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July Changes to Lake Shore and Capitol Limited Dining

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Holy crap. It’s not even close. The short rib has 91 grams of fat. That’s 140% of your daily recommended intake. Dear god.

 

It's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. The traditional meal facts are for the entree only. The new meal data is for the entire dinner: including roll, butter, salad, salad dressing, and dessert.

 

And almost 2000 mg of sodium in that one meal only - almost an entire day's worth. I'd love to see a breakfast that includes some protein and isn't all sugar. Fruit, sweetened yogurt (and it's probably an artificial sweetener, not even sugar) and a muffin? I shouldn't have to go to the cafe car to purchase two hard boiled eggs. It was possible to put together nutritionally OK meals from the dining car options, but these prepackaged meals are full of high fat, high sodium, high sugar foods. It's like trying to eat healthy at a ballpark. And the current veg option can't bail me out- I'm allergic to eggplant. My bad luck.

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PRR, you need to post the comparison that you posted on Trainorders showing how little nutritional difference there is between a steak meal served in the Diner and the Short Ribs served in the box when the full meal is added up.

 

That is not to say that there should not be an egg entry for breakfast.

 

The fact remains that someone conscious of what s/he is eating does not consume the entire meal in the Diner or the entire content of the box in the Lounge.

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We are constantly comparing Amtrak offerings to nutritional and dietary guidelines that certainly may be better for us, rather than the offerings of typical eating establishments. Too much fat, salt, sugars, carbs, on and on. Go to a typical fast food or fast casual restaurant, see what is offered, and what people actually buy. There is a fine balance between giving people what they want, and what is good for them. The true challenge is in educating people as to what is better so they prefer those choices, not forcing it. Calorie counts on menu boards, sodium content, all well and good, but stand on line and watch the person in front of you order 2 Quarter Pounders, Large Fries, and a Diet Coke.

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We just traveled the CL from CHI to WAS. For supper we had the short ribs, antipasto, and chicken Caesar salad and were all satisfied. The cheesecake was especially praised. The kids really miss the French toast for breakfast and I miss the eggs & bacon. A couple of things really struck me: 1) The food at supper is actually pretty good, but the atmosphere has gone to heck. We ate in the "sleeper lounge" and all through the meal the LSA and two SCAs that were assembling the meals were shouting, "Car 3000 Room 3" etc. We talked to the LSA afterwards and all agreed that the same food plated up and served Acela First Class style would be a much more attractive offering. 2) Eating in one's room, especially the breakfast which scatters crumbs all over, is going to present a cleaning/rodent problem. 3) The sheer waste is astounding - multiple bags full of green bags, boxes, and the glass jars from the cheesecake. The LSA said she wasn't even allowed to reuse the green bag we brought from supper for breakfast; she had to give us a new one. Maybe this is no worse than a fast food restaurant, but aboard a train where your trash travels with you (at least for a while) it's really apparent.

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On CL when we picked up food in the Lounge to eat in the Lounge we did not get any Green Bag so there was no bag to throw away. Food items that were not unsealed were picked up for distribution somewhere else, where I am not sure. Several passengers offered items that they were not eating to anyone else in Sleeper or Coach that wanted them. In principle, it should be easier to reclaim items that are not unselaed for distribution to soup kitchens or such. Of course in a country where wastage is celebrated, such may not happen easily. :ph34r:

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I have traveled on 2 trips under the new system. On one, everything was bagged, on the other, you were asked if you wanted the bag or a tray.

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On CL when we picked up food in the Lounge to eat in the Lounge we did not get any Green Bag so there was no bag to throw away. Food items that were not unsealed were picked up for distribution somewhere else, where I am not sure. Several passengers offered items that they were not eating to anyone else in Sleeper or Coach that wanted them. In principle, it should be easier to reclaim items that are not unselaed for distribution to soup kitchens or such. Of course in a country where wastage is celebrated, such may not happen easily. :ph34r:

Not really celebrated, but unintentionally regulated. Dept of Health regulations essentially have made it close to impossible to send excess food to other places. As an example, I worked at a Taco Bell/KFC (poor college kid days) who used to regularly donate the leftover food at night to a food kitchen nearby. However about a decade ago, the feds/state cracked down on it, saying the food had to be kept at proper temperature at all times during transportation. This immediately killed the donation, and the food pantry was only a few blocks away, so not like the food was arriving cold. Amtrak would fall under these regulations, so they might be limited in what they can do with the leftovers. Since it is prepackaged, they probably have more leeway in that, as long as it is sealed. Edited by bretton88

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The concern for people's health is so high that they'd rather have them die of malnutrition than of very occasional, relatively uncommon occurrence tainted food. Oh well.

Edited by jis

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PRR, you need to post the comparison that you posted on Trainorders showing how little nutritional difference there is between a steak meal served in the Diner and the Short Ribs served in the box when the full meal is added up.

 

That is not to say that there should not be an egg entry for breakfast.

 

The fact remains that someone conscious of what s/he is eating does not consume the entire meal in the Diner or the entire content of the box in the Lounge.

Here it is:

 

For example, the new Beef Short Rib box dinner has 1140 cal / 91 g total fat / 1940 mg sodium

 

Compare to the traditional dining car Flat Iron Streak with roll and butter, salad and Newman's Ranch dressing, and cheesecake dessert

Roll and butter: 350 / 19 / 500 (bread and butter are both high in sodium)

Salad: 25 / 0 / 15

Newman's Ranch packet: 200 / 17 / 530

Entree with sauce and sides: 460 / 32 / 800

Cheesecake: 320 / 15 / 210

 

The total for a full Flat Iron Steak dinner is

1355 cal / 83 g total fat / 2055 mg sodium

 

Basically, at least for the beef offerings, the new dinner and the traditional dinner are nutritionally just about the same.

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Holy crap. It’s not even close. The short rib has 91 grams of fat. That’s 140% of your daily recommended intake. Dear god.

 

It's a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. The traditional meal facts are for the entree only. The new meal data is for the entire dinner: including roll, butter, salad, salad dressing, and dessert.

 

And almost 2000 mg of sodium in that one meal only - almost an entire day's worth. I'd love to see a breakfast that includes some protein and isn't all sugar. Fruit, sweetened yogurt (and it's probably an artificial sweetener, not even sugar) and a muffin? I shouldn't have to go to the cafe car to purchase two hard boiled eggs. It was possible to put together nutritionally OK meals from the dining car options, but these prepackaged meals are full of high fat, high sodium, high sugar foods. It's like trying to eat healthy at a ballpark. And the current veg option can't bail me out- I'm allergic to eggplant. My bad luck.

 

 

I don't think you'll find hard-boiled eggs in the cafe car, alas.

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Actually, they had them in the cafe on a train I was on. The LSA announced that they had hard boiled eggs, mayo, and relish, and folks could make egg salad on a bagel sandwiches. Sold out pretty quick.

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I can't understand all of the concern over the nutritional value of the new food items by some here. You are not eating on Amtrak every night are you? It's only once in a great while. As long as it tastes good that's all that's important. One unhealthy meal won't kill you. Relax.

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Glad to hear the short ribs are at least ok. I am planning a cross country trip soon so I'll be having to experience this menu for at least part of the trip. It sounds like this service works pretty well on the two trains it is used on. But I think if Amtrak is planning on making changes to F&B on all the LD trains it needs to do something different on the longer trains. I think the longer trains where end to end customers have more meals need more choices.

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I can't understand all of the concern over the nutritional value of the new food items by some here. You are not eating on Amtrak every night are you? It's only once in a great while. As long as it tastes good that's all that's important. One unhealthy meal won't kill you. Relax.

For those with reactive allergies, it could be life or death. For diabetics like me, I would like as low carb as possible. I am supposed to not exceed 15g of carbs per meal. Do I exceed that on occasion? Sure - but generally when I have the opportunity to work it off. Low carb breakfast items are possible but they rather provide one option only that had more than my daily allowance, while I'm fairly captive in a sedentary environment. Quiche, eggs, cheese, bacon, are all low to no carb and certainly viable.

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I have traveled on 2 trips under the new system. On one, everything was bagged, on the other, you were asked if you wanted the bag or a tray.

I'm happy to see that even rolling out a new concept, Amtrak excels at being inconsistent.

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Is the term "Sleeper Lounge" something Amtrak is officially using or is it more just an unofficial term people are using to differentiate from the full-service diners? From what I've seen Amtrak still seems to refer to them as "dining cars" in official remarks about the new LSL/CL F&B service. I have seen the term "private dining car" used since it is no longer open to coach passengers. Just curious if its an official/unofficial thing.

Edited by lordsigma

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Is the term "Sleeper Lounge" something Amtrak is officially using or is it more just an unofficial term people are using to differentiate from the full-service diners? From what I've seen Amtrak still seems to refer to them as "dining cars" in official remarks about the new LSL/CL F&B service. I have seen the term "private dining car" used since it is no longer open to coach passengers. Just curious if its an official/unofficial thing.

Official Amtrak Info:

Dining: Contemporary and fresh dining choices for Sleeping car customers onboard. Meals can be ordered with the Sleeping car attendant and delivered to Sleeping car passengers through enhanced room service. Sleeping car customers choose from a variety of quality, fresh and readyto-serve meals. A Kosher meal is available with advance notice. Sleeping car passengers have the option to dine at available seating in the Lounge car or served in their bedrooms or roomettes.

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Thanks and sorry I somehow skipped over that. Was it micro or convection oven (if you know.)

 

I suspect convection, since it was very evenly heated, but I don't know.

Is the term "Sleeper Lounge" something Amtrak is officially using or is it more just an unofficial term people are using to differentiate from the full-service diners? From what I've seen Amtrak still seems to refer to them as "dining cars" in official remarks about the new LSL/CL F&B service. I have seen the term "private dining car" used since it is no longer open to coach passengers. Just curious if its an official/unofficial thing.

The train crew on my LSL trip consistently referred to it as a private sleeper lounge or sleeper lounge. They explicitly said that the diner had been replaced.

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PRR, you need to post the comparison that you posted on Trainorders showing how little nutritional difference there is between a steak meal served in the Diner and the Short Ribs served in the box when the full meal is added up.

 

That is not to say that there should not be an egg entry for breakfast.

 

The fact remains that someone conscious of what s/he is eating does not consume the entire meal in the Diner or the entire content of the box in the Lounge.

Here it is:

 

For example, the new Beef Short Rib box dinner has 1140 cal / 91 g total fat / 1940 mg sodium

 

Compare to the traditional dining car Flat Iron Streak with roll and butter, salad and Newman's Ranch dressing, and cheesecake dessert

Roll and butter: 350 / 19 / 500 (bread and butter are both high in sodium)

Salad: 25 / 0 / 15

Newman's Ranch packet: 200 / 17 / 530

Entree with sauce and sides: 460 / 32 / 800

Cheesecake: 320 / 15 / 210

 

The total for a full Flat Iron Steak dinner is

1355 cal / 83 g total fat / 2055 mg sodium

 

Basically, at least for the beef offerings, the new dinner and the traditional dinner are nutritionally just about the same.

 

 

 

Except that I can pick and choose what I eat when it's prepared for me. Because I do watch fat and sodium, I ask for the steak dry (no sauce) and turn down a roll. I will take a baked potato, but not mashed or casserole. I also skip packaged salad dressing and ask for a couple of lemon slices instead. If everything is prepackaged, you can't do that. I might eat some of the dessert, but not every meal.

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I wasn't aware of the fact that Amtrak hired someone to stand over you and make sure that you eat every bite of every item in the box.

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