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Microwaved cheeseburgers and hot dogs in cafe?

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Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
6
So I just wanted to ask - how many LSA's have you see that actually separate the buns from the hot dogs and cheeseburgers and microwave the meat first, and then add back the bun and only microwave for an additional 10 or so seconds (without you asking first)? I'm an LSA and I've done it this way for years. I just figure if you're going to be paying $7.25 for a cheeseburger, I should try to make it the best damn microwaved burger that I can. I also do it with the hot dogs, vegan burger, and more recently, with the turkey and cheese cold sandwich, if I'm asked to heat that up. The meat releases a lot of juices when warmed up in the microwave, and gets the bread soggy if you don't separate it first. When I train new LSAs, I try to impart this wisdom to them.

I get funny looks and weird comments when other LSA's find out I do the food this way, because while I don't know the percentage, it does seem like I'm in the minority here when it comes to heating up the food the way I do.

I also keep all my drinks cold in the fridges. People always get confused about this as well. My response is "You go to a gas station and grab a beverage and it is cold. Why not here as well?"
 

Trainmans daughter

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Mar 12, 2009
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Paradise, CA.
Ah, bless you,Veriria!

The last time I was on the CS the cafe car attendant heated the bun and the meat separately and I thanked him for it. He said he always served food the way he would like to be served. He got a nice tip.

But too many times, I get a sandwich that is soggy on the bottom and dry on the top. Ick!
 

D.P. Roberts

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Guilder & Florin Scenic Railroad
Thank you for going the extra mile - or at least the extra footlong!

I remember once ordering a pizza from the cafe car, & it was in there way too long - the cheese melted almost entirely off the pizza. The attendant still served it that way. Yet other attendants have been much more careful and friendly with even the smallest purchase. Please know that your customers do appreciate the extra effort!
 

Triley

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The sodas not going in the fridge is something that kills me. On our busier trains I may not be able to fit all of it in the units, but I will fit a little of everything in, and leave maybe an extra case of each Pepsi and Diet Pepsi on the counter. This is one of the many reasons I hate taking over a train from NY attendants (no offense Tom!)

And I try to do my best with preparing the food, with rotating it and adjusting cook time if I have one of the 2100 watt microwaves, or the refrigerators are running closer to 40. If it's quiet on an Acela (we have actual toasters in the Cafe there) I'll try to do the breakfast sandwich, or even the burgers, and the bagels always, of course. But most of the time...our trains are too busy to do anything extravagant. Obviously I can't go in to sales figures publicly, but how about this... The par for (a two day) Regional train 95 has stuff like... 60 Pepsi/60 Diet, 140 water, 32 pizzas, 50 hot dogs, a full box each of all the chips, 30 Peanut M&M's...You get the idea. And remember, it's a Regional so you're all by yourself.
 

ScouseAndy

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 23, 2016
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Liverpool- UK
The fine art of heating "food" in a microwave!

Bon Appetit...

Ed. :cool:
Whilst working as a microwave technician supervisor (AKA Kitchen Manager) for a very well known cheap pub chain in the UK, I actually perfected the art of cooking a fried egg in a microwave using a small saucer and cooking oil. Haute Cuisine it wasn't but it was edible and not unlike the standard "wetheregg"
 

Bob Dylan

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Outstanding, eating in your Cafe sounds like a treat, not one of those " is that all there is? " expierences. !

Taking Pride in what you do to earn your daily bread is sadly going the way of the Carrier Pigeon and the Honest Politician.( has there been one since Harry Truman?)
 

Railroad Bill

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Thanks for serving Amtrak passengers with Class.. If more workers would try to aspire to these qualities the world would be a better place. :)
 

StriderGDM

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Dec 23, 2014
Messages
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I just wish the small oven next to the microwave was used. I've seen it used twice.

Once was with a meatball sub. The attendant separated the meatballs from the bun and nuked the meatballs. Meanwhile he then toasted the bun in the oven.

Reassembled, put the cheese back on, nuked a few more seconds.

It was AMAZING! I mean really good. Hot all the way through and nice crisp toasty bun.
 

OlympianHiawatha

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Eating a meal or snack on a train is almost always an enjoyable experience and having an attendant or cook/chef who takes the extra steps to improve the food quality and presentation makes it that much better.
 

MARC Rider

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Baltimore. MD
I often see Danielle in NER 188 out if Washington separate the hot dog from the bun and heat the bun in the oven while she nukes the hot dog. In fact, I saw her doing it last week when the train was pretty crowded, and it didn't really slow the line down at all. I wish everyone would do the same. Microwaving bread to heat it up does something really strange to the texture of the bread.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
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When I worked on the corridors, I'd sometimes use that small oven as well! Sadly all the racks started to disappear so I was never able to use them again.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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So I just wanted to ask - how many LSA's have you see that actually separate the buns from the hot dogs and cheeseburgers and microwave the meat first, and then add back the bun and only microwave for an additional 10 or so seconds (without you asking first)? I'm an LSA and I've done it this way for years. I just figure if you're going to be paying $7.25 for a cheeseburger, I should try to make it the best damn microwaved burger that I can. I also do it with the hot dogs, vegan burger, and more recently, with the turkey and cheese cold sandwich, if I'm asked to heat that up. The meat releases a lot of juices when warmed up in the microwave, and gets the bread soggy if you don't separate it first. When I train new LSAs, I try to impart this wisdom to them.

I get funny looks and weird comments when other LSA's find out I do the food this way, because while I don't know the percentage, it does seem like I'm in the minority here when it comes to heating up the food the way I do.

I also keep all my drinks cold in the fridges. People always get confused about this as well. My response is "You go to a gas station and grab a beverage and it is cold. Why not here as well?"
I warm my fast food at home the same way, separating the "meat" and heating it. Over nuking the bread is just plain nasty. Anyone bachelor knows that. :D

You need to write to Amtrak, and mention that you will gladly pay $25 for a burger, if the additional money was used to train their food-prep personnel (not cook nor chef) in the proper use of a microwave.

Yea, I have complained here for years, because the soda they sell are cold from a refrigerator, but the free sodas for BC are kept out warm.
 

Triley

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Yea, I have complained here for years, because the soda they sell are cold from a refrigerator, but the free sodas for BC are kept out warm.
At least on the corridor, Business Class has been getting the full size beverages that a paying passenger would get for almost a year, so provided the LSA puts that stock in the fridge, Business Class will also be getting cold soda. Prior to that, I'm sorry but as I mentioned further up thread, some trains get a ridiculous amount of stock and there was absolutely no way to keep everything refrigerated and still keep everything accessible, so even I would keep the BC sodas out. Though, I would keep them in a cabinet under the ice bin so it'd be slightly chilled, but that was the best I could do, and I hated it. Don't forget those cans were/are also used as mixers, so the drinks we would make would be watered down, and we'd hear about it then too. I can't speak for other LSAs, but I can tell you I certainly didn't like it either, and always did my best to keep everything cold.

I'm not sure how Business Class elsewhere, such of the Chicago trains or the Carolinian with its cart service, are handled. If you are talking about these services, you may be entirely right. But this just seems like another blanket statement against all LSAs, which as some here know, really bother me. There are great, good, bad, and horrible LSAs. Not everyone is horrible, you know. :p There are plenty of us who try to the best we can, given the work space and what we are actually allowed to do.
 
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caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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Nottingham, England.
Good to know you can fry an egg in a microwave Andy! If you read my India blog (see signature link), you will see that I resorted to boiling my eggs in a kettle. :) I am not into haute cuisine, but Amtrak seem to make junk food even more junky!

Ed. :cool:
 

Thirdrail7

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This was common practice years ago. Indeed, the older LSAs would not only separate the meat and bun, they would heat them in the convection oven instead of the microwave.

They also used the microwave and convection for the pizza if you had the time, unlike some who unceremoniously lob the thing in the microwave, nuke it and serve it...with all of the pepperoni on one part of the pizza and the cheese on the wrapper.

Their motto was simple: Pride=job security...and tips.

You were obviously trained by them and carry the torch.
 
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Cho Cho Charlie

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At least on the corridor, Business Class has been getting the full size beverages that a paying passenger would get for almost a year, so provided the LSA puts that stock in the fridge, Business Class will also be getting cold soda. Prior to that, I'm sorry but as I mentioned further up thread, some trains get a ridiculous amount of stock and there was absolutely no way to keep everything refrigerated and still keep everything accessible, so even I would keep the BC sodas out. Though, I would keep them in a cabinet under the ice bin so it'd be slightly chilled, but that was the best I could do, and I hated it. Don't forget those cans were/are also used as mixers, so the drinks we would make would be watered down, and we'd hear about it then too. I can't speak for other LSAs, but I can tell you I certainly didn't like it either, and always did my best to keep everything cold.
Its been at least a year since I treated myself to a BC ticket. So, things could have changed for the better.

I would not claim that all soda stock be kept in the refrigerator. Though, out of some sense of fairness, I would have expected that the limited refrigerated space be more fairly allocated, like 1/2 for pay soda and 1/2 for BC soda. As soda is sold/handed out, one can backfill and rotate in the warm soda.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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Whilst working as a microwave technician supervisor (AKA Kitchen Manager) for a very well known cheap pub chain in the UK, I actually perfected the art of cooking a fried egg in a microwave using a small saucer and cooking oil. Haute Cuisine it wasn't but it was edible and not unlike the standard "wetheregg"
I don't know if this is at all related, but to mention that the Dunkin Donut shops in my area, cook the eggs for the breakfast sandwiches in a microwave. Honestly, cooking the eggs that way, still results in a decent sandwich.

BTW, they don't "toast" the bread/muffin/bagel in the microwave. :D
 

daybeers

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HFD
Wow, this is great to see! I love to witness Amtrak personnel going the extra mile for customer service. I hope at least a few customers of yours send good reports to Customer Relations!
 

StriderGDM

OBS Chief
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
581
This was common practice years ago. Indeed, the older LSAs would not only separate the meat and bun, they would heat them in the convection oven instead of the microwave.

They also used the microwave and convection for the pizza if you had the time, unlike some who unceremoniously lob the thing in the microwave, nuke it and serve it...with all of the pepperoni on one part of the pizza and the cheese on the wrapper.

Their motto was simple: Pride=job security...and tips.

You were obviously trained by them and carry the torch.
Ayup. A simple thing. Took a few more seconds, but honestly, not that many and the difference was quite notable.

And yeah, using the convection oven for pizza would be so much better.

It's a shame that the nuker has become pretty much the only tool. :-(
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
6
This was common practice years ago. Indeed, the older LSAs would not only separate the meat and bun, they would heat them in the convection oven instead of the microwave.

They also used the microwave and convection for the pizza if you had the time, unlike some who unceremoniously lob the thing in the microwave, nuke it and serve it...with all of the pepperoni on one part of the pizza and the cheese on the wrapper.

Their motto was simple: Pride=job security...and tips.

You were obviously trained by them and carry the torch.
Yeah I've been here almost 13 years. I was trained by the old old school LSAs.
 

wowixor

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
15
Location
CHI
I also do this. When I train new people, I always hope I'm their first trainer so I can impart this "wisdom" on making the food the best it can possibly be, keeping drinks cold, etc. Sadly, I've gotten a few lately who have no desire to do this with the food, because of the way they were taught by previous LSAs when training.
 
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