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Amtrak's New "Fresh Choices" Dining on CL & LSL


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#121 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:57 PM

I was thinking about it and I forgot to add couple more. I'm sure I'm missing a ton.

Well since I've been a member on this forum, here is a list of things that we've generally complained about on here regarding sleeper amenities.

 

  • Lounge lizards are a problem sleeper passengers need a lounge of their own
  • The wine and cheese have been cut
  • The juices are getting cut
  • The amenity kits on the CS have been cut
  • The dining car is being cut
  • Parlor Car
  • Will SCA bring my meals to my room even if I'm not disabled. My SCA rolled their eyes at me when I asked for my meal in my room.
  • Will I be seated with strangers in the dining car
  • How much do I have to tip in the dining car
  • The coffee isn't all day anymore
  • I can't live with only 2 bottled water my SCA said they can't give me more than 2. My SCA gave me as many as I want.
  • In other countries blah blah blah. ViaRail blah blah blah

 

Well Amtrak is giving back in one form or another at the cost of the dining car:

  • Sleeping car lounge. Exclusively for sleeping car passengers (The dining car)
  • Wine, Beer or cocktail (Expanded minus the cheese)
  • Unlimited soft drinks (An improvement vs just juice IMOP)
  • Return of amenity kits
  • Yes your SCA or LSA will bring your meal to you
  • NO you can pick whichever booth you want or eat in your room
  • NOTHING no more servers. Although tipping your LSA or SCA could conceivably get you extra beer/wine/cocktail (NO GUARANTEES)
  • No idea about all day coffee but I don't see why not if they are being generous with the drinks already.
  • Now you get unlimited free soft drinks which I'm assuming includes bottled water
  • We are talking about Amtrak Am = America

Edited by seat38a, 20 April 2018 - 04:15 PM.

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#122 Thirdrail7

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:07 PM

Seat38A,

 

 

We're having too much fun with this thread and probably hijacking it to boot.

 

So, let's continue! ^_^

 

This will help with the age old question/observation:  Are Dining Cars Open During Non-Meal Hours?

 

Well, now it is......for sleeping car passengers! You can hang out all you want in a viewliner diner with great views, while the coach passengers use the Amslits!

 

Say THANK YOU, Mr. ANDERSON!!!


Edited by Thirdrail7, 19 April 2018 - 11:09 PM.

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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#123 seat38a

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 12:09 AM

After thinking about it, when I had the breakfast buffet in the PPC last December, the scrambled eggs were in a plastic bag and put in the chaffing dish. I'm guessing that Amtrak makes their scrambled eggs by cooking the bag of processed eggs in a water bath. With the dining car still in place, I think it would not be impossible for one LSA to prep a batch of scrambled eggs for the the sleeping car passengers. If you look closely, you can tell that its not griddle cooked scrambled eggs.

 

Or serve hardboiled eggs for protein during breakfast. At many hotels that offer free breakfast, its usually scrambled, hardboiled or none.

 

Who does the "cooking" on the CONO?

 

39121703934_fdc1068ac1_z.jpg

Bigger picture here: https://www.flickr.c...57689661494002/

 

Just maybe setup something like this one chaffing dish setup for breakfast along with the breads and jams. many of the budget hotels/motels that offer free breakfast I'm pretty sure do not cook but just reheat.

68038651.jpg


Edited by seat38a, 20 April 2018 - 12:16 AM.


#124 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 12:32 AM

The photo above is from a Hampton Inn. Nothing is cooked fresh at a hampton inn... just quickly heated and put out. And they manage to serve an entire hotel breakfast with only 1 person cooking and stocking usually. (That's a 3 or 4 story hotel.... some of the larger hotels in those brands will have an extra staff at the breakfast). 

 

I think alot of options are probably on the table. Remember when "Simplified Dining" happened a few years ago and all the steaks and cooked to order food was taken off the menu?  After some time, amtrak realized the 1 chef in the kitchen could still handle a few cooked to order items and steaks came back. 


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#125 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 12:35 AM

The amtrak eggs in your photo look like fresh scrambled eggs to me. The last time I rode in a single level diner you could see the fresh eggs and hear them being scrambled. I can't say for certain how they are cooked on other trains but you can usually tell powdered eggs from fresh eggs pretty easily. (The powdered eggs at a hampton inn are a great example! ha.) 


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#126 seat38a

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 12:40 AM

The photo above is from a Hampton Inn. Nothing is cooked fresh at a hampton inn... just quickly heated and put out. And they manage to serve an entire hotel breakfast with only 1 person cooking and stocking usually. (That's a 3 or 4 story hotel.... some of the larger hotels in those brands will have an extra staff at the breakfast). 

 

I think alot of options are probably on the table. Remember when "Simplified Dining" happened a few years ago and all the steaks and cooked to order food was taken off the menu?  After some time, amtrak realized the 1 chef in the kitchen could still handle a few cooked to order items and steaks came back. 

Oh wow what year was that?



#127 seat38a

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 12:50 AM



The amtrak eggs in your photo look like fresh scrambled eggs to me. The last time I rode in a single level diner you could see the fresh eggs and hear them being scrambled. I can't say for certain how they are cooked on other trains but you can usually tell powdered eggs from fresh eggs pretty easily. (The powdered eggs at a hampton inn are a great example! ha.) 

The eggs were still in the sous vide bag that they were cooked in. Not sure if they cracked fresh eggs and cooked it sous vide or if the eggs came ready to cook sous vide.

 

But I would not mind one of these either if they plopped it in front of me for breakfast. Had it on ViaRail Business Class last year between Toronto and Montreal. The main course was surprisingly good for airline style reheat. Now if they plopped that Acela style garbage at me, then I would be a bit annoyed.

38513822054_b0134413ea_c.jpg



#128 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 01:05 AM

That's better than Acela first class meals? I've never done the Acela first class.. I heard good things though?

Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#129 chrsjrcj

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 04:32 AM

My issue, and Im sure most people who dont like these cuts would agree, is that there are no hot meals. Amtrak couldve turned the dining car into a private sleeper lounge and forced coach passengers to eat from the amcafe only (not a good way to generate revenue, but anyway) while still at least serving some hot meals.

#130 rrdude

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 06:52 AM

After thinking about it, when I had the breakfast buffet in the PPC last December, the scrambled eggs were in a plastic bag and put in the chaffing dish. I'm guessing that Amtrak makes their scrambled eggs by cooking the bag of processed eggs in a water bath. With the dining car still in place, I think it would not be impossible for one LSA to prep a batch of scrambled eggs for the the sleeping car passengers. If you look closely, you can tell that its not griddle cooked scrambled eggs.
 
Or serve hardboiled eggs for protein during breakfast. At many hotels that offer free breakfast, its usually scrambled, hardboiled or none.
 
Who does the "cooking" on the CONO?
 
39121703934_fdc1068ac1_z.jpg
Bigger picture here: https://www.flickr.c...57689661494002/

Just maybe setup something like this one chaffing dish setup for breakfast along with the breads and jams. many of the budget hotels/motels that offer free breakfast I'm pretty sure do not cook but just reheat.
68038651.jpg


Amtrak actually did try something like this, on the Broadway, in late 70’s. They didn’t remove or replace dining car, but offered ‘cafeteria style’ food offerings in a lounge car. Was staffed by LSA and one assistant. EVERYthing was simply heated up, placed in steam table, put out for patrons to select. Problems I remember:

1) Pax had BIG trouble carrying food on cafeteria-style tray, back to lounge seating area.
2) Keeping lounge clean, it was a HUGE effort.
3) Next to impossible to work food line, AND offer table service for cocktails (tips) in lounge
4) A lot of wasted food.
5) Even though I made every attempt to make the presentation and appearance of the food as good as possible, it was still “food in a
chafeing dish....”

We basically “competed” with the dining car... An Amtrak VP at the time, (Bill Norman??) while relaxing in the lounge car, complimented me on my service, and highly recommended that I return to college, to finish my degree. I took his advice.

#131 tricia

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:26 AM

I bet there are plenty of members on AU that would take reduced rattles over better meals any day of the week. ;)

 

Perhaps the new amenity kit should include duct tape. 


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#132 spinnaker

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:36 AM

Here's the thing. Hot meals, juice, bottled water, etc. were what made me love take Amtrak long distance. Flying is much, much, faster. A car or bus is much, much cheaper. It was that Amtrak was just much, much nicer. But with all these cuts to service and amenities, it gets difficult to justify the train at all. At a certain point, you might as well take a bus, if that's the level of service you'd be getting anyway.

 

 

Exactly my thoughts.   This just might be the tipping point for some people.  I also thought his was handled poorly sort of sprung on us. People already purchased their tickets for this year so it is likely too late for them.   This decision should have either been made last year or have been made to be implemented next year.

 

Was anyone informed of this change by Amtrak?  I know I wasn't and I have a roomette reservation this summer.   Amtrak could have at least notified people so they can make other arrangements for dinner id they chose.  With a 6:40PM departure east bound from CHI there are certainly opportunities for an early dinner in the city.


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#133 tommylicious

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:39 AM

Farewell, Capitol Limited.  Farewell, Lake Shore Limited.  I'm not riding these trains anymore.  Some cold, crappy meat for lunch and a stale roll for breakfast?  Go to hell.  I'm flying.


Edited by tommylicious, 20 April 2018 - 07:43 AM.

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#134 Bob Dylan

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:42 AM

Farewell, Capitol Limited.  Farewell, Lake Shore Limited.  I'm not riding these trains anymore.  

Understandable, but once "the Genie is out of the bottle" it's impossible to put back, so perhaps it's time to ride other LD Routes before this virus spreads to all of them.

Book it Danno!
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#135 Ryan

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:44 AM

This may be a trade I can deal with if all of the whiners that eternally claim that they are going to stop riding actually do so, and stop posting here in the process.
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#136 Rheavon

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:44 AM

 

Was anyone informed of this change by Amtrak?  I know I wasn't and I have a roomette reservation this summer.   Amtrak could have at least notified people so they can make other arrangements for dinner id they chose.  With a 6:40PM departure east bound from CHI there are certainly opportunities for an early dinner in the city.

 

 

Not me.  I'm riding the CL July 31 and haven't received any word on the change.


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#137 chrsjrcj

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:50 AM

This may be a trade I can deal with if all of the whiners that eternally claim that they are going to stop riding actually do so, and stop posting here in the process.


Might as well support dismantling the whole national system and shut this side down, then youd never have to read any whining again.

#138 spinnaker

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 07:53 AM

Amtrak is missing an opportunity in a place like Union Station.  Why not  just partner with a couple local restaurants.  Either bring in your ticket to one of the existing restaurants or better yet open a couple of  restaurants (maybe they  are already there I don't recall) inside the station.  I would much rather have a nice hot piece of Chicago style pizza than a cold prepackaged sandwich.



#139 Ryan

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 08:05 AM

This may be a trade I can deal with if all of the whiners that eternally claim that they are going to stop riding actually do so, and stop posting here in the process.

Might as well support dismantling the whole national system and shut this side down, then youd never have to read any whining again.

Nope.

We literally have no idea what this food is like, and we have chicken little running around like the world is ending.

God forbid we wait and see how this plays out before passing judgement. The litany is things that turn out better than the torches and pitchforks crowd makes them out to be is nearly endless.
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#140 spinnaker

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Posted 20 April 2018 - 08:16 AM

 

 

This may be a trade I can deal with if all of the whiners that eternally claim that they are going to stop riding actually do so, and stop posting here in the process.

Might as well support dismantling the whole national system and shut this side down, then youd never have to read any whining again.

Nope.

We literally have no idea what this food is like, and we have chicken little running around like the world is ending.

God forbid we wait and see how this plays out before passing judgement. The litany is things that turn out better than the torches and pitchforks crowd makes them out to be is nearly endless.

 

 

It is a cold pre-packaged  meal.    That is all we need to know.    Yes a good pre-packaged  meal is better than a lousy hot meal but I thought dinner on the CL was very good considering the challenges that come with preparing a meal on a train, in limited space for a large number of people.  


Edited by spinnaker, 20 April 2018 - 08:17 AM.

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