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


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#241 Manny T

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:50 PM

Manny... I'm confused by your post? Are you suggesting that it's unreasonable to want Amtrak to provide better service?

CZ, it's a question of expectations. Amtrak can certainly provide better service, and should. But I doubt Amtrak can ever provide "first class" service, the way staff in the first class or business class section of an airplane can. First class and business class flight attendants can tell you all about the wine selection on board, let you taste everything, and discuss it with you. I would never expect that on Amtrak. If they can do better than "red or white," I'd be happy. As it is, I try to go with the flow and keep my expectations low.



#242 tommylicious

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:57 PM

Well...as long as you're not comparing Amtrak to United "Polaris".  I flew Polaris back from Europe in April and the flight attendants were absolutely terrible. 



#243 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:44 PM

Amtrak can certainly provide better service, and should. But I doubt Amtrak can ever provide "first class" service, the way staff in the first class or business class section of an airplane can. First class and business class flight attendants can tell you all about the wine selection on board, let you taste everything, and discuss it with you. I would never expect that on Amtrak.


Why not? Amtrak sleeper tickets often cost as much or even more than first class airfare. Amtrak trains have the benefit of more room and more load bearing capacity compared to even the largest widebody aircraft, let alone the tiny region jets that have taken over much of our domestic network. What logical reason does Amtrak have for charging more and giving less? If anything a train should be able to exceed the service levels of the best airlines.

 

Well...as long as you're not comparing Amtrak to United "Polaris".  I flew Polaris back from Europe in April and the flight attendants were absolutely terrible.

 

Oddly enough there seems to be some sort of correlation between Amtrak fans and United loyalists.  I'm curious to know more but the details are sketchy and defensive.  :lol:


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 05 June 2017 - 01:12 AM.

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#244 Lonestar648

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:39 AM

I found the PCC Attendants quite knowledgeable on the wines they had for the wine tasting. May be they have a good attitude, why they have the PCC, thus must have guides they read or view to be up on the wines they are serving.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#245 ehbowen

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:46 AM

I found the PCC Attendants quite knowledgeable on the wines they had for the wine tasting. May be they have a good attitude, why they have the PCC, thus must have guides they read or view to be up on the wines they are serving.

 

PCC Car:

 

Attached File  060524_SF_PCC_10653..jpg   372.51KB   26 downloads

 

PPC Car:

 

Attached File  IMG_20140423_110118.jpg   121.87KB   25 downloads


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#246 Lonestar648

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:42 PM

Sorry Typo, meant PPC.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#247 Dakota 400

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:50 PM

Well...as long as you're not comparing Amtrak to United "Polaris".  I flew Polaris back from Europe in April and the flight attendants were absolutely terrible. 

 

I have flown Singapore Airlines from Singapore to SFO in Business Class.  While the service and amenities were somewhat better than U.S. airlines international flights that I have flown, my experience failed to meet my expectations after all of the hype I had learned about Singapore Airlines.  For example, a Rib-Eye Steak that was too well done, thus tough/flavorless.  (Amtrak's steaks that I have ordered have been better.)  



#248 BoulderCO

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:05 PM

Also keep in mind that most first class flights are only a few hours long with one meal.   LD trains can be 2 or 3 days with many meals.   So the incremental cost structure for AmTrak in terms of food, labor and amortized cost of the space you take up on a trip is higher than for the airlines.

 

I don't mean this as a total apology for AmTrak.   I get sticker shock when I look at the typical sleeper ticket, given the quality of the "room", food, and often surly service provided.   



#249 Dakota 400

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:24 PM

Also keep in mind that most first class flights are only a few hours long with one meal.   LD trains can be 2 or 3 days with many meals.   So the incremental cost structure for AmTrak in terms of food, labor and amortized cost of the space you take up on a trip is higher than for the airlines.

 

I don't mean this as a total apology for AmTrak.   I get sticker shock when I look at the typical sleeper ticket, given the quality of the "room", food, and often surly service provided.   

 

Slightly off topic (please forgive), but I got sticker shock when I checked the cost of booking my Roomette on the Empire Builder in July as compared with what I paid a few months ago.  The price increased by more than $400!

 

Booking as early as one can surely paid off for me!



#250 snvboy

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:38 PM

Heck, I don't care if they don't know their red from their right. Some trips I'm just thankful they remembered that I ordered any wine at all!



#251 niemi24s

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:53 PM

Slightly off topic (please forgive), but I got sticker shock when I checked the cost of booking my Roomette on the Empire Builder in July as compared with what I paid a few months ago.  The price increased by more than $400!

Only $400?  The current difference between high and low bucket Roomette upcharges (as well as the total fares) for the entire EB route is $506.

 

An AmSnag search just now for CHI to SEA (first 30 days in July) shows the following availability: 7 dates with Roomettes; 1 date with Family Room; 3 dates with Bedroom available.  Supply & demand at work. 


Edited by niemi24s, 06 June 2017 - 09:05 PM.


#252 Woodcut60

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:21 AM

I was surprised that they have special menus, i.e. not mentioned on the Menu. On the Capitol Limited last year a friend of mine asked for the special and it was really delicious. We had Pork Shank with a nice sauce and mashed potatoes.


Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades.

Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax, NS-Montréal, QC), Corridor Montréal-Toronto, The Canadian (Toronto, ON-Vancouver, BC).

Amtrak: approx. 25,000 miles and 47 states.

VIA Rail Canada: approx. 4,300 miles and eight provinces.


#253 erinch13

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:08 AM

Back to the food ingredient and food allergy question. My son, who is now 30, was born with anaphylactic food allergies to all milk, egg, tree nut, peanut. Even a tiny amount of whey or sodium caseinate, which are common and at that time not listed as ingredients, would require immediate epinephrine.

He almost died after eating Golden Grahams, which did not list the butter based flavoring because the FDA did not regulate flavoring. We were part of the class action suit that got the congress to require listing at least major allergens. Nonetheless, we had to check the food labels every single time we bought any food item because they change. And bread, even on the same label, may shift ingredients by factories.

I would never count an ingredient list to be accurate, unless I read the one on the packaging of the actual food item, if you are dealing with anaphylactic allergies. In particular on a train where getting to an ER after the initial 2 self administered epi-pens might be impossible.

I am not defending shoddy customer service, but food ingredient lists are not static, and are out of the control of purchasers.

#254 Skyline

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 12:08 PM

Canadian Club and standard Crown Royal are Canadian Whiskeys but they are not Ryes and have not been for decades. Crown Royal makes a Rye, and it's decent. JP Weiser's is a Canadian company, they make several varieties, one of which is Rye. I can't find it in most NJ stores (Roger Wilco has it) but is readily available in better PA state stores- it is legal to import PA liquor into NJ, but not the other way around. No idea about Ohio.

I have been drinking Seagram's VO for decades, as I prefer it to Canadian Club. They are both Canadian whiskeys, very similar in taste, but I can tell the difference. Several on here have called CC a Rye whiskey. I agree with you -- It is not, according to labels. And it certainly does not taste like anything labelled "Straight Rye Whiskey."

 

The current-day Seagrams (successors to the brand) makes BOTH a Crown Royal "Blended Canadian Whisky" and a "Straight Rye Whisky" and their labels clearly state which is which.

 

There are a few bourbons which are often referred to as Rye whiskey. What a particular batch is called and what it is labelled should not be confused. Bourbon has a sweet, smoky ambience while Rye is a spicy, grainy, hard-edged version of bourbon.

 

If you live in Canada, it is a bit more confusing but since we're talking about Amtrak in the USA, let's agree that Bourbon, blended Whiskey (including those labelled Canadian which typically spell it 'Whisky"), and Rye are three distinct products. Wouldn't it be better to simply go with whatever the label says it is? 

 

BTW, I rode the Canadian Toronto > Vancouver last month. They did not serve Seagrams VO, but did serve Canadian Club and the bartender and her superior commented they were basically the same so Via chose CC. Hmmmm.


Edited by Skyline, 09 June 2017 - 12:09 PM.


#255 Dakota 400

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:20 PM

 

Canadian Club and standard Crown Royal are Canadian Whiskeys but they are not Ryes and have not been for decades. Crown Royal makes a Rye, and it's decent. JP Weiser's is a Canadian company, they make several varieties, one of which is Rye. I can't find it in most NJ stores (Roger Wilco has it) but is readily available in better PA state stores- it is legal to import PA liquor into NJ, but not the other way around. No idea about Ohio.

I have been drinking Seagram's VO for decades, as I prefer it to Canadian Club. They are both Canadian whiskeys, very similar in taste, but I can tell the difference. Several on here have called CC a Rye whiskey. I agree with you -- It is not, according to labels. And it certainly does not taste like anything labelled "Straight Rye Whiskey."

 

The current-day Seagrams (successors to the brand) makes BOTH a Crown Royal "Blended Canadian Whisky" and a "Straight Rye Whisky" and their labels clearly state which is which.

 

There are a few bourbons which are often referred to as Rye whiskey. What a particular batch is called and what it is labelled should not be confused. Bourbon has a sweet, smoky ambience while Rye is a spicy, grainy, hard-edged version of bourbon.

 

If you live in Canada, it is a bit more confusing but since we're talking about Amtrak in the USA, let's agree that Bourbon, blended Whiskey (including those labelled Canadian which typically spell it 'Whisky"), and Rye are three distinct products. Wouldn't it be better to simply go with whatever the label says it is? 

 

BTW, I rode the Canadian Toronto > Vancouver last month. They did not serve Seagrams VO, but did serve Canadian Club and the bartender and her superior commented they were basically the same so Via chose CC. Hmmmm.

 

 

Thank you for your post and information.  I continue to learn!



#256 Skyline

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 11:47 AM

 


Reminds me of one time a bunch of us went out to dinner...

My friend - "what kind of sodas do you have?"
Server - "we have coke, sprite, rootbeer, ginger ale..."
My friend - "ginger ale, do you know were they grew the ginger?"
Server - "you want the ginger ale?"
My friend - "I am not sure without knowing more about it."

 

Hmmmm. Nothing like the cook in a diner who got my Cheeseburger Platter order and yelled out to the counter, "Do you want CHEESE on that cheeseburger?" So glad this would never happen on a train, right?






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