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July Changes to Lake Shore and Capitol Limited Dining


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#121 Skyline

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:20 AM

I would definitely try the Beef Short Ribs next opportunity, and will follow this thread to learn what others think about it and the rest of the July menu -- which seems a little better than the June menu. At least the concept of hot food has been reintroduced. Let's see how it is implemented.

 

I still think lowering the price of sleepers and letting sleeper pax pay for their meals would be a better way to go, however. They could use the same cafe car menu and service (also improved recently) as coach pax, or a somewhat higher end and higher priced sleeper option in the traditional diner that might include ordering at a counter but food brought to your table by a staffer (less spilled food by untrained pax) .

 

If they begin a pre-ordering flow, I hope it is well tested or we may wind up with something akin to the initial rollout of the ACA website. But like that fiasco, it was eventually fixed and worked well. Maybe Amtrak's pre-ordering of food will not be rolled out until it's ready for prime time, or at least follow a similar track once the gremlins are exorcised. 


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#122 CHvision

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:35 PM

The Capitol Limited have more items from the cafe side. Both sleepers and coach passengers have chicken ceasear salad. Difference are sandwiches in the coach section. 



#123 dogbert617

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 02:46 AM

Any Mariano's in Chicago has a bakery department that will fill all your potential Amtrak needs.

 

It's our local super-supermarket chain and there's one not too far from CUS.

 

If this link works, it will show you the 1/2 mile walk from CUS to Mariano's at 40 S. Halsted St.

https://www.google.c...d41.8807012!3e2

I agree with this suggestion. From Chicago Union Station, this'll be the easiest and shortest walk/cab/Uber/etc. trip away from CUS to a place(Halsted/Greektown Mariano's) with a bakery.



#124 JoeBas

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:43 AM

Being someone who writes applications, it's not just "add where you can check off the options".  There's a whole lot more going on behind the scenes.  And take it from me, the "that looks simple enough to do" usually turn out to be not so simple.

 

 

 

 

(I have a few grey hairs and bold spots to prove it.  :giggle:)

 

 

Sounds like my First Law of IT: Anything that sounds simple is incredibly complex, requiring an investment of (insert your organization's default go away number) man-hours of development time, with a delivery date sometime after the next Mass Extinction. 


Edited by JoeBas, 12 July 2018 - 08:47 AM.

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#125 iplaybass

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:31 PM

On board #30 now. First disappointment: The short rib will probably be gone by the time I eat. No in-room service (to be fair, I didn't ask.) However, my SCA basically said quantities are limited and divvied up across all sleepers (2+the baggage dorm) Good chance for chicken salad, if there's more than one vegetarian on board, they're SOL.

But they have LOTS of antipasto "salad".

Happy I didn't rely on the short rib. Oh, and I went to Alliance Patisserie on State Street. Very fresh, and sealed in a Ziploc as soon as I got back to the Metropolitan Lounge. Betting it will be fresher than the underwhelming breakfast selection.

Sorry for the blur, but it's kinda bumpy in room 7.Attached File  IMG_20180712_192323.jpeg   39.09KB   28 downloads
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#126 iplaybass

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 09:31 PM

Update: got the short rib. Better than beef on most domestic first class flights, although the polenta could use more moisture from. Dining car was packed, so steward bagged up my meal and I'm eating in my room. Veggies are green and wax beans with round baby carrots. There is also a small salad with mixed greens, carrots and a few cherry tomatoes. They include Newman's balsamic vinaigrette, but the steward had a few loose packets of ranch for those who asked. I don't eat cheesecake, so no review. I'm having the salad for dessert.

I'm pleasantly surprised, but this review wouldn't be so positive if I were stuck with the antipasto salad.

I'm also including a picture of the free drink for those who were wondering how that works. I'll try to get a better photo of the food on Sunday's return trip. If you're wondering about the drink, as someone who loves rum and ginger beer... the rum barely makes an impression, as you might expect from a canned mixed drink.Attached File  IMG_20180712_215624.jpeg   57.12KB   31 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20180712_222016.jpeg   49.06KB   34 downloads
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#127 tommylicious

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:06 PM

Thank you for the review and photos.  



#128 Palmland

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:15 PM

Good to see the new menu has some redeeming features. My wife will like the ginger and beer, aka a Dark and Stormy, if made with Gosling’s Black rum and ginger beer from Bermuda.
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#129 Maverickstation

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:36 PM

Attached File  Amtrak Meal.jpg   117.88KB   31 downloads

As part of this discussion it had been brought up that ACELA First Class provides meal service with pre made entrees reheated on board.

 

Here is an example of a breakfast entree.

 

 


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The poster formally known as Peconicstation.

Location: Boston MA, the greatest city in America, and home of South Station, Amtrak's best large city station.

 


#130 Dakota 400

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:39 PM

attachicon.gifAmtrak Meal.jpg

As part of this discussion it had been brought up that ACELA First Class provides meal service with pre made entrees reheated on board.

 

Here is an example of a breakfast entree.

 

 

 

Looks good.  Was it?



#131 Maverickstation

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:51 PM

attachicon.gifAmtrak Meal.jpg
As part of this discussion it had been brought up that ACELA First Class provides meal service with pre made entrees reheated on board.
 
Here is an example of a breakfast entree.
 
 

 
Looks good.  Was it?
. Omelette with Boursin Cheese and Broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes.

The poster formally known as Peconicstation.

Location: Boston MA, the greatest city in America, and home of South Station, Amtrak's best large city station.

 


#132 cpotisch

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:53 PM

 

 

attachicon.gifAmtrak Meal.jpg
As part of this discussion it had been brought up that ACELA First Class provides meal service with pre made entrees reheated on board.
 
Here is an example of a breakfast entree.
 
 

 
Looks good.  Was it?
. Omelette with Boursin Cheese and Broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes.

 

I think he was asking if it was good, rather than what it actually was.


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#133 Maverickstation

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:55 PM

 

 

attachicon.gifAmtrak Meal.jpg
As part of this discussion it had been brought up that ACELA First Class provides meal service with pre made entrees reheated on board.
 
Here is an example of a breakfast entree.
 
 

 
Looks good.  Was it?
. Omelette with Boursin Cheese and Broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes.
 
I think he was asking if it was good, rather than what it actually was.
. Yes it was good, VIA rails meal service on its corridor business class is superior, but this was good.
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The poster formally known as Peconicstation.

Location: Boston MA, the greatest city in America, and home of South Station, Amtrak's best large city station.

 


#134 JRR

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:09 PM

My experience exactly.

#135 iplaybass

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:34 PM

Good to see the new menu has some redeeming features. My wife will like the ginger and beer, aka a Dark and Stormy, if made with Gosling’s Black rum and ginger beer from Bermuda.

No such luck. My wife and I are quite familiar with that particular combination, and this wasn't close.

#136 iplaybass

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:41 PM

I spoke with the steward at breakfast and declined the breakfast box. She said they were working on a hot choice for breakfast, maybe quiche or egg bites (makes me think of Starbucks' sous vide ones.) She also said to keep writing in. We ran about two hours late into DC, so they kept "breakfast" open an hour longer.

On a related note, #30 had a Diner-Lounge instead of a Superliner Diner.

#137 snvboy

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:52 PM

My gut tells me that Mr. Anderson, with an airline frame of mind, came in and looked at the diners and exclaimed "Are you effing kidding me? Three plus people to turn out this slop!?!?"

 

Everything about this experiment leads me to believe this to be true, and that dining for sleeping car passengers will quickly fall into line with what is served to Acela first class passengers. Essentially some variation of what you will get on a mainline first-class airline ticket. And I'm really, really OK with that.

 

The dining car has been so hit-or-miss for so many years. And when it's good, it's just OK. When it's bad, it's embarasingly bad. And there is no consistency to it at all: the food, the service, all of it.

 

Is it any wonder that Anderson would flip the lid on this? After all, an airline flying thousands of flights per day pulls off decent service and half-decent meals and doesn't need a "Food Service Speciality" to do it. The FAs pop the hots in the oven, plate it up with the colds, pour the booze and everybody is happy.

 

Ye who yearn for a "chef" in the diner are 30+ years too late. Don't kid yourself, virtually nothing in the diner is "prepared" by the chef. I chuckle every time somebody bemoans the loss of the "railroad" french toast, and remember the time that mine came still frozen in the middle. 

 

I welcome the change, and hope that it continues to be successful.


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#138 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:59 PM

Ye who yearn for a "chef" in the diner are 30+ years too late. Don't kid yourself, virtually nothing in the diner is "prepared" by the chef. I chuckle every time somebody bemoans the loss of the "railroad" french toast, and remember the time that mine came still frozen in the middle. I welcome the change, and hope that it continues to be successful.


I've had good luck with the French toast. Same with the sous-vide style chef inspired meals. Never had any that were frozen in the middle. These new box meals don't look like they're worth rail fares that cost substantially more than first class airfare.  A single hot option in a tiny menu does not impress. I don't mind buying food along the way when I'm traveling in coach but when I'm paying for top dollar Amtrak sleeper fares having to buy or bring my own hot meals seems silly to me. If Anderson had split the savings 50/50 with customers I wouldn't be so disappointed but at this point nearly all of my recent Amtrak purchases have come from pending or potential losses and reroutes (PPC, SWC, CZ, etc) rather than any sort of enhanced service or improved value proposition.  It's just sad that our only choices under Boardman and Anderson have been extremely inconsistent service or highly abbreviated meals.  Losing the PPC was disappointing but hearing Anderson's threats to cut the SWC off at the knees and reroute the CZ over PTC is really discouraging.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 14 July 2018 - 11:36 AM.

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#139 cocojacoby

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 08:27 AM

I've taken Amtrak for years between Boston and Florida and the famous "Railroad French Toast" disappeared years ago on the Silver Trains at least.  Did have some very good crab cakes however.  And the burgers were always pretty good.

 

Crew attitude was "contemporary and cold" often however.


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#140 Manny T

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:59 AM

Board Amtrak CL at WUS 405 pm. On time departure. Head to dining car at 6:30. Seated by myself for a while, then another passenger arrives. Orders taken. Enjoy red wine and tossed salad. Choice of dressings. Dinner roll and butter available. On to perfectly cooked Amtrak steak. Sides are mashed potatoes and haricot verts (thin French green beans). Conversation and watch the passing scenery. For dessert order the pecan tart (from a variety of choices). Cup of tea. Linger for a while and then walk back to sleeper.

 

30 years too late? No, just earlier this year. January 8, 2018 to be exact. And it was far better than "just OK."

 

Kudos to those on board service personnel who did it right. I really appreciate their service.

 

Not sustainable? Maybe, maybe not. So many variables involved, it's really hard to say.

 

But to think getting handed a box with anything in it is in any way comparable is laughable.


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