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


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#1381 Bob Dylan

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:04 PM

As for the post by me_little_me, as a Veteran of SPs infamous Automat Car, I certainly hope this is NEVER considered by Amtrak!😣
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#1382 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:15 PM

I wonder how today's AU would react to yesterday's automat cars.  It's tempting to think we'd all be pretty negative about it but in reality I'd imagine there would still be a substantial contingent of members who considered automat meals a positive development and others who might be less than impressed but would still consider it a blessing to have any food included regardless of quality or selection. 


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#1383 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:16 PM

I still wonder why people imagine the bizarre when a specific plan has been articulated by the management. It is OK that some don't like it, but coming up with utter nonsense is not the way to handle ones grief. Way too much fake news going around even without us contributing our own.

 

Meanwhile, there are reports appearing in Facebook from random passengers who have not been properly educated about what should or should not be acceptable, and who have experienced the new service, stating that they like some aspects and would like a few other aspects changed. Apparently the utter doom that has been forecast  is not going to materialize.

 

Almost all such reports mention the need for one or two hot items. Most seem to feel that the cold items are fine as cold items go, but a hot item or two would be desirable. Also there appears to be several who mention the need for something hot for breakfast too, but also say that the amount of food served is huge, and the Cheesecake is good after dinner. Also the lack of options for people with food allergy issues is mentioned, but that sort of goes hand in hand I think with fewer menu options. I suspect that the best way to handle that is to go with pre-trip food selection and ordering from a larger set of choices to select from.


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#1384 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:28 PM

I still wonder why people imagine the bizarre when a specific plan has been articulated by the management. It is OK that some don't like it, but coming up with utter nonsense is not the way to handle ones grief. Way too much fake news going around even without us contributing our own.

 

Isn't the implication that people are "grieving" over this its own form of "fake news?"


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 11 June 2018 - 02:29 PM.

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#1385 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:31 PM

 

I still wonder why people imagine the bizarre when a specific plan has been articulated by the management. It is OK that some don't like it, but coming up with utter nonsense is not the way to handle ones grief. Way too much fake news going around even without us contributing our own.

 

Isn't the implication that people are "grieving" over this its own form of "fake news?"

 

Yeah, they are doing something. Sorry for characterizing it as grieving. I hereby withdraw that characterization. Would "expressing their displeasure" be more appropriate? or would that be fake too?



#1386 JoeBas

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:23 PM

That is pretty close to what they have said is their plan. As for when they get there, who knows?

 

 

 

 

I keep hearing this is what their plan is.  Question is, why make the change at all before you've figured out how to do what you plan to change it to? 

 

I'm planning to replace my car with a new one in 18 months when the lease is up.  That doesn't mean I stop driving my car NOW and use a frickin' bike until I "figure out" what car I want next!!!



#1387 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:33 PM

I keep hearing this is what their plan is.  Question is, why make the change at all before you've figured out how to do what you plan to change it to?

 
I suspect it is because of a wrongheaded (in my opinion) hurry to cut costs before some artificial deadline. I have seen that happen more than once at several of my various employers in the past.

 

What is important is to make sure things move forward to the stated plan sooner rather than later.

 

I would prefer to see an appropriate fare adjustment too, but I am sure that hell will probably freeze over before then.



#1388 Lonestar648

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:17 PM

Loading airplane HOT entrees into the kitchens on either the Superliner or the VII could require a modification so like the airlines, the container can just be exchanged quickly.  Amtrak kitchens are designed for bulk storage with a cook preparing the individual meals.  If Amtrak obtained a few of the storage containers that would fit into the Amtrak existing ovens, even if just temporarily rigged for a test, hot entrees could be a possibility.  What may be going on behind the scenes, that we do not have access to know, is a project team is working with vendors to rig up an airline style oven that will work for the CL and the LSL.  Obviously, there are issues, maybe power conversion, location, type, etc. that have to be worked out.  Hopefully this is the case, so when a solution has been successfully tested they can announce hot entrees will be available once the caterer is ready.



#1389 Bob Dylan

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:39 PM

Don't all Amtrak Diners have a Convection oven that is used to heat all Hot items served aboard?

Why would a special airline type set up be necessary when the meals could be loaded aboard,and heated just like they are now on Acela FC, the Card and the CONO!

Edited by Bob Dylan, 11 June 2018 - 04:40 PM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#1390 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:43 PM

The current entrees on the LSL and CL look way better than what I had on the City of New Orleans.
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VIA: - Canadian*

 

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


#1391 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:11 PM

Don't all Amtrak Diners have a Convection oven that is used to heat all Hot items served aboard?

Why would a special airline type set up be necessary when the meals could be loaded aboard,and heated just like they are now on Acela FC, the Card and the CONO!

Acela FC uses airline style food racks AFAICT.



#1392 Lonestar648

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:26 PM

Question is, are the convection ovens on the two Dining Cars compatible.  I do not believe that they are.



#1393 railiner

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:27 PM

As for the post by me_little_me, as a Veteran of SPs infamous Automat Car, I certainly hope this is NEVER considered by Amtrak!

 

 

I wonder how today's AU would react to yesterday's automat cars.  It's tempting to think we'd all be pretty negative about it but in reality I'd imagine there would still be a substantial contingent of members who considered automat meals a positive development and others who might be less than impressed but would still consider it a blessing to have any food included regardless of quality or selection. 

At least you could heat up the food purchased from those vending machines, in the new-fangled,  "Radaranges", IIRC....or were there just machines that sold the likes of hot cans of Chef-Boyardee?   Not sure... :unsure:


Edited by railiner, 11 June 2018 - 05:28 PM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#1394 MARC Rider

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:44 PM


I am still looking for the hot entrees, but have not been able to figure out how to have a fresh and hot Dinner and Breakfast entree with the current crew on board.  Having a hot entree brought to the train before departure, then kept hot in convection ovens will not work, the entree will taste bad, especially the breakfast being served 18 hours or so after boxed.  So if you can not add more personnel, what are the options other than cold boxes?  Contemporary and Fresh is the Theme, no labor used on board the mandate, satisfied customers the goal. I know my way around the commercial kitchen, but this is really difficult.  The only real solution is for Congress to reverse the F&B mandate. 

You keep the hot entrees chilled until it is time to heat them.  Then you move the entrees in foil packets out of the refrigerator and into the convection oven and turn it on.

I doubt that the hot entrees served toward the end of long-haul flights are kept warm the whole time.  Instead, they are kept cold (loaded frozen?) and then reheated at the appropriate time in a convection oven.  I figure on an aircraft the entrees are delivered on some sort of rack and stored in the oven itself until it is time to turn it on.
 
In case it has been a while since you were last on a long-haul flight with complimentary meal service, the flight attendants go down the aisles with a cart.  Some levels of the cart have the meal trays with the sides and dessert already on them.  Each passenger is asked which entree they want (if there is an option), and the associated foil packeted entree is added to the meal tray.  If a SCA has a similar cart, it would make serving hot meals only slightly more complicated (on the upper level, at least) than an all-cold option.  But flight attendants usually don't have to carry meals up or down stairs to serve them.  A SCA would need to do so.

Would hauling food carts between cars be a problem?

#1395 Steve4031

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:05 PM

Those robots would be interesting to watch on rough track. One good jolt on a grade crossing or switching tracks could send robot and food flying. . .

#1396 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:05 PM

I am still looking for the hot entrees, but have not been able to figure out how to have a fresh and hot Dinner and Breakfast entree with the current crew on board.  Having a hot entree brought to the train before departure, then kept hot in convection ovens will not work, the entree will taste bad, especially the breakfast being served 18 hours or so after boxed.  So if you can not add more personnel, what are the options other than cold boxes?  Contemporary and Fresh is the Theme, no labor used on board the mandate, satisfied customers the goal. I know my way around the commercial kitchen, but this is really difficult.  The only real solution is for Congress to reverse the F&B mandate. 

You keep the hot entrees chilled until it is time to heat them.  Then you move the entrees in foil packets out of the refrigerator and into the convection oven and turn it on.

I doubt that the hot entrees served toward the end of long-haul flights are kept warm the whole time.  Instead, they are kept cold (loaded frozen?) and then reheated at the appropriate time in a convection oven.  I figure on an aircraft the entrees are delivered on some sort of rack and stored in the oven itself until it is time to turn it on.
 
In case it has been a while since you were last on a long-haul flight with complimentary meal service, the flight attendants go down the aisles with a cart.  Some levels of the cart have the meal trays with the sides and dessert already on them.  Each passenger is asked which entree they want (if there is an option), and the associated foil packeted entree is added to the meal tray.  If a SCA has a similar cart, it would make serving hot meals only slightly more complicated (on the upper level, at least) than an all-cold option.  But flight attendants usually don't have to carry meals up or down stairs to serve them.  A SCA would need to do so.
Would hauling food carts between cars be a problem?

Bumpy but probably doable.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#1397 cpotisch

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:26 PM

PVD, how were your meals on the Capitol?


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#1398 PVD

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:35 PM

Hard to use phone on train, laptop in luggage, will hopefully do detailed report tomw, leaving Princeton Junction.
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#1399 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 10:19 PM

 

As for the post by me_little_me, as a Veteran of SPs infamous Automat Car, I certainly hope this is NEVER considered by Amtrak!

 

 

I wonder how today's AU would react to yesterday's automat cars.  It's tempting to think we'd all be pretty negative about it but in reality I'd imagine there would still be a substantial contingent of members who considered automat meals a positive development and others who might be less than impressed but would still consider it a blessing to have any food included regardless of quality or selection. 

At least you could heat up the food purchased from those vending machines, in the new-fangled,  "Radaranges", IIRC....or were there just machines that sold the likes of hot cans of Chef-Boyardee?   Not sure... :unsure:

 

 

Vending machine technology has made impressive leaps forward since the days of the automat cars (I believe the Santa Fe ran them as well), but as far as I'm concerned, no matter how fancy it is or what comes out of it, it is still a vending machine :)


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#1400 OBS

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:40 AM

Question is, are the convection ovens on the two Dining Cars compatible.  I do not believe that they are.

They are. There are a few different styles/sizes. but it is still a basic convection oven.... 






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