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New National Menu February, 2020

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Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
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849
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Carolinas
Seems like there are more choices. The Cubano bowl sounds good. Now all they have to do is something similar with the flex dining menu.
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
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Jan 15, 2012
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LAX
Looking pretty good.
They took away the guacamole...loved it on my omelets and burgers!
 

keelhauled

OBS Chief
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Oct 3, 2014
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863
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Camorr
It could also refer to the roll served on the side, seeing as there is no separate file for it.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,681
Wow, that is thoughtless. For the steak I presume it is the optional sauce though.
I would hope so. I can't tell if the chicken can be served without the mushroom sauce or not.

It could also refer to the roll served on the side, seeing as there is no separate file for it.
It could.. but that's what is frustrating. If the official site doesn't explain it, how do you expect the amtrak staff to know? There should be at least one dinner entree that is marked gluten free (this is, oddly enough, something they got right with the contemporary dining even though there is not a gluten free dessert option on that menu).
 

JP1822

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
47
This does seem to have some additional and better choices for lunch and dinner. I still don't understand why they can't do a "marketplace special" like they used to, for lunch that used to include a sandwich..... Typically I am stuck with the Burger! Not ordering fish on the train, sorry, and salad could caused me to have issues...... The pork and veggie burger as a lunch option is a descent change. An Italian option for dinner is nice, and priced better.......
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
466
Thankfully they didn’t raise the prices. I wish they would bring back the all inclusive breakfasts it was a great way for coach passengers to experience the diner first thing in the morning, get hooked and come back for lunch/dinner. Throwing in the coffee and or juice would cost Amtrak very little and make breakfast a great value increasing the breakfast crowd. My anecdotal experience is breakfast is the least patronized meal. Your more likely to get a table by yourself for breakfast then any other meal.


I guess I expected to see some outside the box thinking on the menu change. Especially for as big an issue food service has been made to be. It’s still very possible we may loose full diner service on the western trains in the next two years. In a perfect world I’d hope they would try to make the current system more efficient before a memo comes out eliminating it. On the flip side maybe the numbers on the eastern trains are so bad the status quo in the west is ok.
 
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the_traveler

Conductor
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Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
I disagree.

Unless you go to the diner when they open at 6:30, you are very unlikely to “sit alone”. I find that breakfast is the most patronized meal of the day. It is the one without reservations and the one most easily used by coach passengers. I never heard then have a “wait list” for lunch or dinner - but they do for breakfast.

I’d say lunch is the best chance of being seated alone.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
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Sep 15, 2017
Messages
919
I guess I expected to see some outside the box thinking on the menu change. Especially for as big an issue food service has been made to be. It’s still very possible we may loose full diner service on the western trains in the next two years. In a perfect world I’d hope they would try to make the current system more efficient before a memo comes out eliminating it. On the flip side maybe the numbers on the eastern trains are so bad the status quo in the west is ok.
I don’t think the western trains are going to get the same flex dining as the eastern. Whether they do something to dumb it down eventually we’ll see. They even admitted that the two nighters demand a different approach as the food is an even more important part of the experience. I think “experiential” travelers are a more important rider block on these trains due to the scenery.

I think instead what you’ll see out west is an effort to break some of the routes up into corridors and then once you do that you don’t need the diners at all. The Sunset limited surely has a big target on it right now. If they succeed and are just left with the builder, zephyr, and starlight as Anderson as hinted, then it doesn’t cost as much to have traditional dining on those three remaining trains.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
540
I'll miss the musssels...but the manicotti looks good. Also, salmon is more forgiving of reheating than cod, I think. Still, I'm looking forward to my trip this April to check the new menu out.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,510
Location
Toronto area
Are pork wings really a thing? My mother used to say that something unlikely would happen when pigs can fly. Pity she didn't live to see this happen...
These were actually a thing you could buy frozen several years from grocery stores that carried the "President's Choice" brand in Canada and northern US, and they were called "Pigs Can Fly". They haven't been around for awhile, but I looked for a pic and they may be making a comeback: https://www.chicagobusiness.com/restaurants/pork-wings-are-coming-your-super-bowl-menu-no-pigs-dont-fly
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
I would hope so. I can't tell if the chicken can be served without the mushroom sauce or not.

It could.. but that's what is frustrating. If the official site doesn't explain it, how do you expect the amtrak staff to know? There should be at least one dinner entree that is marked gluten free (this is, oddly enough, something they got right with the contemporary dining even though there is not a gluten free dessert option on that menu).
This is one of many reasons I've been calling for full ingredients lists for so long. It allows people with dietary restrictions to figure out *which piece of the meal to leave out* in order to be compliant with their dietary restrictions. You can't do that with this sort of vague "every meal contains wheat" nonsense.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
937
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
I am thrilled that the French Toast is back! I almost always eat eggs for breakfast, but I will make an exception for Railroad French Toast!:)
A review of the new food on Facebook said that the French Toast was good but thin. Maybe, as with the crab cakes, they'll make it better over time... I'll never forget my first French Toast on the rails on the National Limited as we traversed the hills of Pennsylvania. It was the only meal I could afford in the dining car on a cross-country roundtrip in 1978. I travel rarely at all, so train trips are special and the excitement of eating something new adds to the pleasure of the journey. I hope they change the menu more often than in the last few years.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
I don’t think the western trains are going to get the same flex dining as the eastern. Whether they do something to dumb it down eventually we’ll see. They even admitted that the two nighters demand a different approach as the food is an even more important part of the experience. I think “experiential” travelers are a more important rider block on these trains due to the scenery.

I think instead what you’ll see out west is an effort to break some of the routes up into corridors and then once you do that you don’t need the diners at all. The Sunset limited surely has a big target on it right now. If they succeed and are just left with the builder, zephyr, and starlight as Anderson as hinted, then it doesn’t cost as much to have traditional dining on those three remaining trains.
The Southwest Chief is untouchable thanks to the political coalition behind it. And it should be -- in addition to everything else, it's the *fastest* train from Chicago to the West Coast. That's four two-night trains rather than three.

I agree that the Sunset has a target on it, and I frankly can't care because I've never been able to figure out how to use it with the three-a-week schedule. Its current situation is no good -- it needs to go daily or be replaced with something else. It also has the longest population-free stretch of any Amtrak train route, between El Paso and San Antonio, which is an unsolvable problem for ridership. And, uniquely for any Amtrak train, the Congressional representatives of the districts where it has stations mostly vote against Amtrak. (In practically every other community with a station, the Congressional representatives vote for Amtrak. Not on the Sunset.) If there were money available, I would support a restructuring where the train from the west ran through Odessa/Midland and Abilene to Dallas, while the train from the east added stops between Houston and San Antonio and ended in San Antonio; or even went from Houston to College Station and ended up in Dallas. But there isn't even money to get the train to stop in Phoenix due to local disinterest, so I don't see how to get backing for any improvements.

I am currently most concerned about the Unacceptable Dining on the one-night trains, where the prices you can charge for decent food are highest (many riders are used to dealing with NY, DC, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando, Miami food prices), and the ridership lost by not offering decent food is massive.
 
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Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
849
Location
Carolinas
........
I agree that the Sunset has a target on it, and I frankly can't care because I've never been able to figure out how to use it with the three-a-week schedule. Its current situation is no good -- it needs to go daily or be replaced with something else. It also has the longest population-free stretch of any Amtrak train route, between El Paso and San Antonio, which is an unsolvable problem for ridership. And, uniquely for any Amtrak train, the Congressional representatives of the districts where it has stations mostly vote against Amtrak. (In practically every other community with a station, the Congressional representatives vote for Amtrak. Not on the Sunset.) If there were money available, I would support a restructuring where the train from the west ran through Odessa/Midland and Abilene to Dallas, while the train from the east added stops between Houston and San Antonio and ended in San Antonio; or even went from Houston to College Station and ended up in Dallas. But there isn't even money to get the train to stop in Phoenix due to local disinterest, so I don't see how to get backing for any improvements.

I am currently most concerned about the Unacceptable Dining on the one-night trains, where the prices you can charge for decent food are highest (many riders are used to dealing with NY, DC, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando, Miami food prices), and the ridership lost by not offering decent food is massive.
I agree the Sunset needs a new purpose. On our recent trip ridership was light, particularly east of San Antonio where many passengers were connecting to the Texas Eagle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the train routed to Dallas/Ft Worth instead, as Neroden suggests, using the former T&P west Texas route. It could terminate there and connect to the Eagle using the former T&P west Texas route)?

With the miles saved you could probably justify it going daily and get Texas to fund a Dallas to Houston train until such time as Texas Central begins operation. For connections to the east, let Dallas/Ft Worth also be the hub and connect to a revised Crescent routing (not a new idea) to Jackson, MS (for NOL connections via CONO perhaps with through cars from the east) and then on its present route from Meridian. I’m sure there are many reasons while this would be difficult but Amtrak does need to make the Sunset more useful.
 
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