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National Dining Car Specials/New Menus (April '17)

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KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
I'm booked next month for a 5000 mile Amtrak train ride.

What have they recently been offering as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner specials.

Do I remember right that they often make menu changes at the end of April?
 
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Dakota 400

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All of the new info are up on http://www.amtrakfoodfacts.com/. Not sure about the taste but the items seem to be an improvement. Now they have shrimp and steak entree. The lemon tart looks good in the photo.
I just checked out the items for my next Amtrak journey on the Empire Builder and am very pleased with what I saw being offered. The photos of the items looked good. And, I am really glad that Railroad French Toast will still be offered for Breakfast. I agree that the lemon tart is a dessert that ought to be tried.
 
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Palmland

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Is the link to menus current? It shows the Signature Steak on the Silver Star- which has only a cafe car.
 

Blackwolf

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What a difference a month makes. Wish I had this menu back in March, looks like substantial improvement over the old menu.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Looks like the Chef Inspired meals are making a comeback of some sort. If they're as tasty as the ones that were previously featured in years past this could be a good sign for improving culinary standards in the future.
 

Anderson

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Oh my God that looks good...I'm actually suddenly tempted to run up to DC and back to try out one of these menu items. (If the Meteor hadn't been sold out SB for today as of last night, I would've likely been on it today on a "stress relief run").

The "Field and Sea" combo not only sounds delicious, it's also the cagiest accounting gambit I've seen from F&B since...pretty much ever. I doubt the dish costs $11 more than "just" the steak but they've just managed to probably pull another few hundred grand or so out of the sleeper account.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I was starting to develop a hankering for some rail related travel and this change in the menu might be enough to get me off high center. The new menus aren't perfect. Most of the meals are duplicated across routes, most of the meat is still precooked, and several items that would benefit massively from fresh preparation (such as salsa and guacamole) are stocked as generic pantry knockoffs instead. That being said, the previous chef inspired meals were precooked and reheated and still tasted good anyway. I managed to find several items that looked interesting enough to try on my next trip. No guarantee I'll like any of them but I'm willing to give them a shot.
 

Larry H.

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I was starting to develop a hankering for some rail related travel and this change in the menu might be enough to get me off high center. The new menus aren't perfect. Most of the meals are duplicated across routes, most of the meat is still precooked, and several items that would benefit massively from fresh preparation (such as salsa and guacamole) are stocked as generic pantry knockoffs instead. That being said, the previous chef inspired meals were precooked and reheated and still tasted good anyway. I managed to find several items that looked interesting enough to try on my next trip. No guarantee I'll like any of them but I'm willing to give them a shot.
Agreed, the food service is one of the most enjoyable parts of the trips so long as its made decently. I hope they get their acts together. I wrote my congressman the other day about the proposed elimination of the long distance trains an mentioned the folly of having almost no decent food service on board.
 

Johanna

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From my (vegetarian) point of view, my only complaint is that the two meatless dinner options - the "vegetarian Asian noodle bowl" and the "healthy choice: Chinese rice noodles with veggies & cashew sauce" - look very similar. If they're going to drop from stocking two "healthy choices" to just one, you'd think they could pick one that offers some contrast to what's already on the menu.

Other than that, it looks good. The southwestern lunch salad looks nice and substantial, and I like the option to get guacamole on the veggie burger. I'm looking forward to trying these on my trip on the EB in a few weeks.

The $36 surf and turf worries me, though - I hope we don't see too much of a spike in sleeper fares to cover this "cost."
 

denmarks

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I just looked at the new menu for the CZ menu and it looks good. I just want to verify what comes with a sleeper.

I assume you can have any single entree on the menu. That includes the new Field & Sea Combo for $36. Dinner comes with a salad and roll. You can order a single side for breakfast.

Do you also get any desert and a beverage (non alcoholic)?

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/331/568/California-Zephyr-Dining-Car-Menu-0417.pdf
 

Bob Dylan

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Yep, your non-alchol beverages, including juice,coffee and a breakfast meat with Breakfast are included, as are non-alcohol drinks and deserts with Lunch and Dinner meals.
 
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KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
In the past we had to ask for the salad, and the salad is also included at lunch.

At breakfast I always get orange juice & coffee.

At lunch I have sometimes had 2 servings of soft drinks.
 

dlagrua

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A step in the right direction. As Wick Moorman has said the food (dining car) is an integral part of the service. Now please bring back the ice in the sleepers and the 50 cent rose on the dinner table. BTW,anyone know when those long delayed dining cars will be delivered?
 

JayPea

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Oh boy. :rolleyes: There IS ice in the sleepers, for crying out loud in the morning. All you have to do is ask the SCA. And I have had occasions, mainly on the eastern sleepers, where ice was out and available. No need to ask.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Step in the wrong direction to me... the pasta dish is no longer vegetarian so that's one less veggie option. There is no actual fish entree... just the Shrimp. Lots of people eat fish but not shellfish for a variety of reasons. I'm not really sure what I would order on the new menu.... honestly I would probably get a veggie burger for dinner, I may try the shrimp but I doubt I will think it's good enough to want to order it again.

On the previous menu the Cod and the Pasta were pretty good.
 

bretton88

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Step in the wrong direction to me... the pasta dish is no longer vegetarian so that's one less veggie option. There is no actual fish entree... just the Shrimp. Lots of people eat fish but not shellfish for a variety of reasons. I'm not really sure what I would order on the new menu.... honestly I would probably get a veggie burger for dinner, I may try the shrimp but I doubt I will think it's good enough to want to order it again.

On the previous menu the Cod and the Pasta were pretty good.
I may not love surf n turf, but it's definitely seen as a higher end option, so it's definitely an overall step in the right direction.
Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
 

RSG

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Oh boy. :rolleyes: There IS ice in the sleepers, for crying out loud in the morning. All you have to do is ask the SCA. And I have had occasions, mainly on the eastern sleepers, where ice was out and available. No need to ask.
Only on the Viewliners is ice available as a self-serve option. Presumably this is because it they have a wet bar set up where it can be kept in a semi-secure environment and is therefore not "exposed" as health codes would define it. On the Superliners it remains a beg-for ask-for item, subject to the whim and memory of the sleeper attendant.
 

dlagrua

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Oh boy. :rolleyes: There IS ice in the sleepers, for crying out loud in the morning. All you have to do is ask the SCA. And I have had occasions, mainly on the eastern sleepers, where ice was out and available. No need to ask.
An optimistic view is always appreciated but we were unable to get ice on Amtrak for at least the last three years. We were able to get it only once on a Cardinal trip. Drinking warm orange juice is just not the way to go. Yes you can ask the SCA and they are usually good about it but if he/she is busy making up the rooms, you will enjoy a nice warm juice. We now take a cooler with us on all trips. If we have a layover in CHI before the next train leaves we walk 5 blocks to Greektown and pick up a bag of ice at Mariano's to refill. Ice costs very little to supply. Denying ice to sleeper passengers is not the way to increase profit.
 
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niemi24s

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Drinking warm orange juice is just not the way to go.
Maybe for you, but that's exactly the way I prefer it. Like it had just come off the tree.

But it was refreshing to see a thread about Amtrak food go for 12 whole posts before the negatives started to creep in.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Step in the wrong direction to me... the pasta dish is no longer vegetarian so that's one less veggie option. There is no actual fish entree... just the Shrimp. Lots of people eat fish but not shellfish for a variety of reasons. I'm not really sure what I would order on the new menu.... honestly I would probably get a veggie burger for dinner, I may try the shrimp but I doubt I will think it's good enough to want to order it again.

On the previous menu the Cod and the Pasta were pretty good.
I may not love surf n turf, but it's definitely seen as a higher end option, so it's definitely an overall step in the right direction.
I would hesitate to call something offered by Golden Corral and Denny's as a "Higher End Option."

But that really wasn't my point... It's fine if they want to offer shrimp as an entree... but don't make that the only seafood entree and then make the pasta dish non-vegetarian as well. That's extremely limiting for many diets. As long as the Veggie Burger and Entree Salad are available for Dinner service everyone should be able to get something to satisfy though.
 

Green Maned Lion

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I have always wondered if a variable in amenities availability is the attitude of the person requesting it. I always get what I ask for, and I always give tips, when I give them, when I disembark, so that's not part of it.
 
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