Dinner eastbound on the Empire Builder out of PDX

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Trailrider1951, Oct 12, 2019.

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  1. Oct 12, 2019 #1

    Trailrider1951

    Trailrider1951

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    I have a train trip coming up next week, and part of it is on the EB eastbound out of Portland. What will be my dinner choices? I will be traveling in a Roomette to the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, MT, and this is my first time traveling this EB segment. I know the dining car travels eastbound out of Seattle, and becomes available to the PDX passengers only after the PDX cars are attached to the Seattle train at Spokane in the middle of the night. BTW, this is only my second trip in a sleeper. I'm getting too old for overnight in Coach! Thanks for your help. :D
     
  2. Oct 12, 2019 #2

    yarrow

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    you get a cold boxed meal to eat in your room. it is ok but a downgrade from the boxed meal they served in the past.
     
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  3. Oct 12, 2019 #3

    AmtrakBlue

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    Or you can eat it in the cafe car
     
  4. Oct 12, 2019 #4

    Rasputin

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    Has there been any consistency in this practice or is this another example of Amtrak inconsistency? The two times I traveled on 27 a few years ago, sleeping car passengers went to the café, obtained their breakfast and ate it in the lounge car. However friends have told me that on their trips the sleeping car attendants served all of the meals in the sleeper.
     
  5. Oct 12, 2019 #5

    Trailrider1951

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    Thanks for your help, Yarrow and AmtrakBlue. I'm particularly interested in the menu choices. I cannot find it anywhere on Amtrak's website. I prefer to eat mostly vegetarian, with seafood occasionally. No beef, pork, or chicken for me, thanks. Would I have to request a special meal?
     
  6. Oct 12, 2019 #6

    Rasputin

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    I would suggest that you bring your own meal just to be safe. I have not travelled on 28 eastbound from Portland but I know that the breakfast choices on 27 heading west to Portland are pretty limited. Both times I travelled on 27 the breakfast comes in a plastic tray package and consists, to the best of my memory, of an unheated croissant with ham and cheese, some yogurt, a muffin and some fruit.
     
  7. Oct 12, 2019 #7

    Trailrider1951

    Trailrider1951

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    OK, thanks, Rasputin. I may just get some take-out at PDX before departure.
     
  8. Oct 12, 2019 #8

    oregon pioneer

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    If you are vegetarian, I'd strongly recommend the take-out option. None of the choices I've been offered on 28 for dinner have ever been vegetarian. If you go straight west from Portland Union Station (as if you went straight through the giant Post Office complex, but you can't, you have to walk around), you will find the Ecotrust Building, home of both Hot Lips Pizza and Laughing Planet Cafe. Veg options both places, and both are really good food!
     
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  9. Oct 12, 2019 #9

    Trailrider1951

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  10. Oct 12, 2019 #10

    bratkinson

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    About 18 months ago, I was on #28 out of PDX and the sleeping car attendant came by with a giant bag and offered a choice of three cold meals, served in a fully enclosed container with salad, roll (I think), some kind of packaged desert item, and the main course. I think the choices were something like beef, fish, or ??? (maybe vegetarian?). I had the beef and it was simply cold sliced roast beef. For a unique to #28 only meal, it was reasonably tasty and filling. He also had soda and milk with him, too. I've read here and there that the quality has since gone down. Perhaps a new purveyor in Portland.

    As for breakfast the other way, I'm in the 'never again' crowd. I was on #27 this past April. I had to go to the lounge car lower level, show the attendant my ticket and I had a choice of 2, I think. I opted for the breakfast ham and cheese sandwich. It came with some grapes and yogurt, maybe a banana, but I'm not sure, and choice of beverage. Big mistake. 1 thin slice of ham, 1 thin slice of cheese, and a 2" thick Italian bread roll. I should have opted for the now 'standard' breakfast item in the cafe - Tavern Ham and Cheese. I've resorted to that on the Silver Star as well as the Lakeshore Ltd and Capitol Ltd. Now I'll have to do that on the Meteor and Crescent, too. After the rough ride on the City of New Orleans this past April with only the trans-dorm car between me and the locomotive horns, the CONO will not be seeing me for at least 10 years.
     
  11. Oct 13, 2019 #11

    Dakota 400

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    Good information. Once, my traveling companion and I were on that segment of the EB to Portland in a Bedroom (not by choice, but that's a different story). The breakfast that our SCA served, with coffee and juice, was ample and very good. Really, much more than either of us would usually eat in the morning. But: in this day and age: "it was a long time ago and far away", I guess in the 21st Century of Amtrak's services.
     
  12. Oct 13, 2019 #12

    BarbW

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    We were on the Baby Builder in September. The attendant comes to your room when you get on and hands out the boxed meal of your choice. I only remember being offered a roast beef sandwich and a chicken salad but there may have been a third option. The "salad" was terrible. They put the dressing on in advance (hours or days, who knows?), and the greens were mostly spinach. So, basically, we ended up with vinegary, soupy old spinach in the bottom of the container. Did not resemble a salad at all. So, especially for your situation, I concur with others. Portland has plenty of great "take on" options.
    Meanwhile, whatever you do about the food, I highly recommend that you take it up to the lounge/observation car forthwith and eat it while enjoying the glorious ride up the Columbia. I guarantee that your meal, however good, won't be the most memorable part of the evening.
     
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  13. Oct 13, 2019 #13

    oregon pioneer

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    Hubby and I are riding the EB #28 in December, but we board in Wishram, not Portland. Boarding time at WIH is supposed to be 6:55, so that is within the dinner hours and they are supposed to have a meal for us. In my experience, however, the other time I boarded at WIH, there wasn't much left. and no choice at all (it was what the other diners had not wanted). And the train had an issue right out of PDX, so it was late. I was very glad I had gone out for Chinese food in The Dalles, as a treat to the friend who gave me a ride to the station (and waited patiently with me till the train finally came). We intend to do that again this time! Amtrak can keep their soggy spinach.

    I plan to bring some granola and dried fruit for breakfast on the return trip. Not a fan of ham-and-cheese.
     
  14. Oct 14, 2019 at 5:37 PM #14

    Skyline

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    Sounds like the #28 downgrades are going to encourage you to improvise. Not the end of the world. I do wish Amtrak would lower the cost of sleepers by deleting "free" meals for sleeping car pax. That way, in situations like this, you can spend those $$$ as you wish -- on or off the train.

    But look at the bright side. Your destination, the Izaak Walton Inn, is one of the most unique non-corporate inns on earth! A great place for railfans to spend a few days, an actual EB stop, and close to GNP for everything it has to offer. Their restaurant, serving all three meals, is pretty good. As is the downstairs bar.

    Will you be renting a car there, or do you not need one? If renting there, I strongly suggest you make that arrangement when booking your room at Walton. They have a very limited number of rentals. I did so without hassle, so never checked other options in that part of Montana. Given where Essex is, I doubt there are many if any.

    I plan to return in a few years. Next time, instead of a room in the main hotel (which are fine), I hope to splurge by renting a caboose or other alternative lodging on-site. Just because it would be so unique.
     
  15. Oct 14, 2019 at 7:47 PM #15

    Trailrider1951

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    Thanks, everyone for your comments! I'm really looking forward to this trip! It's been a very hectic summer and fall, and I need to lose the phone, the car and the stinkin' TV for a couple of days. Alas, I won't be staying long, as I cannot take more time off work right now, and I will not rent a car. I want to do some light hiking and photography in Nature to re-charge my soul. The Izaak Walton Inn looks like just the place to do it. I promise a trip report when I'm back. ;)
     
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  16. Oct 15, 2019 at 3:45 AM #16

    bratkinson

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    You'll definitely lose the phone...sooner than you'd expect. All Superliner equipped LD trains west of the Mississippi do NOT have WiFi! I was on the Builder last April and lost cell phone coverage intermittently until after MSP. I was using my cell phone as a hotspot to my laptop. After MSP, coverage was only in the vicinity of various cities and towns we passed through and stopped at.
     

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