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22 hours ago, cpotisch said:

I really feel like the only people who ever order the “Land and Sea” are just sleeper passengers who get their meals free and just want to get the absolute maximum amount of food possible, even if they are not going to enjoy it or eat all of it.

But this is a way for Amtrak to attribute more revenue to the dining car.

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35 minutes ago, VTTrain said:

It's pretty pathetic to have French Toast coming from a microwave.  It's not that hard to cook.

Actually the real old traditional style was a bit more complicated than you think.  The secret was frying THEN baking.

FRENCH TOAST A LA SANTA FE

This special and renowned recipe, perhaps the best French toast of them all, was perfected by Fred Harvey chefs in 1918 for the Santa Fe Railway’s dining cars. It produces a puffy, golden brown delicacy. The Santa Fe Railway dining-car service, at its peak, provided nearly 1 million breakfasts a year. This item perennially topped the “most popular” list.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

You’ll need: small mixing bowl, whisk, 12-inch cast iron skillet, paper towels, baking sheet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

  • 2 slices white bread, cut ¾ inch thick
  • 2 eggs 
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • ½ cup light cream
  • ½ cup cooking oil

Place cooking oil in skillet, heat to hot. Meanwhile, cut each bread slice diagonally to form four triangles, and set aside.

In small bowl, combine eggs, cream, and salt and beat well. Soak bread thoroughly in egg/cream mixture. Fry soaked bread in hot oil to a golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Lift from skillet to clean paper towel and allow to absorb excess cooking oil.

Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven. Bake 4-6 minutes, until bread slices have puffed up. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon and apple sauce, currant jelly, maple syrup, honey, or preserves, and bacon, ham, or sausage if desired.

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59 minutes ago, VTTrain said:

 OK, that one esoteric recipe is more complicated. But 99% of French toast served by restaurants is not that complicated. 

Sounds like you are somehow intimately familiar with the preparation methods of the thousands and thousands of restaurants that serve French Toast?

Or are you just. . . . . .or, never mind.

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2 hours ago, keelhauled said:

I think the point DA was trying to make is that the french toast came out of a microwave instead of off a griddle, not that it wasn't offered at all.  The decade time frame lines up with my memory of when it changed.

1 hour ago, VTTrain said:

It's pretty pathetic to have French Toast coming from a microwave.  It's not that hard to cook.

Firstly, it was a convection oven, not a microwave. Pretty big difference. And whether or not it's "hard to cook" doesn't really matter here, since the AM-II diner-lites the LSL used from July 2016 to May 2018, do not have a grill or stove. So considering Amtrak put the diner-lites on the LSL because they didn't have enough Heritage diners, the term "pathetic" seems a bit strong. 

To be clear, I am seriously opposed to to all these cuts to F&B, but the Lake Shore heating up french toast in a convection oven out of necessity doesn't seem too egregious to me.

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19 hours ago, Seaboard92 said:

And as someone who designs posters for charters, and dinner menus for the same charters. Honestly it isn't that hard or costly to design one. I will say the menu looks better however.

Then obviously you'r not doing it right, you'r NOT charging enough, or you'r doing it for charity. As someone who works with graphic designers daily, in both web and print, they would HIGHLY disagree with you.

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1 hour ago, cpotisch said:

So considering Amtrak put the diner-lites on the LSL because they didn't have enough Heritage diners, the term "pathetic" seems a bit strong. 

To be clear, I am seriously opposed to to all these cuts to F&B, but the Lake Shore heating up french toast in a convection oven out of necessity doesn't seem too egregious to me.

Where did you get the idea that I was only talking about the Lake Shore Limited?  I never even mentioned that train.  I'm not sure why I would since French Toast isn't even on their breakfast menu.  My comment was a general comment and nothing more.

 

Edited by VTTrain

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1 hour ago, niemi24s said:

Sounds like you are somehow intimately familiar with the preparation methods of the thousands and thousands of restaurants that serve French Toast?

Or are you just. . . . . .or, never mind.

It sounds like you are arguing for the sake of it.  Did you read the recipe that was posted?  I can assure you that 99% of restaurants don't use a recipe for French Toast that is that complicated.  Seriously.  Read the recipe.  You don't need to be intimately familiar with restaurants to understand that.  You just need a history of dining out and common sense.

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I honestly skipped most of the thread.

 

All alcohol prices went up $0.50.

 

Did you board 8 on the 9th or 10th?

 

 

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MODERATOR NOTE:

Please try to keep the discussion on the topic of New Menus on Amtrak trains.  

If you choose to discuss (or argue about) recipes for french toast, please do so in the Lounge.  Thank you.

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On 1/10/2019 at 6:42 PM, Seaboard92 said:

And as someone who designs posters for charters, and dinner menus for the same charters. Honestly it isn't that hard or costly to design one. I will say the menu looks better however.

My comment above was strictly about the cost of printing. 10 different plates. 10 different press start-ups to get the colors in registration. Making sure each version is packaged separately and labelled properly. More expensive to print 10 versions than one. Graphic design is a separate issue -- certainly easy enough to design 10 separate covers, but this does add some cost too; it's probably a one-time cost so long as the format for future versions doesn't change.

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There's also a huge difference between what's expected/needed for a one-time menu for a one-time event and what's expected/needed for a menu that's used frequently, on a carrier that wants to project a single brand image, and has to more strictly factor labor into the equation. Someone working on a private train for a one-time meal could make a decent-looking menu in Word or on an online design site, not worry about photos, and print it on standard cardstock on a standard printer. A large organization like Amtrak probably has a contract with a specific print house that meets specific standards, has photos of items that they need to either take in-house or license, has to design the menu to meet brand standards to ensure a consistent image across all their materials, and has to print the menus in such a way that they'll last better through numerous uses. Both have their place, but both also have fairly different price points due to the differing needs/expectations.

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28 minutes ago, Skyline said:

My comment above was strictly about the cost of printing. 10 different plates. 10 different press start-ups to get the colors in registration. Making sure each version is packaged separately and labelled properly. More expensive to print 10 versions than one. Graphic design is a separate issue -- certainly easy enough to design 10 separate covers, but this does add some cost too; it's probably a one-time cost so long as the format for future versions doesn't change.

I owned a decent sized company and my motto about savings no matter how small was "it all adds up". And over the years it was significant to our bottom line and a benefit to all our customers and employees.

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13 hours ago, Sauve850 said:

I owned a decent sized company and my motto about savings no matter how small was "it all adds up". And over the years it was significant to our bottom line and a benefit to all our customers and employees.

Bottom line: If Amtrak was trying to create unique brands with each of its trains -- especially long distance trains -- I think having unique menu covers would make sense. That train left the station a LONG time ago. The menu contents are all identical now, so slapping a different name or logo, and a regional photo on each train's menu cover isn't fooling anyone. It's a waste of precious resources.

If Amtrak wanted to seriously brand each train, that would be a worthy project if the $$$ were there to do so. But they should go all in and truly bring a sense of uniqueness and pride to each of those brands. Menus would be a small part of that effort. Current management is obviously not interested. And ... until the freight railroads are forced to seriously improve On Time Performance, what's the point?

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So long as the scope of this topic has expanded from one train to Systemwide, any reports regarding changes to Auto Train dining?

I am definitely "on the fence" whether there will be a "Voyage 25" this February. Even if the food on "24" was somewhat better than "23", where it was simply vile,  the $814 last year really makes me question the value of it all.

While not Amtrak's fault in the least, "Red Lex" had to be retired last July after being mortally wounded by a chuckhole on the return drive home from LOR ($700 later and he still "wasn't right" - oh well, maybe his new owner is not as fussy about cars as am I). "Black Beauty" has already had an encounter with one - in Greenwich CT no less!! (where you'd expect roads paved with Caviar), but was fine.

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The main thing I need from Amtrak is dependable scheduling, daily service, business hour calling times, and reasonable sleeper pricing.  If they can just figure that part out I can probably live with the rest.  If that means slowing Amtrak down to freight speeds so be it.  If I'm in a hurry I won't be riding Amtrak anyway.

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