2019 LSL Food Reviews?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by tommylicious, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. Apr 29, 2019 #1

    tommylicious

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    Looking for a dinner & breakfast food review from someone who's ridden LSL in a sleeper this year. Thanks.
     
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  2. Apr 29, 2019 #2

    pennyk

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    I did a daytime trip from Rochester to Springfield in March. Although breakfast was offered, I had breakfast in Rochester and was not hungry. However, I opted to eat lunch on the train (which is the same menu as dinner). I believe that we were a group of 5 and 4 of us sat in the sleeper lounge and one opted to eat in his room (since the walk was very long from the Boston sleeper). I think several had the beef meal, one had the antipasto and I had the vegan noodle bowl. I have food allergies, and thanks to @cpotisch for providing me with photos of the ingredient lists, I knew I was able to eat the noodle bowl (without the sauce). I brought my own olive oil and used that on the cold noodle bowl and I enjoyed my lunch. I will order that option again in the future. I believe that the individuals who ordered the beef (2 of whom are AU members) thought it was satisfactory. Maybe they will chime in since I do not want to speak for others.
     
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  3. May 2, 2019 #3

    andytiedye

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    Out of ALL hot entrees by 7 PM last time we rode the LSL west a couple of months ago. And to think they still have all those LSL posters up showing a couple having a nice meal.
     
  4. May 4, 2019 #4

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Well the roll out of the preorder system for these trains will be soon. Once up and running there will be no waste and no shortage. You get what you order and nothing more.

    Oh wait the preorder system is on backorder? This seem to be a SOP at Amtrak, no follow through. The person in charge has move on to a different assignment, again.
     
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  5. May 4, 2019 #5

    ScouseAndy

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    So a last minute booking is going to result in you going hungry regardless of the fact that you have paid for a meal? What about if you are bumped onto the LSL from the CL due to a late running connection etc?
     
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  6. May 4, 2019 #6

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Oh you noticed that issue too?
     
  7. May 4, 2019 #7

    tommylicious

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    Dang I'm sorry to hear this. I'd love to ride this line again someday when good food service is restored. Just wanted to check in if things had significantly improved.
     
  8. May 4, 2019 #8

    PRR 60

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    If it works the way airline meal pre-ordering works, your pre-order will ensure your choice is held for you (at least in theory). It does not require a pre-order to get a meal. If no pre-order because you book at the last minute or just don't pre-order, then you take your chances with the onboard inventory, but you will get a meal.
     
  9. May 4, 2019 #9

    jis

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    The last time I used pre-order on Singapore Airlines, the pre-order menu was also much more elaborate than the default on board menu. I.e by pre-ordering you could get things that were not available by default on board.

    If you did not pre-order you’d be served something from the on board menu.
     
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  10. May 4, 2019 #10

    Dakota 400

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    I was astounded by what Singapore Airlines offered in their pre-order menu. So many excellent choices! I was aboard for Dinner, late Supper, and Breakfast. I pre-ordered too much for late Supper. When that meal was supposed to be served, I told my Flight Attendant that I did not want what I had ordered and preferred the Chicken Salad Sandwich and a dessert. (I was still so full that I did not sleep well.)

    If Amtrak would offer an attractive pre-ordering meal option, that might be a positive change. It would depend upon the choices, of course.
     
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  11. May 5, 2019 #11

    MARC Rider

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    How "last minute" does it have to be before it isn't possible to pre-order a meal? A day before the trp? An hour? I've never purchased a trip involving a sleeping car less than several weeks in advance, though I have made Acela FC reservations on the day of travel.
     
  12. May 5, 2019 #12

    jis

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    For SQ it was at least 24 hours before departure, or in that ballpark, AFAIR. Whenever I used it I booked the meal(s) within a day or two of the flight. I never did it when I bought the ticket months in advance.
     
  13. May 5, 2019 #13

    ScouseAndy

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    On a 2 night train if you was getting on late in the route you'd have to preorder with enough notice for the food to be loaded on at the station or origin wouldn't you so that could be 48 hours plus notice required.
     
  14. May 9, 2019 #14

    Manny T

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    So I will be riding the LSL quite soon and would like to repeat the OP's request with one addition:

    "Looking for a dinner & breakfast food review from someone who's ridden LSL in a sleeper this year. Thanks."

    Heres the addition: lunch. Thanks.
     
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  15. May 9, 2019 #15

    pennyk

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    The lunch menu is the same as the dinner menu. I had lunch on 448 in March.
     
  16. May 9, 2019 #16

    tommylicious

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    How was it?

     
  17. May 9, 2019 #17

    pennyk

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    I had the vegan noodle bowl without the included sauce. I brought my own olive oil and used that instead of the sauce and thought the meal was pretty good. Not excellent and not awful. I am allergic to garlic and all the other entrees, including the sauce for the vegan noodle bowl, contain garlic.
     
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  18. May 9, 2019 #18

    me_little_me

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    Must be rough with so few tools to protect you from vampires! I guess when you travel,you have to go "cross" country. Or do you just order a "stake" for dinner? :)
     
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  19. May 10, 2019 #19

    andytiedye

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    The whole thing with vampires and garlic is fake news, instigated by the vampires themselves. Vampires LOVE garlic. Transylvanian peasant quisine was rather bland, rendering their blood similarly so. By spreading this rumor, the vampires got their prey to spice it up a little.
     
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  20. May 11, 2019 #20

    Michigan Mom

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    Not familiar with the pre-order option, although, unfortunately rather experienced with LD trains not provisioning enough food which does not exactly align with its marketing. Upcoming trip on LSL at the end of the month, will post review then.
     
  21. May 15, 2019 #21

    Manny T

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    I rode the LSL eastbound last week and had breakfast and lunch. Here are my reviews, starting with lunch.

    As we are entitled to one drink on the house, I opted for the red wine. They are no longer serving the Hahn half-bottles but instead little Woodbridge supermarket 4-pack bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. OK for free (for the Amtrak price of $8.50, not so much).

    The lunch offerings (same as dinner) were chicken alfredo, braised beef, antipasto plate and the sesame noodle bowl. We could go to the DC pretty much any time after 11:30 and request our meal. The attendant would add your meal to a box that already contained a small salad, dressing, a dinner role, spread, and a dessert bar. In addition, she added a choice of a brownie or a blondie. In my case, as I ordered the sesame noodle bowl, she asked if I wanted it hot or cold. I opted to take it cold. I also took the blondie.

    The meal was quite ok in my opinion. Especially for someone wishing to eat something healthy and/or nutritious (with one modification). The small side salad was fresh mixed greens and two cherry tomatoes. There was a packet of Newman's Own balsalmic dressing. The roll was a traditional soft pre-packaged Amtrak dinner roll. The spread was fake and tasted like butter or maybe margarine.

    The entree was composed of a mound of lightly salted spaghetti-type pasta and some sesame seeds. The rest of the bowl was filled with a good selection of broccoli crowns, red peppers, scallions, red cabbage slices and edamame. I discarded the scallions and ate the rest, which tasted fine at room temperature. The veggies were very fresh looking and fresh tasting and went well with the sesame noodles. The dish was filling and there were still two desserts to come--one in the box, a vegan "brownie" that tasted exactly like compressed dates and nuts with no chocolate flavor, and the add-on blondie that was fine (and I am sure not vegan).

    I tasted but -- like pennyk above -- did not use the sesame dressing on the noodle bowl. Presumably you are supposed to pour this glop on top. It was cloyingly sweet and would ruin the meal. Also, checking the ingredients, it contains sugar, soy, brown sugar, corn starch and the following chemicals: xantham gum, phosphoric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, citric acid, disodium inosinate, and guanylate. Why would anyone eating a vegan meal want this? The box should contain a packet of soy or tamari sauce and leave it at that.

    With my one quibble, I found this meal to be an acceptable lunch. I will review the "breakfast" in a later post.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  22. May 17, 2019 #22

    Manny T

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    Here's my review for breakfast on the LSL. I wish I could say they improved on the boxed breakfast. They didn't. They just added more poor choices. That's my opinion, of course. YMMV.

    Yes there is OJ, tea and coffee and they're fine. But what's to eat? For me, a banana and maybe a hard boiled egg. That's it. I'd eat the fruit cup (melon and grapes) but the fruit isn't ripe.

    There are blueberry and banana nut muffins (sugar) and a kashi bar (sugar). There is no bread or cracker or toast or croissant or bagel option per se.

    They offer Fruit Loops, Rice Crispies, and Honey Cherrios. Fruit Loops! There is no Shredded wheat, corn flakes or granola.

    They offer Apple Walnut oatmeal or Maple Brown Sugar oatmeal (more sugar). Plus it's instant, they have to add boiling water for you. There is no plain unsweetened oatmeal, even instant.

    There is no plain yogurt either. They offer blueberry or strawberry yogurt (more sugar). There is no cheese. You can get a package of two hard boiled eggs. There is also a ham and egg sandwich for folks who eat processed meat and who are not vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, Hindu, Muslim, orthodox Jewish, or Seventh Day Adventist (nor sure about Sikhs or Jains). There is no other breakfast sandwich.

    Very hard to reconcile this breakfast with either the sleeper ticket price or the "First Class" labeling of the LSL service. Yes, Amtrak considers this "First Class." I know because I walked the length of the train and returning to the Dining Car from coach there was a sign that read, "First Class. Proper Ticket Required."

    This isn't a first class breakfast imho. It's a poor way to start the day and a poor effort by Amtrak to serve some of its better customers.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  23. May 18, 2019 #23

    MARC Rider

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    Amtrak stopped calling the sleeper service "first class" years ago. I'm surprised they posted the sign. You're paying for a bed and privacy and the opportunity to be seperated from the riff-raff. That's what "first class" means. The food service is secondary.

    It looks like they could improve this with a few minor tweaks:

    Offer one or more "adult cereals." (i.e. shredded wheat, raisin bran, grape nuts, etc.) Corn flakes and granola, by the way also have added sugar. Everything has added sugar these days even if you can't taste it.

    Offer plain yogurt. Maybe they don't offer it because nobody eats it.

    Stock a few more of the fruit and cheese backs they serve in the cafe car and offer them at breakfast.

    Toast or a bagel would be nice. I guess a self service toaster is out of the question, although even the cheapest motels have it at their breakfast buffets.

    Offer a vegetarian breakfast sandwich. While that doesn't help the vegans or the strict kosher-observing Jews, I think there would be demand.
     
  24. May 18, 2019 #24

    Michigan Mom

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    Minor tweaks would make all the difference in the world. A breakfast sandwich option with just egg and cheese. Or how about cheese and crackers. I'm guessing this is more expensive that stocking all the sugar options - which also have more shelf life. Still presumably that's part of the surcharge. Even substitution of one of the sugary muffin flavors with a plain bagel, with a hardboiled egg doesn't seem like too much to ask.
     
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  25. May 18, 2019 #25

    oregon pioneer

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    Thanks for the heads-up on the breakfast. It sounds similar to the breakfast offered on the Portland section of the Empire Builder, with more different options of sugar, sugar, or fat and nitrates. I always bring my own home-made granola (honey-maple-nut, not over-sweetened and no white sugar) for that section. Looks like I will add another day's worth of granola next time I go Oregon-to-Boston and back. Last time, I took my boxed breakfast and offered it to a mother with children in coach. Not the greatest breakfast for them, but pretty much like they'd have bought in the cafe. There were enough calories in that box for three people.
     
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