- Aug 8, 2015
Thanks to both of you for the trip, I enjoyed it.
Chinatown in Chicago isnt very Big, but there are some authentic businesses and actual Chinese- American people who live and work there.There's an old joke about opening a fortune cookie and getting a fortune that reads, "Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory!"
Well, here is a picture from the Texas Eagle of a real-life Chinese fortune cookie factory in Chicago. Don't know if anybody is being held prisoner there.
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Chicago is a great place to visit when the weather is good!November 5, continued
My walk turned up the Chicago River. I followed the Riverwalk, mostly, by this point, looking for a restroom, which I found.
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I finally worked off the pancake breakfast, so it was time for a late lunch to fortify myself for contemporary flex dining on the Cardinal. I found a cheapo steak place under the L, sort of like those old Tad's steaks they used to have in New York. Sixteen bucks for a steak, baked potato, and salad. Not gourmet cuisine, but it was a blast from the past, and it filled me up.
I headed back to State Street to look for an extra shirt. (I had mispacked, in that one of my shirts was short sleeved, which I couldn't wear due to the cold weather during the entire trip.) I found one at TH Maxx, and by then I thought I might was well head back to the station. Instead of looking for the bust stop, though, I decided to use the Subway to Clinton. I got on the Red Line on State rode one stop to Jackson, went through the transfer tunnel to the Blue line, and then the Blue line to Clinton.
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The Red - to -Blue connector tunnel at Jackson
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Blue Line at Jackson.
Naturally, the escalator at Clinton wasn't working. What is this, the Washington Metro? Glad my luggage was over at the Metropolitan Lounge.
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A view of what used to be the garage at Union Station. Well, at least you can see the station now.
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Although all the escalators were set to go down, the evening commuter rush hadn't started.
Back in the Metropolitan Lounge, I ran into Penny, and Shanghai, who had missed their connection the day before, but had been re-accommodated on the day's Capitol Limited. Bill had managed to get on the Lake Shore the night before and was probably home at this point. We chatted until it was time to board the Cardinal.
The Cardinal had a Viewliner baggage car at the end of the train, one Viewliner sleeper in front of that, the business class car, the combination cafe car/Sleeper diner lounge, and 3-4 coaches in front of that. Apparently, we had only 12 passengers riding sleeper that night. I settled in and enjoyed the ride in the dark as we threaded our way south through the Chicago railway maze.
When I started getting hungry, I made my way to the diner-lounge. Apparently, one of the coach attendants was helping out the cafe attendant, and he served dinner more or less in traditional dining car style, despite the contemporary flex.
View attachment 16578 First, the salad and roll.
View attachment 16579 Then the Shrimp Creole. It was a bit spicy! I liked it, but maybe some might not be able to enjoy it. I had my free bottle of wine (only one per trip, so my other meals were dry.)
Back to my roomette, I was tracking our progress on Google Maps, and, amazingly, we were keeping to schedule. Finally, I started to get sleepy, so I had the SCA set up the upper bunk for me, and I settled in to sleep.
--To be continued
No, having ridden the Cardinal with the previous limited dining, I would judge that the pre contemporary flex limited dining was better than the current meals. Remember, if you're going the whole distance eastbound, you get 2 dinners, a lunch, and a breakfast. The current Contemporary flex has insufficient variety, and the breakfast is clearly inferior to what was offered previously. (But then, what do I know, I kind of liked the French Toast Sticks.)The new dining may actually be a small improvement over what they had previously (noting the metal or metal-look cutlery - was white plastic 2 years ago).
I guess it's a matter of timing. Two years ago was our last Cardinal trip during the summer. There was an extra sleeper (seasonal) and the dinette was always packed. They were out of everything, including the french toast sticks for breakfast. There were no burgers at lunch (not stocked in Chicago), resulting in the only hot choice being leftovers from the previous night's dinner - which closely resembled the current offerings. Picture very runny pulled pork on rice - neither looked nor tasted very good. However, the attendant scurried around with a smile on his face apologizing for what he had been provided and making the best of it. Lots of practice on that train over the years.No, having ridden the Cardinal with the previous limited dining, I would judge that the pre contemporary flex limited dining was better than the current meals. Remember, if you're going the whole distance eastbound, you get 2 dinners, a lunch, and a breakfast. The current Contemporary flex has insufficient variety, and the breakfast is clearly inferior to what was offered previously. (But then, what do I know, I kind of liked the French Toast Sticks.)
That said, I was pleased with the service I got.