Not that I'm recommending bringing an electric kettle on a train, of course. No sirree, no matter how gross the flex dining is, I say no. Though if I smelled you cooking decent ramen in the adjacent sleeper, I'd be hard-pressed to maintain social distancing. 😁 😁
 

Qapla

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Nissin Raoh comes in three flavors--miso, tonkatsu, and soy sauce--and all three are very good.
As with many other things - this is an opinion. I am not a fan of soy sauce. I would not find these offerings "yummy". Now, if the ramen was chicken, pork or something simple like that without the typical "Asian" flavors I would like them better. Just not a fan of Asian food ... now, Italian - 😋
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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I enjoy seeing the creativity of others but I have a concern about people cooking food or even heating coffee in an Amtrak bedroom or roomette due to the danger of fire. I have experienced fires on passenger trains and cars can fill with smoke quite quickly and pose a dangerous situation. I associate passengers cooking food on trains as a third world phenomenon but I guess we have come to that.
Not just a fire hazard (which is real I agree) but also if you trip a breaker it could cut off electrical power for everyone on your car, or at least your side of the car.

If you want to make your own coffee, or rice, or oatmeal, or whatever ask for a cup of hot water from the diner or lounge.
 

caravanman

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Many of my posts contain a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, but I don't want to mislead folk on A.U...

While I have used a small travel kettle to boil water for tea, I would not suggest that proper cooking is undertaken! I find the water from the café car is not really hot enough to get a "proper" cup of tea, UK style, but fine for instant porridge, etc.

I like to eat healthily most of the time, so nuts, raisins,apples, oranges, etc are not going to go "off" over a couple of days on a train.

While a tasty item such as pot noodles is welcome now and again, these type of snacks often contain astonishing amounts of salt in the flavouring sachets. (Unlike the Amtrak hot dogs... ;) )

I guess the fact that folk are even considering rice cookers, etc, on a train is a severe comment on the current Amtrak meals?
 

anumberone

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There's a new generation of better-quality instant ramen products out there. Nissin Raoh comes in three flavors--miso, tonkatsu, and soy sauce--and all three are very good. The ramen noodles are not fried, and the seasoning comes in two packets, one dry and one of infused oil. Of course, you won't get the yummy ramen fixings of jammy egg, sliced scallions, and pork belly on your ramen if you eat it on a train, just plain ramen. Momosan is another brand, sponsored by Iron Chef Morimoto--likewise unfried noodles and the two packet approach to seasoning. Both of these brands cost about 2 dollars a packet at my local supermarket, and a bit less at the Asian grocery store. Not that I'm recommending bringing an electric kettle on a train, of course. No sirree, no matter how gross the flex dining is, I say no. Though if I smelled you cooking decent ramen in the adjacent sleeper, I'd be hard-pressed to maintain social distancing. 😁 😁
As you said, one can do so much with all the Raman available now. Just need hot water. I would think Amtrak could supply that.
 

me_little_me

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Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,288
Interesting - what are the power outlet specs for a Roomette or Bedroom ?
Obvious electric shavers toothbrushes are not going to trip any breakers or blow fuses -
But what about gear that doesn't plug into a USB outlet ? Coffee maker ?
Well, those things can't be any worse than a 1000W hair dryer. For as long as we have been traveling on Amtrak, she (who must be obeyed) has insisted we drag along a hair dryer for the train even though it might be the only place we use it because all hotels and cruise ships these days have them. It has never tripped the circuit breaker on board Amtrak.
 

WWW

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Well, those things can't be any worse than a 1000W hair dryer. For as long as we have been traveling on Amtrak, she (who must be obeyed) has insisted we drag along a hair dryer for the train even though it might be the only place we use it because all hotels and cruise ships these days have them. It has never tripped the circuit breaker on board Amtrak.
Must be that Phyllis Diller syndrome ! LOL !
Ya Amtrak has that huge diesel ELECTRIC generator (sometimes more than one) at the front of the train - more power to - - -

Curiosity - do the outlets take a two prong or the three (with ground) connection ?
Always when traveling I take a converter plug to take care of most of these issues.
Haven't rode Amtrak sleeper or roomette accommodations - am I in for a surprise ?
On cruise ships have to be careful not upset the chief electrical officer - the one that
resets the breakers when you overtax the electrical grid - my shaver did it !
Really and not that multi gizmo wattage hair dryer.
 

tgstubbs1

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Well, those things can't be any worse than a 1000W hair dryer. For as long as we have been traveling on Amtrak, she (who must be obeyed) has insisted we drag along a hair dryer for the train even though it might be the only place we use it because all hotels and cruise ships these days have them. It has never tripped the circuit breaker on board Amtrak.
I have one of those small 110v immersion heat coils you can set in a cup to heat water. It says 300 watts. That's not too bad but if you plug it in out of water for even a brief moment it will burn out.
 

desertflyer

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The electric kettle I use is rated as 750W but I haven't tested it with a kill-a-watt. I should do that. It's definitely not fast.

This reminds me of when I was traveling in Romania and 20 minutes before Cluj-Napoca I plugged in my tablet only for the outlet to spark and take out all power to the car except for emergency lighting. The Romanian conductor was SO mad, he was flipping breakers over and over trying to fix it all while staring at me. He probably would have thrown me off the train in Cluj if I wasn't already getting off. One of the most awkward experiences in my life (so far). I still profess that the outlet was defective. Surprisingly it didn't ruin my tablet or charger.
 
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flitcraft

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I have one of those small 110v immersion heat coils you can set in a cup to heat water. It says 300 watts. That's not too bad but if you plug it in out of water for even a brief moment it will burn out.
I always bring one when I'm in places where water must be boiled to be safe. I have burned out a few of them out of pure forgetfulness; as noted by tgstubbs1, they *must* be immersed at all times while plugged in. I'm good about remembering to put the heater in the cup first, then plugging in. I sometimes pull it out once the water is boiling and forget to unplug first. Yup, I've done this more than once...good thing they're so cheap!
 

tgstubbs1

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I always bring one when I'm in places where water must be boiled to be safe. I have burned out a few of them out of pure forgetfulness; as noted by tgstubbs1, they *must* be immersed at all times while plugged in. I'm good about remembering to put the heater in the cup first, then plugging in. I sometimes pull it out once the water is boiling and forget to unplug first. Yup, I've done this more than once...good thing they're so cheap!
Cheap, but not easy to find. Where do you buy them?
 

flitcraft

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The travel item company, Lewis N. Clark, makes the one I use. It's available on their website and also on Amazon. I think I bought my last one at the Rick Steves store in Edmonds Washington, but I wonder if the store is even open now...
 
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